Who is to blame?
Perhaps you heard the news. If you did not, you must not pay any attention to the TV news, any news media outlet on the internet, or otherwise. A 31 year old Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death after opening the store for “Black Friday”
I imagine a young woman not much older than my wife, may have had to sit down with her young kids and tell them that daddy is not coming home from work today (I do not actually know if he was married or had kids). Not today, not ever again. Why? Because a mob forced their way into the store where daddy works, and stepped on him until he died (well they actually said that he suffered a heart attack, but still of the thousands of people, who stopped to help him?) and when the medics came, they were being pushed out of the way too.
So I ask the question, who is to blame? Let us examine the players. First of all the mob. You cannot take blame away from the mob. Mob mentality is dangerous. The first person knocks the guy down, the next person might think to stop, but does not. The 3rd person does not stop because the second did not, and 4th person does not stop because the 3rd did not, then the 5th person did not even notice. All in the name of saving 5 bucks on some crap that no one will remember who gave it to them on January 5.
I have been invited out to go shopping early on “Black Friday” many times, but have always declined. I hate this hurry, rush, large crowd nonsense. But honestly can you imagine being in this mob. You come home saving your 5 bucks, and maybe you get the last of whatever was on the shelf, so you come home and show your family your new GPS or whatever and tell them, “Hey I saved 5 bucks on this. We killed a guy, but I saved 5 bucks and got the last one.” What an outrage! How can stuff get in the way of human decency. I understand good deals and saving money, but this goes way too far. While it is impossible to assign blame to any person I honestly think that New York’s finest need to come up with a way to charge each person with part of this man’s death. Maybe whatever the jail sentence would be for an individual, it could be broken up into as many pieces as there were people, then each person could serve part of the sentence, since each person took part in his death.
Without taking blame from the mob, lets consider the other factor to blame: Wal-Mart, and the retail industry at large. Wal-Mart would be foolish to deny it, but they love the frenzy. They created the mob. They advertise these ridiculas sales, allow people to camp out, and start lining up at whatever ungodly time they do, and did not have a decent plan about letting people in. I can think at least 5 options they could have pursued that would have prevented it from happening-and I am no expert. Do we not hear stories every year of “Black Friday” frenzy? People doing all kinds of crazy things to save money? Does the retail industry at large every do anything to stop it? No, they love it. It brings people in, and any news is good news.
My family this year decided that we are not going to exchange gifts. Most of us are working on becoming debt free, and financially independent, so instead of exchanging gifts, we decided to buy a wii, and we are going to have a bowling tournament, and just hang out for Christmas. We decided this before “Black Friday” but I like the idea that we are not participating in all of this nonsense. I would encourage you to do the same, do you not have some other financial goal to pursue than buy everyone else junk, and encourage these horrible companies to keep perpetuating this “Black Friday” Frenzy?
Consider this too. There is no doubt in my mind that credit cards are being swiped like mad. While you are making payments into January, February, March, April and May on the Christmas gifts you gave away, the odds are that the person that you gave it to is probably bored with it by mid January, and it is broken by February and in the garbage by March. Don’t charge, pay cash. If its broken or put away by mid January, at least it is paid for.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008