Saturday, November 14, 2009

Black Friday

Single File, Please, Or You WILL Be Shot

That's my little Black Friday fantasy. That nasty little day is less than two weeks away, but in my perfect world, there would be no Black Friday. Thanksgiving would be a four day holiday with blue laws in effect. Gas stations and grocery stores would be allowed to open. That's it. No Target. No Sears. No Best Buy. And especially NO WAL-MART.

And come Monday morning, stores would be allowed to open their REGULAR hours. Period.

I'm here to remind you all of Mr. Jdimytai Damour, the part time Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death as he opened the doors on Black Friday last year in Long Island, New York. I wrote about that last November in my essay titled "Black Friday, Blood Red."

This week I heard about a website called Oh yeah! They give you all the latest about door busters (aptly named) in various retailers, and these mercenary businesses are helping sponsor this site. God only knows how many websites and blogs there are out there to fire up a little excitement among the throngs of recession-weary consumers. No doubt they'll be lining up at 2am to purchase the latest iWad.

As for Wal-Mart, I suggested last year that they should have been held accountable for the death of Mr. Damour, as well as the serious injuries sustained by a pregnant woman whose fate I never heard any more about.

Well, Wal-Mart got a slap on the wrist. Had to set up a $400,000 "victim's compensation" fund, and give $1.5million to social services programs and nonprofit groups! Are you kidding me? Social services programs? Let me go out on a politically incorrect limb here and suggest that some of those programs may be offering financial benefits to the very "customers" who trampled Mr. Damour to death!

Additionally, Wal-Mart was required to create crowd management plans for all of its New York stores. You know: How to enter the store. (Single file, please, or you WILL be shot!) Where to place the 50 cent plasma TV's. Check out line control. Store exit procedures and so on. Supposedly the company consulted with safety experts who have experience with the Super Bowl, Olympics, and concerts. I'm sure Mr. Damour's family takes great comfort in all that.

So, I'm here to request that NONE of you participate in Black Friday. If you do: Shame on you!

And if you know anyone who does participate in this travesty of commerce, do all you can to convince them to STOP IT NOW.

Enjoy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the three days following by sharing them quietly with friends, family, or alone if that be the case. And do it with peace and love in your hearts!

Rick B. Baker
November 14, 2009
Rochester, NY

© 2009 by R. Burnett Baker


mrgagaa said...

Very nicely stated, Rick. I've never participated in a Black Friday sale, and have never been a fan of the "tradition." You're right in describing the harm it can do to people involved, especially the poor employees of these megastores. I used to work part-time at a major retailer and had to get up at 3 in the morning to prep for the Black Friday sale one year. My shift was something like 10 or 12 hours long, and I can't say I enjoyed the experience. Thanksgiving really should be about family, and I agree with the message of your post.

Ryan said...

I know the goal here is to not support black friday, but just so everyone knows... Most big box retailers (Walmart, Target, Best Buy) will match their own prices a certain period of time after they have been purchased....example:

Purchase TV at target on Tuesday or Wednesday, TV is priced WAY down on black friday, simply come in during this 2 day ad, preverably when the lines die way down, and get your money back for the difference.

This way you will not have to get up early or wait in long lines!

Hope that helps any of you who choose to follow it!