Black, Black Friday

FridayI must say that I have never understood the excitement over the prospect of being elbowed or trampled by hundreds of unruly, cranky and sometimes violent people just to save money on something that in my life, I would most likely be better off without. No, seriously, I just don’t get the whole Black Friday thing. No really! I will admit that saving money on just about anything, useful or not, is almost irresistible, but I know myself well enough that somewhere between the fifth and tenth time I get shoved on the way to my savings, my sense of humanity would go right out of my overloaded cart.

The term Black Friday is most widely credited with having originated out of the city of brotherly chaos, Philadelphia, when in the beginning of the nineteen-sixties, police department officials began using the term to refer to the day after Thanksgiving, the day when the holiday shopping season officially begins. This was also when daylong snarls of traffic, over-bloated shops and teeming sidewalks in downtown Philly sent police into a tizzy. This day would eventually become the day when retailers could get their revenue “in the black.” For those of you who are not into ancient history, you might be more familiar with the current connotation of Black Friday, which is marked by pushing shoving, snatching, trampling, cursing, mace(ing) fighting, shooting and stabbing crowds of bargain hunters, although what’s being hunted is debatable. Aside from the usual pushing and shoving, across the country, the day is littered with acts of violence that range from assaulting police officers to a stabbing so vicious the slice reached the victim’s bone, it was over a parking space.

After a police officer in Rialto, California suffered a broken wrist attempting to break up a fight between shoppers at a local Wal-Mart, a Wal-Mart spokesperson referred to the fracas as “an unfortunate and isolated incident.” Unfortunate it certainly is, but the sad truth is that such events have become anything but isolated. Wal-Mart is perhaps the mega-store most often identified as the location of most of these acts of stupidity, but Best-Buy, Kohl’s and Toys-R-Us has also been the places of record for violent acts during Black Friday. What has become equally disturbing is that the lunacy has begun to spread to Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, further threatening to erode one of the last few days where it’s okay for families to spend time together.

The violence is not the lone province of the shopper; companies who force their employees to give up their holiday against their will are acting equally criminal. Although their crimes will never land them on a police blotter, the immorality of their greed will have a far more damaging impact on society. th[10]Going back to 2006, seven deaths and ninety injuries related to Black Friday shopping has been recorded on a Web site called blackfridaydeathcount.com so it’s comforting to hear Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon say that the company is simple responding to what the customer wants and that Black Friday shopping is becoming just another family value. Please, somebody bludgeon me with half-priced TV. I guess that explains the thousands of people signing petitions and protesting at Wal-ly’s Worlds across the country.

When Serge Vorobyov threw 1,000 one-dollar bills into a crowd of shoppers at an Apple Valley, Minnesota shopping mall, he created quite a stir and brought attention to his effort to get his ex-wife to return his cat. It was also the kindest act anyone has been arrested for on Black Friday.

 

~ Richard

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About Richard
I have spent my entire life learning to be a better communicator in in all facets of my life. I have learned as much from my failures as I have from success; laughing, crying and loving along the way. After earning a B.S. in Communications I decided to share what I have learned while continuing my own personal growth. I believe that the better we are to each other, the richer our lives will become.

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