Most people the world over don’t view shopping as a life-threatening activity. But then again, most people don’t go shopping in the United States. This Black Friday, the madness of the holiday shopping season was illustrated in gruesome color after a Walmart employee was trampled to death by a stampede of shoppers looking for a bargain.
American consumers love a good sale, but when people are killed or injured by shoppers in an attempt to save a few dollars, something is seriously wrong with what passes for acceptable behavior in this country. Consumers and corporations alike should examine their attitudes toward this American tradition to put a stop to the madness that takes place on Black Friday.
The behavior exhibited by some shoppers last Friday was inexcusable. Even as police officers attempted to revive the trampled employee through CPR, shoppers reportedly continued to rush into the store and reportedly refused to leave when asked. In a civilized society, this kind of conduct should not be tolerated.
Instead of accepting death and injury as something that goes along with the ‘spirit’ of Black Friday, the American public must show its outrage.
Consumers aren’t the only ones who need to get their priorities in order. Companies like Walmart share some of the responsibility. Retailers often advertise big-ticket items at cheap prices and only stock their stores with a few of these must-have products.’ This only rewards the animal-like behavior shoppers show at the crack of dawn. Only the biggest, strongest and fastest – and also the rudest and the roughest – are going to get the deal, even if it means taking down those who get in their way.’
Though shoppers provided a badly needed temporary boost to the ailing economy last week, the idea of Black Friday itself also masks deeper economic problems in this country. The nation’s excessive reliance on consumer spending is at the end of the day unhealthy.’ Spending so much money when we produce so few goods is only going to make rebuilding the troubled U.S. manufacturing industry suffer as we rely increasingly on mall sales to preserve our sources of personal income.
In living rooms across America, family members shook their heads at the senselessness of other people. What many failed to realize is that these other people are Americans, too. Most of the responsibility for ending this senseless behavior lies with ourselves. The next time Black Friday comes along, think twice before waking up at the crack of dawn for that plasma screen television, and if you do go, don’t sacrifice courtesy and respect in pursuit of that almighty dollar. Even in America, the land of opportunity, there are things that are more important than Chinese-made toys and the latest entertainment system.