The Besiegement of Black Friday
The Downward Spiral of Holiday Human Behavior in Society
The recession were in the midst of has certainly brought out the worse in some of us, and with that said some may even say as an excuse, "for good cause". Some may even equate it to the adage of, "desperate times call for desperate measures." Unfortunately the soaring crime rate statistics continue to dictate it to be so.
In the last decade or so we have seen horrific cases of human behavior from grown adults, who I am in hopes of, at the very least, taught to their children of ill mannered behavior not only for the holiday Christmas Season but, thought the year, yet themselves partook of Gladiator like mannerisms.
One case, that still rattles me today, is the temporary Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death by a myriad of early morning shoppers as he and other employees attempted to unlock the doors of a Long Island, New York, Wal-Mart store, during last years Black Friday opener.
The obscene video footage shown later revealed not only the Wal-Mart employee being stampeded and stepped on by hundreds of people but, a battle royal by the belligerent Black Friday participants. We live in a society where no one renders aid to someone in need, all in the name of black Friday discounts and the pursuit of the latest video game console?
What "Christmas Cheer" will the family of this --temporary employee--, mind you, who was most likely trying to raise some extra Christmas cash, be instilled with this year knowing that their long lost family member is no longer with them due to barbaric behavior?
On the very same day, in a second, unrelated incident, two men were shot dead in a Toys "R" Us in Palm Desert, California, after they argued in the store.
Most people are appalled when they read back in history about the atrocities committed by above mentioned Gladiators and their bloody death matches. Christians thrown to the lions where they had to fight for life and limb or of yesteryear when someone got shot in the face over a Tickle-Me-Elmo doll. Have we really evolved from those times and become more civilized?
What angers me most is, this recent rash of alleged, "leaks", of information from some of the Nations major retailers and the discounts they will be offering this year, for your Christmas shopping needs.
Is this not a lack of responsibility on part of these retailers based on recent past years incidents of murder and mayhem? They certainly cannot be held accountable for any particular persons behavior, or lack there of, however based on above mentioned unfortunate events in the past when the economy was not so bad does one think that this will not fuel the fire of shopping rage more so than it has in the past.
Further more, I was spurred to thought of what measures that these retailers may or may not be taking as to create a more civilized shopping environment and or safety precautions not only for the shopper but their for their employees as well.
I contacted the manager of my local Wal-Mart store here and Marquette Michigan, who by the way refused to identify himself, which I felt was particularly odd because most Wal-Mart stores plaster the stores managers photo, along with their name on the wall in the customer service area.
When I poised the question to this nameless manager about what measures, if any, were going to be carried out here in Marquette in regards to safety at the Marquette Wal-Mart store. He immediately spun me off to the Wal-Mart Corporate Headquarters in Bentonville Arkansas Media Relations Department.
I contacted the media relations department in Bentonville, where I then spoke to, "Ashley" who also then quickly spun me off and directed me to a page on their, "Facts & News" web-page after requesting information about what measures would be carried out in regards to safety and security. The web-page contains the "measures" in which they will carrying out, which were most likely, written by a Wal-Mart media relations spin-doctor and are sketchy at best to say the least, the statement is found at:(http://walmartstores.com/FactsNews/NewsRoom/9517.aspx), and is quoted as follow:
Walmart U.S. Post-Thanksgiving Day Event Plan Statement
Customer and associate safety is always a top priority for us. This holiday season is no exception. Store-specific plans for all Walmart U.S. locations were developed in consultation with leading safety experts in the sports and entertainment industries.
Each plan addresses three areas:
* Customer approach and entry into the store;
* Customer flow throughout the store and around promotional merchandise; and
* Flow through the checkout aisles and away from the store.
* As an added measure, most of our U.S. stores will be open 24 hours for our post-Thanksgiving Day events. Our in-store specials will be available in all U.S. stores starting at 5:00 a.m.
We are committed to looking for ways to make our stores even safer for our customers and associates this holiday season. We are confident our customers can look forward to a safe and enjoyable shopping experience at Walmart. End Quote.
This so-called "plan" really tells me nothing, as a customer concerned for me and my families safety in regards as what exactly they "plan" to do. I will admit though that me nor any of my family have participated in Black Friday shopping activities, however I am inclined to be concerned for fellow human-kind.
The concept of capitalism is embroiled in my mind, I understand it all too well in fact. I have to as well, partake of this said concept and look out for what best serves me and my family. I too, have felt the pinch of the dire situation our economy is in, with the greatly reduced monetary offers on my stock photography as this micro-stock photography model so many imaging photography agencies have adopted in recent times as to compete.
However it does not give me the excuse to step on the neck's of other human beings as to allow my child to be the first on our block with the latest gadget and any other object of desire that turns, what normally would be a mild mannered citizen into a crazed consumeroid, just to save a buck or two.
With the mention of Capitalism, I also understand, that in these dire times as consumers we are not the only ones seeking out, retain and maximize our spending dollars and that the retailers also have their best interest's in mind and have to keep the lights on and pay their employees salaries. But, when they do it in such an irresponsible way, by fueling the crazed consumeroid mentality by dangling the proverbial carrot in front of a starving rabid horse is down right dangerous.
If you culminate these alleged "leaks", with one part bad economy and one heaping cup of crazed consumeroid actions of the past you have a formula for disaster.
Why --as grown adults-- do we teach to a child about the consequences of behavior, for good or ill and yet not practice what we preach. The cinders of sin and the rejoice of religion seems always to get stoked this time of year, yet do we throw shoulder blocks to our good neighbor to get a seat in the front row pew because our pastor is selling passionate words of wisdom and savior.
The answer is clear and as blatant as the barrage of vividly colored fliers that will fill our daily newspaper to our homes, from retailers, for this Christmas holiday shopping season. We would indeed --not act-- in such a manner in our perspective place of worship because we are in the presence of a higher being. But where is this "higher being" when we are not attending religious worship?
I do not attend mass every Sunday, I have in fact not done so in sometime now, to my Mothers dismay even, however when I did in fact attend mass with her, the experience did stir and instill a moral, ethical and social consciences within me that still stirs today as to keep fresh in my minds eye that we are all one in the same and that I truly practice what was preached to me each and everyday and not just one particular period of the year, where many paints this phony facade that gets an even glossier coating of consumerism sprayed onto it and then in turn, act like Mongols with a rape, rob, murder and plunder mentality.