Friday, November 23, 2012

‘Send Us Your Horror Stories’

I’m trying to remember when the Black Friday “door-buster” phenomenon started.

My memory might be fuzzy, but I swear there was a time in America when we didn’t have these savage displays of greed.

Yes, there were Black Friday sales, but people behaved themselves back then--as opposed to today where psychotic shoppers camp out all night so they can storm shopping malls in a retail rendition of “The Hunger Games.”

The news footage coming out of shopping malls is absolutely sickening. These images go all over the world and I can only wonder what people in other countries are saying about us.

There was a series of violent incidents today at stores across American as crazed consumers fought, pulled guns, and ran people over with their cars in their zeal to nail a bargain and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. People who call themselves Christians are acting an awful lot like the ancient Romans.

It has gotten so bad that The Huffington Post is asking readers to “Send Us Your Horror Stories."

But there’s no point in complaining. People act like animals; everyone shakes their heads in dismay, and then the next year it happens all over again.

A young man was trampled to death at a door buster sale at a Wal-Mart on Long Island a few years ago and that still wasn’t enough to stop the madness. Don't the stores have some responsibility in all this?

At least this year there were demonstrators outside some of these big chain stores protesting unfair labor practices.

Horror stories abound. Two people died at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. One was a clown who collapsed while performing for the crowd. His wife, who was also dressed as a clown, was nearby. The other was a civilian NYPD employee who was towing a car along the parade route.

Police charged a man in the murder of three shopkeepers in Brooklyn, including Mohamed Gebeli, who owned a store in Bay Ridge. I’ve shopped in his place over the years and I always thought he was a nice man.

I still can’t believe this happened. The fact that I actually know someone who was murdered makes my skin crawl.

Police labeled the suspect a serial killer who gunned down his victims with a sawed-off .22 –caliber rifle. The suspect is an independent apparel salesman and the cops aren’t saying why he did this, but they’ve ruled out robbery as a motive.

All these horror stories, all these reminders that life is fragile and fleeting. They are constant warnings that we should focus on what is important in our lives and forget all the petty crap because you never know when your time will come.

People can learn something from these incidents, but they’re probably too busy stomping over each other to get that widescreen TV. And the horror stories will keep on coming.


Marilyn said...

It's because people are so lost! People hope to find happiness in "things". They're trying to fill a hole in their soul that they don't even know they have. And the serial killer has the same hole, it's just much bigger and darker and the edges are more jagged.

Rob K said...

Yes, we live in such strange times.

Jo Anne Farrell said...

Before the tragic incident at the Long Island Walmart several years ago, the term "door-buster" was not used. And here is where it gets extremely difficult for any feeling human being to comprehend: that particular sale was not referred to as a door-buster. The term evolved AFTER this horrific event where the doors were TAKEN OFF THEIR HINGES, and this unfortunate security guard was trampled by a mob of mindless people. So. The term we use today, four or five years after that heinous day, glorifies the tragic death of an innocent human being. It's very difficult to compartmentalize this and listen to radio announcers cheerfully describing an upcoming door-busting sales event. I know many, many others must have been haunted by this particular death because of the callous, unthinking actions of a group of people who somehow forgot they belong to the human race in order to save ten bucks. I don't blame greed for this. The term greed is often used (but not always) when people make mindless decisions. There is a percentage of people who will camp out in a dark parking lot at three in the morning on Black Friday in order to save some money. There's a smaller percentage who will engage in actual pushing, shoving and mob mentality, rationalizing that "it's all part of the holiday fun". Then there is a much smaller percentage who will actually get aggressive enough to take doors off of the hinges and lead a mob to trample someone to death to get to the sale on Xmas sweatshirts. Unfortunately, if you are a much less aggressive person, but are already caught up in the crowd, it's too late to do much about it, isn't it? This is why I refuse to camp out in the middle of the night in a parking lot waiting for doors to open. It's already an atmosphere rife with possibility that only takes a couple of super-charged idiots to influence a slightly less aggressive group to become mad cows, who in turn have the potential to intimidate and influence an entire crowd. It's not the devil - it's simply math - and a little common sense can work wonders in many a given situation.

Rob K said...

Unfortunately we have a huge supply of super-charged idiots...