I think one of the things I am most thankful for is that I was spared Black Friday shopping. I’ve always thought there was something a bit odd about Black Friday shopping — you spend a day being thankful for what you have but before you quite make it through the next night you realize that you just really need a whole lot more stuff?
But even if I had woken up this morning thinking that my life would be much improved by some additional possessions, insanity like this would be quite enough to keep me at home: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/business/29walmart.html?ref=business. By 3:30am the crowd at this particular Wal-Mart was getting large and unruly enough that the store employees called the police. The police came but eventually left because of similar situations at several other stores in the area. Five minutes before the store was to open the crowd broke down the doors and trampled an employee to death (I just stepped on someone’s face? Excuse me, but I do really need to go get that flat-screen TV that is two inches larger than the one I bought last year. Oh, you want to give him CPR? I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until all two thousand of us are in the store. It’s really unreasonable to expect us to restrain our lusts any longer.)
Among the many parts of this that I simply can’t comprehend is the one about people blaming Wal-Mart for this death. Apparently, Wal-Mart could have done more to prevent it. I’m sure they could have. They could have secured the store with four-inch steel gates. Or they could have hired some snipers to shoot anybody in the crowd who showed signs of unruliness. Or maybe the idea is that they could have just not had a Black Friday sale.
Of course, the customers could have stayed at home even if there was a sale.