Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday indeed

I don't mean to make light of the situation, but Black Friday has turned deadly. This day, the day after Thanksgiving, is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Television has been full of advertisements telling of stores opening their doors at 5 a.m. (Macy's among them) or even 4 a.m. (Kohl's). 

Best Buy, which I happened into at around 4 p.m., had also been open since 5 a.m. and the special deals on blank DVD-R disks (fifty for $7.99) were long gone. I spotted box sets of Seasons 1 through 8 of The Simpsons for $15 each. I was all set to buy 4 through 8 (I have 1 through 3 already) but then I saw the hour-long line. 

At least it was an orderly line. At a Walmart in the Long Island, New York, community of Valley Stream in Nassau County, a 34-year-old temporary employee was trampled to death when a throng of shoppers at 5 a.m. literally broke down the doors to the store. (Erika Hayasaki in the Los Angeles Times also a good article on this.)

Closer to home in the California community of Palm Desert in Riverside County, two men shot each other to death inside a Toys-R-Us:
Joan Barrick, 40, of Desert Hot Springs said she was buying a Barbie Jeep for her daughter when two women started brawling. As the women swung at each other, the men they were with also started arguing. 

The younger of the two lifted up his shirt and flashed his handgun, pulling the grip from his baggy pants pocket. The other man yanked out his own handgun and started chasing him down the aisle and firing, witnesses said.

Barrick hid behind a stack of DVDs and recited the Lord's Prayer. "If I'm going to die, I need to make peace," she said. "A lot of people were crying. I was crying. We were all very, very scared."
If this were a scene from a movie I'd probably be complaining how cliché it is, but this is real life.
Several witnesses saw the gunmen clearly. Some cried out warnings: "He has a gun!" and "¡Pistola! ¡Pistola!" Barrick was so close she could see the smoking gun.

"This is horrible," said a shaken Sara Frahm, 25. "I'm never shopping on Black Friday again."
Damn straight. Before yesterday, a friend of mine was talking about the movement for people to stay away from the stores on Black Friday as a way of avoiding consumerism and rampant capitalism. Now I'm guessing it might be a good way to stay alive until Christmas. 

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