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.