Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday. A Social Commentary.

Well, already it has come and gone. That dreadful day-after-Thanksgiving wherein people rush out of their homes to go stand in line in the dead of night when those of us more sane (and blessed with not being scheduled at work to open the store) are doing things that normal people do. Like, say, sleep until the rooster crows. At least.

Yes, it came and went just like it always does. Sneaking up on you, tapping you on the shoulder (in the dark and with a gun so as to maximize the fear factor) and then twisting its' lips into a sinister smile while it waits with an open palm to take all of the money you've earned in the year thus far, so you put on a brave little smile and tell yourself it'll be worth it to have all of your Christmas shopping done in one day.

Even though, if you're like me, you're well aware that many of the movies and/or CDs that you're wanting won't come out for another few weeks yet. Just sayin'.

But no matter, Black Friday is over and you can thank your lucky stars that you've survived.

Unfortunately that isn't the case for everybody.

I'm sure I'm not the only person who has an opinion on this, but as this is MY blog and I can say what I want thank you very much, I just have to say that this story both shocks, appalls, saddens, and angers me. And a bunch of other not-so-nice adjectives, as well.

On the off chance that any of you haven't heard the sad news, here's the deal (in a shortened version).

Basically, it's 5 am at a Wal-mart in Valley Stream. There are 2,000+ people waiting outside to get in. If that's not crazy enough, as workers are trying to get the doors unlocked to open to let the crowd in, these people get impatient. They push their way in, literally pushing the glass sliding doors to the ground -"bending their aluminum frames like an accordion," writes Alfonso A. Castillo and Matthew Chayes of An employee, 34 year old Jdimytai Damour, was knocked over and did anybody stop to help him? NO. They continued to rush in. Even first responsers trying to help Damour were jostled. Even the police that arrived were jostled. 

(And people are pointing a finger at Wal-Mart's security measures. As if a mob who can trample someone to death could be stopped by having a few more cops there shouting, "Hey, you! Quit that!") 

Damour was pronounced dead at 6 a.m. And even after he was pronounced dead and the shoppers were told that the store would be closing- because technically what we've got here is a CRIME SCENE now don'cha know?- some shoppers ignored that little memo and continued shopping.

Does this not just speak unfortunate VOLUMES as to the skewed priorities of our society?

"Hey, how was the shopping today, Tim?"

"Oh man, it was great! I mean, we did collectively trample some guy...I think they said he died. But check out this 40" plasma HD TV-DVD player-VHS player-CD player-FM transmitter-super computer-dog groomer-mp3 player-toaster oven I bought! I saved $83.50 AND as soon as a I put a big red bow on it and scoot it up under the Christmas tree, all of Christmas is taken care of, baby! Taken. Care. Of.!"

Does nobody see something fundamentally wrong with this???


Mary Malcolm said...

It really upset me too. I actually don't "buy" Christmas presents for my family anymore. A few years ago I realized I spent all that time and money picking out some little plastic thing that wouldn't last very long anyway, and it was all for the wow factor when the box was opened. The kids toys usually break pretty quickly, my parents usually graciously accept their gifts and then put them on a shelf in the garage...enough was enough.

Not to get too high on my own soapbox, but it really saddens me that we put so much value on Stuff. It's just stuff. In a few years the things we were dying to buy today won't matter to us anymore. Think about where we'd be if we put that same kind of value into our families, friends. Heck, even complete strangers.

I'm not saying we have to be a Socialist country, share the wealth, blah blah blah...more that our priorities are grossly skewed and that makes me sad. A man's life should be worth more than a discount television.

Sarah said...

I can't deny my love for "stuff", or the fact that I buy it for myself and people. But I completely agree that anything, everything available for purchase by private citizens is put way higher on man's collective "Priorities" list than it ever should be. And you're absolutely right -- I know even for myself there have been times that I thought I'd just die without something. So I get it. And what happens? A couple of weeks later, it's something else. It's ALWAYS something else, and it always will be. Why is it that so many people seem to honestly believe that Stuff can satisfy? If it could, if that were true, then wouldn't "new" stuff cease to exist? Wouldn't we be happy and fulfilled by prior purchases?

And another yes, I would LOVE to see a shift in priorities from things, stuff, properties to family, friendship, relationships. Just look at Black Friday! The day right. after. Thanksgiving. And what is everyone doing? Getting OUT of the house, distracting themselves, busying themselves with spending money on Stuff. Granted I realize some people make it a family affair, but there's just no substitute for a nice chat over dinner, or a more laid back family outing that DOESN'T involve getting into fights, physical or verbal, with other people over who saw that last pair of 60% off shoes first.

Pardon me for getting high on my own soapbox... Haha.

As far as Socialism and "sharing the wealth" is concerned...I don't think I'll dip my feet in that pool quite yet. I'd be in danger of never shutting up, I think! Haha! But yes. A man's life should be worth MUCH more than a TV on sale. You couldn't be more right.

Sometimes I look at society today and cringe at the lack of value that seems to be allotted to human life. Yet another soapbox I have to step around at the moment.

This is a much longer response than I ever intended...

Time for sleep.