Did you go shopping on “Black Friday”? I never do. Well, take that back. About fifteen years ago, when I first visited Minneapolis, I was convinced by a friend that it was “fun” to go shopping on that day – it was the only thing to do after Thanksgiving. Of course, that was before shops started opening at four or five am or even midnight.
But that time was enough for my lifetime. I avoid that day. Actually, to be totally honest, I avoid as much shopping as possible. If I could get groceries delivered out here, I wouldn’t even do grocery shopping!
But the horrible news that filtered down to me yesterday (okay, I’m slow at hearing the news) about the death at the Wal-Mart back east was horrifying. What kind of people are we that we would trample someone just to get a bargain?
I read a blog with hundreds of comments on this tragedy. Many blamed Wal-Mart for the problem. Many blamed the shoppers - “but not me! I wouldn’t do that! I wasn’t there!” Many blamed the economy – “we need to take advantage of the sales because our finances are so shaky.” Some even blamed the man for “being in the way.”
I was watching the news on Thursday (yes, I watch it once in a while) and the Cities had the sales that the rest of the nation did. There were lines outside many of the stores. A man that was interviewed said he had been in line since seven am that morning for a midnight opening. But he did admit that his friends who were NOT there had “a real life.”
If our economy is so bad, why do we buy “things?” If I’m worried about my job, my health insurance, my house payment, the food on my table, is buying a new electronic toy on sale what I need to do?
Yes, I will admit that I am one of those that love to buy toys. I have more than I need (according, especially, to my mother) and could probably pay more bills if I didn’t buy so much.
But in my defense, I only spend MY money. The money I make at events, the money from the State Fair, and the money from my writing. And I only spend a certain amount a month – I DO have a limit of what I will spend. And what I buy, I use! (Or play with, often.) And I do not go shopping in stores on busy days for these items. Most of what I get, I get on-line. I am willing to pay the shipping (or find free shipping) rather than drive somewhere and spend time and gas money (which would probably be more than shipping) to buy what I want or “need.”
Am I the kind of person that would trample another in the need to get something cheap? Are you? I pray that neither you nor I were the ones that trampled this poor man and the others that got in their way.
I witness crowd mania while in college. Teddy Kennedy came to speak on Bobby’s behalf at the college. When he came down the stairs, everyone wanted to touch him! I was caught in the crowd that surged towards Teddy and (although I said I was “above” this action) I got caught up in the feeling and wanted to TOUCH him, too!
So, if I was in a crowd like that, perhaps I would have been caught up and surged forward unknowing, uncaring. I know that once in a crowd like that, the back people will push forward so that the front people have no choice but to go forward or go under. I do not think it was totally the first people through the door that caused the accident. If there are two thousand people behind you, pushing and shoving, could you stop?
Is it the fault of the stores, with their search for the almighty dollar? Is it the fault of the shoppers, in their search for the almighty sales? Who can say?
I feel that it is the fault of all of us. We should all take the blame. In the same circumstances, would we have done differently? Would we (I) have stopped our frenzied shopping to mourn for a fellow human being who died because of our (my) greed? Or would we (I) have continued to attempt to shop, as most did (so I read), complaining about the store closing because we (I) deserve it?
Who is to say? Let us pray that some good will come from this and it doesn’t happen again. Let’s all, stores managers and owners, shoppers and non-shoppers, take time to think and see if something can be changed.
America should NOT be like this – in search of bargains at the cost of human dignity and life. America must come to its (our) senses and change for the better. All of us!