I almost don’t feel like I should have to explain this post. Look at that image on the right, look at that wave of flesh and hunger, which I can only compare to the somewhat recently released World War Z trailer. They move like an organism, a living being that flows into each store, ravenously grabbing at whatever they can.
For the non-Americans among you, Black Friday is the day after American Thanksgiving, which sets off the Christmas shopping season. Last year at this time a few pretty significant events happened, none of which I can say are positive.
- At a Walmart in Porter Ranch, California, a woman used pepper spray on other shoppers to gain an advantage in getting to discounted Xbox games.
- At another Walmart in the Tampa area, 73-year-old greeter Jan Sullivan was shoved by a shopper who was trying to exit through doors not available for this purpose. As she fell, she grabbed onto the woman to keep from falling. She was then fired, as Walmart employees are not permitted to touch customers.
The first recorded death from the event happened in 2008, when an employee, once again at Walmart, was literally trampled to death by a wave of shoppers. The stampede could not be halted when other employees tried to help their coworker, and even police who arrived at the scene were shoved and pushed back.
Honestly, I don’t even know what else to say.
Every year the sale begins earlier and earlier, and for a while it was normal for shops to open at 6:00 am. Last year many retailers opened at midnight for the first time. Now, on Black Friday 2012, Walmart [again] and several other superstores have announced that they will be opening their stores at 8:00 pm Thanksgiving Day. This has prompted a very understandable call for a walkout among workers.
As a Canadian I’ve celebrated American Thanksgiving only once. It was a time that I spent with a loving family, where copious amounts of food was served and the itis was experienced by many. It was a time of relaxation and enjoying each other’s company, not camping outside superstores in the freezing cold or trampling the meek and lowly [see: Walmart employees] underneath our feet.
All I can say is Happy Thanksgiving, Americans. If you care about at least one retailer [Target] respecting a national holiday, you can sign a petition here. Enjoy your turkey.