The high holy day of the money god

I don’t get Black Friday mania.  I understand taking advantage of money-saving opportunities.  I understand businesses offering discounts to attract shoppers.  I don’t understand the ever-earlier opening times, the bait and switch offers or super-limited quantities.  It’s become almost cultish.  It’s become deadly.

NEW YORK (AP) — Police say a Wal-Mart worker has died after being trampled by a throng of unruly shoppers shortly after the Long Island store opened Friday.

Nassau County police say the 34-year-old worker was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 6 a.m., an hour after the store opened. The cause of death was not immediately known.

A police statement says a throng of shoppers “physically broke down the doors, knocking him to the ground.” Police also say a 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to a hospital for observation.

Years ago I worked at Wal-Mart, and though I worked in the back office, on Black Friday I worked at a register.  The last year I worked there I was assigned to the “10 items or less” lane for opening, which that year was set for 5 am.  By 5:30 am my register contained more than $10,000.  Those people, for the most part, got what they came for – they survived intact and got their bargain.

That was the very last time I was out on a Black Friday.  Up to then I’d pretty much considered it harmless fun for those who loved bargain hunting.  I saw something different that day.  There was no joy in the experience for the people I was seeing go past me.  The day is marked by greed, excess, deceit, and idolatry.  People are deceived indeed if they think they’re celebrating Christmas at all by participating in that madness – and in one Long Island store today, they collectively participated in murder as they trampled someone to death to get to what they came for.

There’s nothing about Christmas in that.

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2 Responses to “The high holy day of the money god”

  1. Chris
    November 29, 2008 at 3:47 am #

    All I have to say is AMEN. Every year it takes me longer to get into the Christmas spirit because it seems to me the meaning of Christmas is long gone. This year our Christmas out reach takes a humorous look at this trend and encourages presence rather then presents this Christmas. With the death of that worker I see a need for the reminder all the more but also see the humor as poor taste since yet another person has died for the holiday greed.

    I knew my Christmas joy was going to be hard to find this year when even my daily devotional in my email the other day suggested writing a list and being clear about what you want so the person giving you the gift doesn’t disappoint you. Jesus was the last line sort of an after thought. The problem is so pervasive I am not even sure what the answer is. Prior to the 50s Christmas was not about the gifts and getting what you want. Yes there were gifts but not like today. The boon after WWII meant people could afford to buy more and they did. Parents wanted to give their child everything and they tried. Each generation has taken this a step further to the point where Christmas is about getting into debt and Jesus has little or no place in Christmas.

    The one thing I know for sure is it has gone to far.

  2. Michelle
    November 29, 2008 at 7:28 pm #

    How horrible. What kind of conditions line up in a person’s life to make them think it’s a good idea to get up before dawn, break down doors and run down people to buy poorly-made plastic crap (from a corporation that exploits children, foreign economies, and its own employees)?

    What a terrible thing to happen this young man, and his family.

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