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December 02, 2008

What has happened to us?

A tragic Black Friday

Enough already!

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.

Paul Reed
Oskaloosa, Kan.

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.

Macha Greenleaf-Maple

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.

Barbara Reed
Lee’s  Summit


air jordan shoes

Yeah. I agree. But I hate him at first.


"What are all of these unemployed brdige and road workers doing shopping without any money to begin with"

Where does it say that the crowd was made up of unemployed bridge and road workers? Valley Stream is a pretty upscale area. Much more upscale than anything the KC area has to offer. That is what surprises me the most. I can't even believe there is a Walmart there to begin with.


Pathetic display of selfish consumerism. What are all of these unemployed brdige and road workers doing shopping without any money to begin with? As tragic as this is, holding Wal-Mart liable for somone elses actins is like holding GM liable for Derrick Thomas' death while speeding and being under the influence of a controlled and illegal substance.


Festivus for the rest of us!


Apparently Homer, you are not familiar with the ways of Frank Costanza or the origins of Festivus.

homer glasgow

frank, let me get this straight, you were buying your son a doll, then you start beating some guy down that tried to take it first...man, this doesn't say much for us as a society. grown men laying down the gauntlet for dolls. we're doomed.


This reminds me of a more tragic, more surreal version of the following:

Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.

T. Hanson

Ahhh a nice smell of a major lawsuit by the family of the dead worker towards WalMart. They might just have to give ownership of the store to them now.

Anyways, we always joke around about what we will do after we retire, and it usually comes to "Be a Walmart Greeter". I wounder if that now constitutes hazard pay?


"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."

No, it's good business. The hype generated by the types of deals drives much more traffic into the stores than "good buys to be offered in sufficient quantity over the course of several days." Tell me, would you be more likely to rush to the car dealer IMMEDIATELY if they advertised "10 cars available at 50% off" or if they advertised "100 cars at 10% off".

Yes, the trampling of a store employee was a tragic event and I think it speaks to the prevailing attitude of greed over life that the shoppers had. I'll even agree that the lack of proper procedures for opening the store when the quantity of customers was obvious was severely negligent. I just can't make the leap that the sale itself was "unconscionable for the retailers".

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