The Friday after Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday shopping season. Sometime in the 1970’s it was christened “Black Friday". Some say the name refers to the heavy traffic and chaos in the stores. Others contend it is the busiest shopping day of the year and ensures profitability for retailers, putting them in the black. Without question it is a dangerous day to go shopping. All the big stores promise huge, super-fantastic sales. Many open their doors at 5 am with lots of fanfare, colorful decorations and holiday songs booming over loud speakers. Mobs of shoppers with long lists jam store aisles. Jostled by crowds, assaulted by noise and confusion, shoppers face special challenges as they try to keep their wits about them. America's most passionate 24 hours of shopping, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when companies hope to turn a profit for the entire year, has offered up its first sacrificial victim to the pagan gods of consumerism. One year a person was trampled to death by a mob of frenzied shoppers after he ill-advisedly unlocked the doors of a Wal-Mart store in Long Island, New York. Police told CNN that "a line began forming at 9 p.m. Thursday and that, by 5 a.m. Friday, there were as many as 2,000 customers outside." Security cameras showed dozens of consumers being knocked to the floor as the doors broke and the anxious crowd burst asunder, leaving a path of wanton destruction in its wake. A writer for the International Herald Tribune summed up the situation nicely: "His death [the Wal-Mart temp worker]... was a symbol of a broken culture of consumerism in which people would do anything for a bargain. The willingness for people to walk over a human being to get at the right price tag raises the question of how they got that way in the first place. ” But Black Friday's senseless shopper slaughter did not stop there. In Palm Desert, California, two grown men shot each other to death in a Toys "R" Us store...
References: Craig Coffey Friday, November 27, 2009 KXRM FOX 21
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