To say I am not a shopper is an understatement. I loathe the act of shopping. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I don’t like stuff, I just hate the act of obtaining it. All that hunting and gathering, clothes on clothes off thing. Wait, you guys don’t take your clothes on and off in Best Buy? Oh crap, no wonder young mothers are always covering their children’s eyes.
Enter Black Friday. This is the most inane thing to me. Out go the masses at ungodly hours to consume. Never have so many tried to save money by spending it. I don’t get this. I understand the bargain aspect, no one loves a bargain better than me (oh, except my mom – the queen of Loehmann’s). But what I cannot grasp is the concept of standing in rabid crowds to attain them.
This year Black Friday truly earned its name. In case you have been living under a rock for the past few days, a Walmart worker lost his life by being trampled to death by a crowd entering the store. (My condolences to the family of Mr. Damour) When I first heard this it did not quite register. The more the media covered this story the more horrible the reality became. This was close to home. And I don’t mean I am a Walmart worker, but this happened at one of my childhood malls. Tonight I heard a report that this man was 6’5″ and 270 lbs! Imagine how crazed this crowd had become to have knocked down and then run over a man of this size! How did no one see him and help him up? Was the desire to consume so primal, so egocentric that multiple people could actually trample another human being and not notice? I cannot fathom this.
When I hear things like this I wonder what future civilizations will think when they read about it. Will we be viewed as a barbaric culture with no self control? Will there be confusion as to why at a time when people are losing homes, jobs and net worth they would choose to flock in droves to consume? Oh wait, we don’t need a future generation’s perspective to see how insane this is. Do we? Please tell me we do not.
What is the solution? Do we blame Walmart for not having crowd control systems thought out. Or are they the unfortunate victims here too? It was the (un)luck of the draw that it happened at a Walmart. Could have happened at any big box store or mall anywhere in the country. Should we blame the Nassau County Police for not seeing there was a major issue here. They were called to the scene for unruly behavior before the doors opened. Did they not see the potential danger? When does it stop?
Here is my suggestion for all the retailers out there who have fed the fire of this frenzy for so many years. You created this monster, now be responsible and learn how to tame it. I don’t suggest that retailers stop trying to get their take this time of year. Hey, some of my best friends are retailers. But I do propose that every outlet that invites these huge crowds take precautionary action and put systems in place to avoid repeating a disaster like this again. Operate under the assumption that there are way more potential victims out there than offenders.
And protect them for G-d sake!
For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.