Black Friday around the country has become somewhat of a fatal game. People being trampled to death for the best deals has now become a passing article on the fourth page of the news. When did things become more important than life and why has this exchange not been stopped through the years?
Black Friday, the day that CEO’s look forward to the most, employees dread, customer’s desire, and animals are indifferent about. Having worked a black Friday before, I know just how, um, “excited” people can get over their deals. How much they want their new toys, sparing no expense, including the feelings of others. Theft from fellow customers fights that break out in multiple places. The stores are arguably more chaotic than a flock of Turkeys that know it’s Thanksgiving. Money has become such a part of our lives that we don’t dare think of anything else. We sit around and count dollars rather than blessings. It has always estranged my mind wondering how people, not even twenty-four hours after being thankful with friends and family, can trample each other to death for a better deal on a cell phone they don’t need. I understand that consumerism is essentially what America runs on, but are the lives of people not valuable enough for the bosses to forbid black Friday deals within their stores in an attempt to keep people from being an unintended murderer.
If you want to hear my opinion, which I’m assuming you do because you’re reading my blog, I hold every single one of those people who trampled on Jdimytai Damou, the Wal-Mart worker who was trampled to death in 2008, accountable for her untimely death. Those who ignored Walter Vance, who collapsed in 2011 due to a heart attack, I hold accountable. Those that, in 2013, trampled an 11 year old girl, sending her to the hospital, I hold accountable. How could deals ever be more important than the life of someone else? How did new stuff become so important that we would rather trample on someone, or ignore someone who is collapsed, than help them?
The death count has reached a total of nine in the past seven years with a total of 98 injuries in the past nine years. This fatal attraction to shopping has caused so much of an outrage that people have dedicated a website to this deadly phenomena, appropriately (and a bit morbidly) named blackfridaydeathcount.com, which recounts each death and injury over the past nine years at a black Friday event, not including 2015, and gives a link to the popular press article in which each of the numbers originate.
What is the point of me responding to this? Why am I going through the trouble of reading this? Nothing is going to change next year, or even the rest of this weekend. I acknowledge the lack of change, but we are responsible for what we do and we can do so much as individuals. Online shopping is one alternative that allows valued customers to still get things at affordable prices without the hassle, and possible death, that going out on Black Friday would possess. Another alternative is to just not buy anything. I know it sounds hard, but is that extra 30 or 40 dollars really worth the possibility that you accidently kill someone, that someone is injured, or that you will be injured? I understand that the probability of these things happening to us are low, but I am certain that Jdimytai Damaou, Walter Vance, or the injured 11 year old girl did not expect their night to end the way it did. Also, if not for your own safety, don’t go out for the safety of others. I know it’s a long shot, but if we all decide to spread our Christmas shopping (is Black Friday shopping even Christmas shopping anymore, or is it for ourselves?) throughout the month of December, people will not only still be able to get the things that they “need” but they’ll also be able to subtly and courageously protest the absurdity that Black Friday truly is.
I commend REI and other stores that have made public their closure on the actual day of Black Friday and I can only hope that one day, all stores will, in honor of those lost and injured, be closed the day after Thanksgiving. You can do your part by not shopping this year. If you’ve already been out and are just waking up from a long night, you can do your part by not going next year. Before you shop this weekend I strongly urge you to look at the Black Friday Death/Injury Count and really think about the consequences of getting an extra 15 percent on clothes that you don’t necessarily need.
Please remember, be safe this winter, not only during Black Friday, but also throughout the month, as it is getting colder and wetter. Give someone that needs it a blanket and don’t forget to love.