“Black Friday” has always been a joyful time for me. Not because of the shopping – I stay as far away from any kind of store as possible – but because it signals the beginning of the holiday season. I usually spend the day putting up my Christmas tree and digging through my storage room for the angel that used to top our tree before she went missing a few years ago.
I have never understood why anyone would rather get up early and wait for a store to open, along with 300 other shoppers, just because they have twenty really cheap TVs available for the first customers. At some point, as the 299th person in line, do you not think, “You know, I just might not be one of the first twenty people in the door.”
Whatever motivates someone to stand in line, fight the crowds, get a few dollars off of something, and stand in line again, there are plenty of people who do it. Maybe I’m just not a people person, but I’d rather go to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night a couple of weeks after the serious shoppers are done wreaking their havoc, and buy whatever’s left. At four and two, my kids have no clue what the year’s “hottest” toys are, they are just excited to rip the wrapping paper off of the box.
What I cannot possibly imagine is what would motivate people to trample and kill someone to be the first shopper through the door. When I saw the headline I was shocked, and I hoped that there was some emergency or somewhat valid reason that caused these people to trample someone to death. Unfortunately, that was not the case. They just couldn’t wait for the guy to get the door open, and they trampled him.
Not only did hundreds of people trample this man, they continued to push police officers out of the way as they tried to help him, according to the reports. Police say the shoppers then got angry when the store closed because of the man’s death.
Now, I understand that when you are in a crowd of people who are pushing and shoving one another, it’s easy to be forcefully moved along with the crowd. I’m sure there were those involved who would have helped if they could. I wasn’t there, thank God, so I don’t know exactly what happened. What I do know is that people were pushed to the ground and trampled, people were hurt, a pregnant woman was caught in the mix and taken to the hospital, and tragically, a man lost his life.
Why? He died because they wanted some cheap electronics? If you walked up to someone on the street and said, “I’ll give you 50% off the price of this TV if you’ll go hurt or kill someone”, do you think the average person would do it? Of course not, but these sales are hyped up, people get it into their heads that they have to be the first one there, and it doesn’t matter who gets hurt in the process.
As “hundreds” of people stepped on this man, could someone not have tried to help? Could they at least have made way for the police officers as they struggled to get to him? Certainly any normal person would understand the need for a store to close after shoppers kill an employee.
Stuff is just stuff. People matter, stuff doesn’t. There is no good reason for people to turn into raging lunatics over anything that Wal-Mart has to offer. I cannot name one thing in that store that is worth hurting another human being, no matter how low the price.
People need to take responsibility for themselves and stop acting like animals, but unfortunately that’s probably not going to happen. There are always going to be people who put material things above anything else. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re walking into a Wal-Mart at any time, Black Friday or not, and you see someone hurt, you stop and help. A hurting person is more important than anything on your shopping list.
Should the stores do something to stop this insane behavior? It would be nice if everyone showed up and respectfully waited in line to get into the store. Once again, I never shop on Black Friday, but from what I’ve heard from those who do, the groups are often less than friendly. I’m all for sales, but there has to be a better way than opening the door to a huge mob first thing in the morning. Humans are naturally competitive (though they still have a responsibility to act like HUMANS), and little good can come from these situations, unless you are the retailer of course.
If there were those in the crowd who had a chance to offer this man their hand, and passed up the opportunity because they wanted to be the first one to get their hands on an item, I hope they will remember his family this Christmas as they enjoy their gifts. Stuff is just stuff, and none of it is worth killing someone over.