Saturday, November 30, 2013

Brawls at the Malls

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Peace On Earth - Now let the brawls at the malls begin.

Yes, yes, I know it is the same story each year, but it seems to me that the brawls are getting more intense the further away we travel from the turn of the century.

Black Friday started earlier than ever before in 2013.  Macy's here in Southwest Riverside County in Southern California opened at 8:00 pm Thursday.  Some stores opened on Thanksgiving morning.  Others began their Black Friday deals early in the week.  Wal-Mart claims they processed 10 million transactions, and that is just Online.  Black Friday sales sites were rushed by hordes of people, and those that were not in the stores were at home crashing the websites.  And all of this while it is being reported that consumer spending confidence is down.

Nothing like incredible deals to get people out into the stores buying goods.

At the malls the crowds were especially large, and You Tube is filled with footage of fights over products. . . some of those fights including tasers in the mall, and shootings in the parking lots.

Black Friday pandemonium convinces shoppers to line up for hours in the cold, squirming through swarms of people once the doors open, and battling over rapidly dwindling supplies. . . all to save a buck or two.

More than $11 billion is expected to exchange hands between shoppers and retailers during the maddening shopping frenzy.

With prices normally high, and pocketbooks fairly empty, in the current economic conditions, it is no surprise that Black Friday attracted so many folks.  But, a limited time price for a limited quantity of items in a crowded store is not exactly a recipe for Peace On Earth.  In fact, the competition for the best deals for the best items may lead some people to exhibit irrational behavior, and maybe even violent behavior.

I am not condemning competition.  Competition is a good thing.  However, when you squeeze that kind of competition into a small arena with adrenaline charged customers seeking limited available victories with a mixture of personalities that range across the spectrum, and then couple that with a culture that is rapidly losing sight of the line between right and wrong, disaster is bound to happen.

"Wow, man, that was one helluva dopamine rush."

Anticipation, plans for what one is going to buy, where it is in the store, the awesome price. . .


I have a saying for my wife, who is a "read all the labels and compare every product to its competitors no matter how long it takes" kind of shopper: 

"Find it. Buy it. Leave."

I have participated in Black Friday twice in my life, and both times after it was all over I said to Mrs. Pistachio, "Never again."

It was akin to battling with prehistoric hunters seeking the final kill.  Survival of the fittest.  Ugh.

And with all of those deals laying there, just waiting to be grabbed, the rules go out the window.

Let the games begin:

From the U.K. Mail Online:

Just when you thought Black Friday brawls couldn't get any more shocking! Watch woman use a 'STUN GUN' during fight in day of violence across America

- The rush for Black Friday bargains has resulted in outbreaks of violence as shoppers clash over reduced price goods
- Police in Virginia have reporting a stabbing incident after two men got into a fight in the car park over a space
- In Las Vegas, thief shot shopper in his leg and stole his television, while cops in Chicago shot a man as he scuffled with a police officer

- Shoppers cutting in line sparked a Black Friday Brawl at another Walmart

- Several clips have already appeared on YouTube of the carnage at various Walmart stores
- Some retailers opened their doors as early as 6am on Thanksgiving Day

From the Chicago Tribune:

Charges Filed After Shoplifting Suspect Shot by Police

From CBS News Las Vegas (8 News Now):

Black Friday Shopper Shot in Las Vegas

Crazy Wal-Mart Black Friday fight for TV 2013

From MyFoxDC:

Black Friday violence reported as retailers usher in start of Holiday Shopping Season

Walmart officials comfortable with security after Rialto 'Black Friday' brawl sends police officer to hospital

Shopper Claims He Was Kicked Out of Walmart for Filming Black Friday Fight 

From CBS DC:

Two Arrested After Stabbing Over Parking Space at Wal-Mart 

Shoppers Knocked To Ground In Utah Walmart Rush 

Women Get Into Black Friday Stun Gun Fight Inside the Mall

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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