Black Friday = Black Eye Friday
How was your Black Friday shopping experience? Did you get a lot of good bargains? Did you get trampled, knocked unconscious, bloodied up? This happens every year but it hit home a bit more for me.
A very good friend of mine back in Michigan was at a Walmart for a “door buster” sale. Blenders were stacked and shrink wrapped on a pallet. They were supposed to be cut loose at 10 pm as a looming crowd grew in size like frenzied sharks held at bay. There was no system to maintain order. No line. No guards. No numbered tickets. Nothing. They let far too many people in the store. Almost as if to ensure a riot would happen, the store employee then decided to cut open the shrink wrap at 9:47 pm, thirteen unexpected minutes early, and the crowd surged. My friend wanted no part of this. She had gone to check out the manner in which they’d be distributed, and when she saw there was no control, no order, she had turned to back out of the crowd. That’s when the wrap was cut and the crowd surged. She was quickly caught, shoved, punched, elbowed in the face, nearly trampled, regained her footing on to be shoved into heavy metal shelving.
The crowd was screaming. She said it was like one of the news videos where starving people in a third world nation overwhelm a humanitarian delivery of food and water with not enough to go around. Except these were blenders for cheap. She suddenly realized she couldn’t draw a breath. The crowd was pushing so violently that she was being asphyxiated against a shelf or a wall, she wasn’t sure which, and she was starting to black out when someone moved just slightly enough for her to move an inch and breathe. When she finally got out of there, her leg was badly bruised, her ribs, possibly cracked, were at least extremely badly bruised, her face bruised, her wrist swollen, sprained, bruised, and skin torn apart.
The geniuses finally had stopped letting more people into the store and the police were rushing in to control the near riot by the time she was just getting safely away. On the way out of the store, she estimated a crowd of 2,500 people in the parking lot trying to get inside. Is this worth it? Is there a better way to do this if it is? Isn’t it inexcusable for stores to market and create this level of Black Friday hysteria then do virtually nothing to control that hysteria? Is this really what the season is about?