Monday, December 1, 2008

Death by Sale Stampede

What in the hell is wrong with people? Listen, if I am hearing about a stampede in which someone was killed due to many, many throngs of people running on top of other people who have inadvertently and unfortunately fallen down, I'm going to expect that the story has originated out of South Africa or Guatemala or someplace like that and it was at a soccer game where raucous fans got out of control. I am not going to expect to hear that it did not take place in South Africa or Guatemala. I am also not going to expect to hear that it did not take place after or during a soccer match. So it was clearly unexpected to hear that there was a freaking stampede in Long Island, New York at the Valley Stream Mall at the freaking Wal-Mart. Wait. What?

Correct. About 2,000 people had gathered outside of the Wal-Mart in anticipation of the Black Friday sale that was to begin at 5am the day after Thanksgiving. Apparently, a whole bunch of people thought that there were some pretty sweet deals to be had and some had been "in line" since Thursday morning. (And I'm one that's all for a good deal, but at 5am when it's as dark as the inside of a dog outside? No thanks. No deal is that great.) So by about 5am on Friday, they were getting rather antsy. So antsy that when 34-year old Jdimytai Damour went to open the front doors, the crowd surged forward and knocked the guy to the ground. Despite that, the mass of morons proceeded to plow straight ahead and trample Mr. Damour to death. The crowd was so out of control and in such a frenzy that when they were all pouring into the store, "...a metal portion of the (door) frame crumpled like an accordion." That according to the folks over there at the AP.

According to the AP, "Dozens of store employees trying to fight their way out to help Damour were also getting trampled by the crowd. Shoppers stepped over the man on the ground and streamed into the store." What are you people thinking? Oh, there's a guy lying on the ground and it seems as if he's going to get trampled if someone doesn't do something, so I'll step over him and go find me a flat-screen TV! There's something wrong with you if that's your thought process in an instance like this.

Oh, but it gets better. Of course, when I say "better", I mean "worse like you wouldn't believe". When the Wal-Mart employees were trying to get people out of the store because someone had been killed, people were not happy about it. Not about the death...about having to leave the store! The shoppers (ie, stampeders) are told that an employee has been killed and what do they do? That's right. They kept shopping. Some kept shopping and were yelling, "I've been in line since yesterday morning!" Someone gets killed and you're upset because you've been in line a long time? (You know, I think this whole story might actually make me physically ill.)

First of all, what in the hell are you even doing there if, when you show up, there are already say, 1,000 people in line? Or in a large, pre-stampeding mass? Why are you staying? What do you think your chances are of getting one of the "great deals" that the store is offering? None. There are a thousand people in front of you and they all want the same damn thing that you want. I will guarantee you that the store did not have over 1,000 of that thing in stock. (Office Depot had HP laptops for $349 on Black Friday. Do you know how many each store had? SIX.) Guaranteed. You had no chance of getting whatever it was that you were hoping to get and yet you stayed and the mass of people continued to swell. Why? Why would you stay? It sure as hell didn't look like it was enjoyable at any point in the ordeal. Before. During. After. It all looked like hell.

Seriously, about the laptop. This is what y'all were camping out for?! This POS?

Look, I understand that $298 is $298. That is inexpensive, I'll give you that. But come on, only 2GB of RAM? A 160 GB hard drive? An Intel Celeron 575 processor? (It's not even pink! Or Pink!) Look, for not much more than that, you can get a laptop with twice those specs that really kicks some serious ass. (You'd be amazed at how happy people get at stuff like that. It's so cool!) And you're not going to get killed in the process. Tell you what, if you bought one of those, you let me know about 6 months from now how that's working for you and tell me if you still think it was worth it. I guarantee that you won't think so.

And you people that are pushing and shoving and running to get inside, why do you do that? What is so damn important that you have to physically move other people out of your way to get what you want? Nothing, really. That's the correct answer to that question. There's nothing that important.

(Side note: What in the hell happened to this "recession" that we're supposed to be having? What happened to our "troubled economy" and all of the new unemployment claims and all of the people who have no money? Why are there thousands of people stampeding at Wal-Mart during these troubled times?)

