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Black Friday: A Rant

black friday 5e8On Friday, as you may have seen, a woman at a Los Angeles-area Wal-Mart pepper-sprayed about twenty people to defend a stash of Xboxes. Another Wal-Mart customer was shot in the parking lot in a robbery. These may be the most egregious cases of assault this year, but reading news accounts of Black Friday behavior is a new holiday tradition, as sure as getting sick of Christmas music by Thanksgiving. You are, I’m sure, thinking of the Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death a few years ago. To death. I cannot state this strongly enough; a bunch of people were so excited about the chance to save a hundred dollars on a shitty TV or whatever that they trampled a man to death. Perhaps, we need to rethink some things.

I don’t want to give the impression that my issue is with consumers gone wild, or the mania of a good mob. I think both of those things have helped, but I blame retail. Big retailers employ several strategies to drive business on Black Friday. They offer huge deals on exciting products, but limit the quantities. They leak or announce their sales early to get people excited, and they encourage camping outside the store by rewarding first-come with first-deals. Finally, retailers are starting to take lessons from Wal-Mart and opening earlier, with many big box stores opening at midnight. This is an elegant solution to the problem of employees spending time with their families.

Yes, I am a big grump, and yes, I do work retail, but there is a real problem here. We seem to have lost our damn minds over the sale price of low-end electronics. There are some real deals to be had, but for the love of Buffy, most of them are available online. So, please help a poor retail worker next year; do your Christmas shopping online. If preventing assaults at Wal-Mart isn’t enough, you can shop in your underwear.



Ben Rhodes, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor


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