Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday 12-02

I sure hope the people who trampled that worker to death at a New Jersey Wal-Mart last week have a really happy holiday season. I hope that when the "giftee" opens up that present the "gifter" absolutely had to buy Friday morning--at the cost of a human life--they fondly recall the memories of stepping on a fallen man and crushing the life out of him.

I wonder if somehow those shoppers have justified their actions in their minds. "Yes a man died--but they had an eight-megapixel camera for just 65-dollars. You can't expect me to lose out on that deal just because some guy can't get out of my way in time!" Or maybe they think "It's not my fault the guy's dead--he's the one who decided to work at Wal-Mart on Black Friday." The most sensitive of those shoppers likely just assume "He was probably dead by the time I stepped on him."

I wonder if those shoppers will tell the gift-getter the circumstances surrounding that present? "I almost didn't get that DVD player for you--because some guy got crushed by the crowd and the manager wanted to shut down the store so police could question us about our role in his death--but I went through the express lane and snuck out through the grocery exit." Will the person getting that gift think "Wow, my sister must really love me if she was willing to kill someone to get me the perfect gift"?

While we didn't have such an incident here in our area--I'm sure there were plenty of ugliness in the stores last week. Did you maybe snap at a clerk just because the "doorbuster" you wanted sold out before you got to the display? Did you shove another shopper out of the way to get to an item? Or maybe you just cursed out everybody in your way under your breath. You're probably not proud of yourself and you realize that's not really the "spirit of the season"--but hey, at least you didn't kill anyone.

1 comment:

  1. Jonathan, I agree with you 100%. But I do think the businesses have a share in the culpability, along with the shoppers.

    Retail businesses have for years promoted the whole concept of getting there early to get the great deals, whipping shoppers into a froth with their hype. They have created a cultural phenomenon, made an attractive circus of the whole idea of getting up at an insane hour and competing to be one of the lucky few to get a coveted prize. In their desire to boost sales and balance sheets, they have created an artificial frenzy. For most people, it's funm a crazy carnival atmosphere. It's always fun 'till someome gets hurt.

    It is no different than what happened at that concert in Cincinnati back in the 1980s. The promoters were culpable for those trampling deaths, and the retail business community is likewise collectively culpable for this death.

    On a related note, why don't we here ANY criticism of the commercialization of Christmas anymore? At one time, there was a real strong counter current in the popular media, decrying the greed and materialism of Christmas. The Peanuts Christmas special, Tom Lehrer songs, etc. It wasn't even a particularly religious sentiment -- more of a family-centric simple-pleasures love-and-harmony sort of sentiment; civil religion in a very generic vein. All that is left today are the shrill religious harpies and their "assault on Christmas". It seems as though we have surrended and said, "Yes, Christmas IS all about greed and materialism! Avarive is good!" Kind of sad.