A tragic Black Friday
Before reading the news of the trampling death of an employee at a New York Wal-Mart in a rush of greed-crazed shoppers (11/29, A-5, “Wal-Mart worker killed in stampede”), I had scanned the ads and had reached the above stated conclusion.
The stores open earlier every year, with at least one major retailer being open all night and others handing out “tickets” or “vouchers” granting the sleep-deprived the right to purchase items advertised as “door-busters” or “door-crashers”. Apparently, as the crumpled door at Wal-Mart would attest, it is a literal term, not just an advertising device.
Everyone shares responsibility in this tragedy: stores so eager to rake in revenue; consumers willing to push, shove, and even walk on a store employee; a society so greed-driven as to engage in such behavior.
It is unconscionable for retailers to put out ads with offers on an item for which there is a huge market and an incredibly short supply. It would be much more reasonable for good buys to be offered in sufficient quantity over the course of several days than for these loss-leader sales that generate such mayhem to contribute to tragedy such as that in Valley Stream, N.Y.
With tears streaming down my face, I wonder if we realize what this great nation has become — and if the tragedy of the Wal-Mart employee trampled to death by shoppers on Black Friday will cause us to wake up. We have become increasingly isolated from one another in our pursuit of newer and better “stuff” to the point that children are reared by electronics while parents and grandparents work 40-plus hours a week to pay for more “stuff.”
We consistently live beyond our means, both as families and as a nation. Our president called upon us to get back in the malls as our patriotic duty when thousands were killed in the attacks of 9/11. And now, shoppers in Long Island have declared that bargain prices on plasma TVs and digital cameras were worth more than a man’s life. Shame on us. America has been a better place than that and can be again.
My heart goes out to the family of the slain man and to those unfortunate souls who participated in his death and those who protested when the store was closed as a result.
Wal-Mart reopened that store within a few hours. And the beat goes on.
Why must stores open so early?
Why is it that all the retailers need to be the first to open their doors the day after Thanksgiving? What happened to families enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday together and giving thanks for all they have been blessed with? This should also include all the employees of the retail stores. I doubt they can enjoy this holiday knowing that they must be at work so early in the morning (midnight or 4 a.m.). Everyone needs some sleep before going to work. This early shopping time has gotten out of control.
Why can’t the retailers have the same specials or incentives to purchase at 9 a.m.? Perhaps they can extend the working hours a little later on that day rather than open so early. Why the big rush? Consumers will buy their gifts with those incentives at a reasonable hour.
Yes, all the retail employees should be thankful to have the job. I just wish everyone could enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with their family as much as I did.