Monday, November 28, 2005

WalM*rt Christmas Riots

I've been bemusedly perusing the news reports of Black Friday brawls breaking out in the local Evil Empire Retailer Super-Centers.

The Free Republic reported:

In scenes reminiscient of the Great Depression, Americans lined up early this morning outside stores across the country as word of shortages of Christmas gifts caused riots when the stores opened.

With the price of gasoline and heating oil having hit record highs this year, consumers waited in the freezing cold to be first in line when the doors opened at 5 a.m. to buy laptop computers and other essentials before supplies were exhausted.

Riots at stores from Washington, D.C. to Washington state and as far south as Florida were reported. Shocked mothers complained their children were traumatized by the violence. Many expressed fears their children would be afraid to open their Christmas gifts for fear of causing a riot.

What on earth?

From a Yahoo News story: "Tempers flared at a Wal-Mart in Orlando, Fla., where a man allegedly cut in line to buy a bargain notebook computer and was wrestled to the ground, according to a video shown by an ABC affiliate, WFTV-TV."

Apparently, some folks are blaming this behavior on the Bush Economy.

"George Bush has never had to get up at three in the morning to wait in line for Wal-Mart to open so he could get a $400 laptop for his children," observed Robert Rubin, former Clinton administration Treasury secretary. "Bush's irresponsible tax cuts have hurt working families. I haven't seen lines like this since the breadlines of Republican Herbert Hoover's Great Depression. The shortages of Christmas gifts at this time of year shows how much Bush has squandered the Clinton legacy of sound economic policies."
Okay, you know what? This is just appallingly bad behavior, economy or no economy. These are not people trying to get a loaf of bread to take home to feed hungry kids. These shoving matches are over cheap laptops and plasma TV sets.

What in the name of all the little green gods has come over us, that we'd act like this?

What is so important to you that you'd publically brawl in the parking lot of the World's Largest Retailer, just so you didn't miss out on the one-day bargain price?

I honestly can't think of any single material thing that I value that much.


Lori A. Basiewicz said...

For just the third year, my mother and I ventured out into the pre-dawn morning on Black Friday. The first year we went out it was just for something to do -- it still is, actually -- with the understanding that if we observed any of the behavior you hear so much about in the news, we'd go find some 24-hour diner and have a cup of coffee or hot tea before returning home to our sweats and leftover turkey.

What amazed me that first year and every year since is the since of camaraderie and fun-spirit that I've encountered among the individuals who get up at that hour to shop. Never once have I seen unruly, aggressive, or uncivilized behavior. Most people are quite nice and are laughing and having fun and even help one another find items they are looking for.

Don't doubt the overall basic goodness of humanity, Mac, and don't start believing the media hype now.

Dawno said...

Out of all the millions of people who went to thousands of stores and malls where things were busy but no harm done, the media focuses on the few bottom dwellers. It's not news if everybody's behaving... Nothing new there.

I heard on a public radio station that a woman had to be airlifted to a hospital to treat her for injuries to her back after being crushed by a stampeding crowd. And that was just one of the several instances mentioned. It was a commentary piece, not news, but still - Public Radio - I'm ashamed of you for stooping so low. Thank goodness it wasn't *my* KQED...

Robert Ruben - man, that quote sounds more like Robert Reich's (former Clinton Sec'y of Labor)rhetoric. He blames everything on the Bush administration. I'm not saying they're completely blameless, but somehow I don't think that warped human nature is their fault.

I gave my kids their Christmas early by paying for rental trucks and providing supplies and additional support (like the flea elimination service that my son's apt. needs now that he's got kittens. Why couldn't he have gone to the ASPCA for kittens?? Those wouldn't have been carrying fleas...). And as I did each thing I reminded them "Remember this when you get a package of socks and underwear for Christmas"

This year I don't expect to do much shopping at all - and mostly on line. That's my gift to myself - less stress!

Unknown said...

Got all my shopping done last year, a week after Christmas. Now I have to wrap. I have never, ever, gone shopping on the Friday after madness day.

I am continually amazed each year at the desperation.

TillyLost said...

I first came across the term Black Friday this year. The real explanation of the term didn't live up to my wistful imaginings.

Tish Grier said...

I don't think it's all about the Bush economy...inasmuch as it is people's inability to delay gratification. And a fear of being a failure as a parent. Seriously. Some people feel so darned guilty for working like crazy that they get obsessed with having the latest gadget for the kids.

The people I can't understand are the adults who *don't* have kids, but are battling it out with the parents. What's their motive other than never having grown up?

Frankly, I'm glad I"m over that phase of life that made me a consumer with a capital's just a waste of time,temper, and money.