And then some of you have the audacity to complain that you are asked to leave after someone dies?! Whoever you people are, you're a-holes. Total a-holes. What are you going to tell those loved ones of yours, whom you were shopping for, when you trampled some guy to death to get at the sale items you wanted? "You'd better like this gift, honey. I had to step on top of some guy who fell down and he ended up dying, so really, a life was sacrificed so that I could get you this Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28. Merry Christmas!" You know what, a-hole? You probably would.

Hey, Wal-Mart! If you have over 2,000 people in an eager, cheap-ass frenzy outside of your front doors, don't open them! You need some law enforcement to enact a little crowd control. It sounds like a miracle that only one person died (which is just about one too many people to die during a sale at Wal-Mart!). Actually, here's an idea: Take a small part of those gazillions of dollars that your massive, worldwide corporation has made off of a-holes like the ones en masse in New York, and spend some of it on extra security on this day for this crazy ass sale day that retailers insist on holding every year. It would be a small price to pay.

Look, no one should be dying while there's a sale going on at Wal-Mart because they were trampled to death, of all things! Again, not a South African soccer match. A sale at Wal-Mart. A sale. (I was right. This story has made me physically ill.)

I've been trying to figure out or narrow down exactly when it was that this "Black Friday" became so popular. The waiting in line outside of stores before they open has been going on for at least ten years, but I'm talking more about these huge, massive, day after Thanksgiving sales that people camp out for. I know that the number of people who have been participating in the mayhem seems to have steadily increased year to year, but I'd really like to know what it was that sent it over the top to the point where people become obsessively crazed about getting an item on sale. It's definitely not healthy and it's not supposed to be normal. I fear that it may becoming more and more normal as time marches onward. I don't want a world of stampeding a-holes at Wal-Mart to ever be the norm. Anywhere. Ever.

There is cell phone video footage of the cops giving Mr. Damour CPR that someone stood there and filmed and uploaded to YouTube, for cryin' out loud. You're going to have to go find it yourself if you're interested in watching it. I'm not posting the footage or a link because a) I'm not a reporter and b) I think it's sick and wrong. I know I wouldn't want a video of my family member who was just trampled to death to be circulating on the Internet. I just wouldn't. I'm very sorry for his family's loss and don't plan on trivializing the matter by including a video (of the aftermath of his death in front of the freaking Wal-Mart) for voyeuristic purposes.

I swear, Christmas time is one of my favorite times of the year. (I'm also really partial to spring, just in case you were wondering how many favorite times of the year I have. Two. The answer is two. Christmas and spring.) But December is also when it becomes more and more apparent to me as to just how self-centered a lot of people are. I had a conversation with a friend the other night and she said that gift giving shouldn't be a chore, that it shouldn't be something that you have to do just for the sake of doing, and that if you're obsessed to the point that you're trampling people and waiting in a crowd of over 2,000 people for hours on end, you're missing the point. Um, yeah. I'd say so. (And well said.) And I'm willing to bet that this trend will continue and that once again, the American people will show just how oblivious they are to everything other than themselves (around which their world revolves). Let's just hope they can continue their pathetic trend without stomping anyone else to death, shall we?

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La Belle Canadienne said...

"And I'm willing to bet that this trend will continue and that once again, the American people will show just how oblivious they are to everything other than themselves (around which their world revolves). Let's just hope they can continue their pathetic trend without stomping anyone else to death, shall we?"

Don't hold your breath. Children around the world don't have enough 2 eat but as long as we get the latest trendy item on sale that's all the counts. U r right about the laptop. Had 2 sell the piece of crap i bought on sale online.

Thank God we stopped buying gifts 4each other. How much stuff do we really need.

Mare said...

Oh, I've come to the conclusion that in order to make sure that no one else gets flattened during Bargain-Palooza, there will soon be either laws or regulations defining what is acceptable for these situations. Just what we need. More laws!

It's either that or the stores are going to have to implement some sort of lottery system for places in line or items on sale, since people don't seem to be able to use any common sense whatsoever when they're trying to save a few bucks. Something like that would cut down on the stampeding and would be cost effective, as the stores don't seem to see the need to spend their money for any sort of effective crowd control measures.

And I KNEW IT about the laptops! I'll say it again, those who purchased the Black Friday laptops will not be happy with them shortly after putting them into use. Spend a little bit more (not a ton) and get something that is not the bare bones model. (And get it in pink, too! That right there adds loads of enjoyment!)