Friday, November 28, 2008


On Thursday we gave thanks.  This Friday morning we trampled a man to death. 

Yes, at 5AM today Long Island, NY  Wal-Mart employee, Mr. Jdimytai Damour, trying to control the doors just before opening, was knocked down by crazed shoppers forcing their way into the store, running for those oh so freakin important bargains.  They trampled him to death.  All for Samsung flatscreen TV's, Bissel vacuum cleaners, and The Incredible Hulk DVD's for $9.  Black Friday has taken on, not the color of green, but the color of blood red.  

Happy Thanksgiving!  Merry freakin Christmas!  

Having been in retail for over 25 years, I long ago lost any respect for customers overall, and I absolutely loathe the holiday period from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day.  As my college classmate, columnist,  and close friend Andrew T. Durham has said many times, "Everything has the potential to be meaningless."  Today selfish, greedy, thoughtless, lowlife, consuming scum in a New York Wal-Mart showed that to be true.  

A Wal-Mart spokesman issued a statement today saying that the security and safety of Wal-Mart employees is a "top priority."  A meaningless statement.  Otherwise Mr. Damour would be alive tonight. 

And ALL retailers must be held accountable for this as well.  They have purposely created the monsters called customers who literally commit manslaughter to boost traffic, sales, and profits in the name of free enterprise and yes, Jesus!   

If security and safety were a priority for any retailer, none of them would be open at 4AM or 5AM or 6AM.  Period.  They would open when daylight appeared.  They would have ample security for crowd control.  And ideally they would not have these idiotic "door buster" sales and promotions to lure these braindead shoppers to their doors in the first place. None of these shoppers - I repeat NONE of them - are shopping early in the spirit of love and giving.  No, these jackasses are shopping for themselves.  I've seen them, waited on them, and been "polite" to them (meaningless) just to satisfy the corporate masters' desire for higher comp sales.   

None of these retailers'  balance sheets,  profit margins,  shareholders, or dividends are important enough to help participate in the meaningless death of an employee. The authorities should ensure that Wal-Mart is heavily penalized in some way as a form of accountability.  And if, through reviewing surveillance videos, the police can identify and arrest those responsible directly and indirectly for the depraved indifference that caused Mr. Damour's death, they should be put in prison for life as examples to other crapheaded shoppers who push, shove and potentially kill to buy junk they don't need with money they don't have.  Let 'em rot in jail! 

And folks, I'm being restrained here as to how I really feel about retail and customers during this time of year.  It was Harry Selfridge of Selfridge Department Store in London who, in 1909 coined the phrase "The Customer Is Always Right."  It's hogwash.  Today customers should be ashamed of themselves.  They could never be more wrong as they were in Long Island this morning.  Today retailers should be ashamed of themselves.  They could never be more wrong about making Black Friday green:  Their dollars are the color of blood red. 

Merry Christmas! 

(c)2008 R. Burnett Baker