An old woman is knocked to the ground and trampled as a crowd races
past; one person turns to help her and is swept away in the mob, only to
be injured himself. Two other men begin to beat and kick each other;
soon the violence escalates into what has been described as a “small
riot” as the pain and suffering of the injured seems fade away into a
surreal sea of bodies.
Are people fleeing an attack? Is this a natural disaster? Are people
starving and fighting for survival for themselves and their families?
What crisis could possibly make human beings behave this way towards
Sadly, the answer is greed.
This disgusting display did not happen in a third world country or a
disaster zone. It happened in the affluent community of South Hill
Washington where all people could think of was their own need for
material things at the expense of the health and safety of others and
even their own dignity.
Sadly, this scenario played out over and over again all across this
“great’ country of ours, as people left their homes and families in the
cold, dark wee hours of the morning in order to beat others to holiday
sales and deals, resorting to violence when they deemed it necessary.
The Tacoma News Tribune decided to print an editorial about how stores
should do a better job of stocking their shelves in order to prevent
this from occurring.
Are the stores taking advantage of people’s most base instincts? Yes. Do
they contribute to the problem because all they care about is sucking
people in to spend money on other things? Yes.
But the fault lies with society and the never ending need that many feel
to drive a bigger SUV, have a bigger TV screen and to show the neighbors
how successful they are all the while driving themselves deeper into
credit card debt. Yeah, it’s great for the ten minutes while the
presents are ripped open, and people get “everything that they wanted”,
only to be let down later, when the weeks (Oh wait, MONTHS, this started
before Halloween this year) of anticipation and build up fade away with
nothing of substance or resembling the intended holiday (s) left.
What ever happened to gathering with family and friends to share the joy
of whatever holiday or tradition one celebrates and actually thinking
about what the holiday means? Does greed and a mob mentality celebrate
any of the miracles of the season? Does it celebrate the lamps that
burned for eight days which is celebrated at Hanukkah or the return of
the light at Solstice? Can anyone say that this has anything to do with
the birth of one tradition’s Messiah at Christmas or the reclaiming of
another groups heritage at Kwanzaa? No. This new “tradition” is as far
from the sacredness of any of these celebrations as anything could
No amount of product availability, rain checks or security is going to
change the underlying problem of greed and complete disregard for
anything other than instant gratification.
I am happy to say that rather than engaging in this disgusting display,
I shared a day with many friends, (who will be receiving home made
gifts), decorating a tree with hand cut snowflakes each visitor made
with love and wrote wonderful messages on, sharing food, hospitality and
spending another day being thankful for what we do have. Many of us also
spend this day gathering clothing, blankets and food for those who have
less. Yes, it is possible to be thankful more than one day a year and to
give back to our community.
Don’t get me wrong, although I do make almost all of the gifts I give, I
will purchase a small gift or two for those closest to me, something
that will make them smile and that will decorate their home, help them
enjoy one of their favorite hobbies, or keep them warm in the winter.
They will be modest, purchased from retailers who care for their
employees and contribute to their communities, and I will most certainly
not behave like an animal in order to get them.
I pity those who are part of the Black Friday mob. They don’t realize
it, but they are the ones missing out.