Friday, November 28, 2008

"I'd still sleep better if i saw some trampling"

Besides being my Mother's birthday, today is also Buy Nothing Day in North America, in other parts of the world, tomorrow (Sat, Nov 29) is Buy Noting Day.

The point of Buy Nothing Day is not to bring down capitalism, because, apparently, the capitalists are taking care of that themselves.

Oh, it's also Black Friday in America.

Black Friday is the shopping extravaganza which kicks of the holiday shopping season for the Americans, and is the biggest shopping day of the year.

In Canada, the biggest shopping day is Boxing Day, the day after Christmas.

Uh, that's kind of odd, when you think about it: in America, the biggest shopping day is in anticipation (say in like Rocky [No, the other Rocky]) of Christmas, in Canada the biggest shopping day is AFTER Christmas. Hmmmm....

And, yet again, I digress.

The title of this post comes from a
Simpsons
episode in which the students of Springfield Elementary are enlisted to create the must have Christmas toy.

When the toy, called Funzo, is launched, a frenzie ensues outside the store.

The ever present Simpsons universe business woman Lindsay Nagle is pleased with the commotion, but adds, "I'd still sleep better if i saw some trampling", and someone steps on Moe the bartender's head.

And today it happened for real.

At a Wal-Mart in New Jersey a staff member was trampled to death.

Jdimytai Damour, 34, hired for the Christmas season, was trampled to death when shoppers forced the doors open and rushed into the store.

Police had attended the store at 3:00 AM to manage the crowd, close to the 5:00 AM opening, the crowds could no longer resist the bargains.

Tension grew as the 5 a.m. opening neared. By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault.

Witnesses and the police said the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, of Queens, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him.

Some workers fought their way through the surge to get to Damour, but he had been fatally injured, police said. Damour, a temporary worker hired for the holiday season, was pronounced dead an hour later at Franklin Hospital Medical Center in Valley Stream.

Four other people, including a 28-year-old woman described as eight months pregnant, were treated at the hospital for minor injuries.

The annual shopping frenzy at Wal-Mart exists because journalists will show up to cover it, thus creating free advertising for the discount chain

After all a commercial during the six o'clock news on all the channels in every market is expensive, never mind getting that same commercial onto the twenty-four hour news channels.

"They have problems with crowds every year, and inevitability, people get hurt," said David Nassar of Wal-Mart Watch, a union-financed group. "They should expect to plan properly for this kind of a problem and have adequate security in place, and they don't."

Wal-Mart officials said the safety of customers and workers was their "top priority" and the company's "thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted."

I hope the wealthiest family in Bentonville, Arkansas sleeps well this Christmas.

Related Links
Wal-Mart worker trampled to death by frenzied Black Friday shoppers [Seattle Times]
Buy Nothing Day [Adbusters]
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