It’s safe to say that Black Friday is becoming just as known for its consumer violence as it is for getting good deals on holiday items. Many parents would never take their kids to any Black Friday sales, but many others do, as ill-advised as that might be.
This year, Black Friday has already turned violent in a Los Angeles Wal-mart and a North Carolina mall.
A 20-year old woman resorted to pepper-spraying a crowd of shoppers when it looked like she might not get the items she wanted.
The NY Daily News reports that witnesses said shoppers “tore down video game displays, trampled merchandise and shoved each other for the deeply-discounted goods”. When shoppers started removing the coverings of electronics that the woman wanted, she went into defense mode in order to keep them away from the products:
“Somehow she was trying to use [the pepper spray] to gain an upper hand,” police Lt. Abel Parga said.
The woman managed to escape and has still not been found. Twenty shoppers, including children suffered injuries from the pepper spray.
In Fayetteville, North Carolina, gunfire broke out at a mall but no injuries were reported.
A few weeks ago, I had briefly considered doing some Black Friday shopping as I thought of the bargains, but between the early store openings (which cut right into the Thanksgiving holiday) and the fact that I still had a house full of people last night, I decided against it. I also had no desire to be stuck in a group of crazed shoppers. In my New York City neighborhood, I heard there were lines around the block at the local Toys R Us stores as early as 8pm.
Black Friday shopping has unfortunately become a symbol of the many things going wrong with our country: intense greed and selfishness, lack of compassion, and the notion that material things matter most. I want a good deal just as much as the next guy or gal, but what kind of message do we send to kids when we have to get a bargain at all costs?
It’s the complete opposite of what the holiday season is about.