I'm not a fan of standing in line.
There are some places where its totally unavoidable - movies, banks, DMV, check out stands. But on the whole I avoid it whenever possible. That's why I have always had a hard time relating to people who will camp out in long lines, sometime for days, for movie and concert tickets, or department stores...
But the trampling to death of a Wal-Mart employee in New York, puts a whole new spin on the idea of this phenomenon. Thirty-four year old Jdimytai Damour, a temporary maintenance worker at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, N.Y. He was trying to help control a mob of 2000 frenzied early shoppers who had gathered before 3:30 am to shop for 'bargains'.
There are questions regarding crowd control, adequate security, etc. All are extremely important issues for which Wal-Mart ought to be held accountable in some way. But here's another thought - how about people acting like sane human beings?!
I thought, we all got it: the recent economic decline, caused by the exploitation of policies designed to help the middle class and working class achieve homeownership; greed on Wall Street, people living beyond their means all were supposed to signal the need to re-evaluate our values. That's why citizens are incensed about bail outs, leveraged government loans, the meltdown of the capitalist system - right?
We were supposed to be reassessing our materialism and the way we equate bigger and newer with 'successful'. This is one time, we don't have a systemic problem. This problem is cultural, spiritual. When it comes to greed and insensitivity you don't have to be eligible for a golden parachute!
Don't get me wrong! Wal-Mart certainly did have a great sale - a Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV for $798, a Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28, a Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69 and DVDs such as "The Incredible Hulk" for $9. But somehow, I can't believe that anyone who bought anything on last Friday at that Wal-Mart, really believes what they bought was worth it.
But then again, according to Kimberly Cribbs, when people were asked to leave so that police and investigators could assess what had happened, "...people were yelling `I've been on line since yesterday morning,'" she said. "They kept shopping."
While Wal-Mart offered the obligatory public sympathetic statement, no one from the company contacted the grieving family.
The store re-opened at 1:00 pm, that afternoon...
We obviously don't get it. Black Friday indeed!