Consumerism Gone Mad

Black Friday, corporation's dream, and a retail worker's nightmare came and went yesterday with chilling results. According to the New York Times, an employee was trampled to death, and several others were injured when Walmart's doors were broken open by sales-mad consumers trying to get inside.

I am appalled by this news. Just...appalled. I used to work in retail and food service industries, and I know how crazy "Black Friday" can get. I've seen customers get into fist fights, I've seen stores get trashed, people at their worst. But I have never heard of someone getting trampled to death over TV's and dolls at 50% off. This is...unacceptable.

From the article:

“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since yesterday morning,’ ” Ms. Cribbs told The Associated Press. “They kept shopping.”

An 8 month pregnant woman was also trampled, and sent to the hospital along with a few others who were treated for minor injuries.

They trampled a man to death. They killed a person, and didn't even acknowledge his existence, as he lay there on the ground, dying, so they could get to the sales items first. They stepped over, and on him, so they could buy their TV.

And then they complained when he had the audacity to die, and they had to clear the store.

Pardon my language when I say this, but what the fuck is the matter with these people?!

Listen, let's put this into perspective for a moment. I run with a rough crowd. I go to shows where moshpits are thriving and people regularly get smashed in the face, receive broken bones, and sustain injuries. Just two weeks ago, I had my jaw bashed in at a show.

But never, ever, not in a single pit I've ever been in has anyone ever been left to die on the floor. When someone goes down (and they all do) they are immediately picked up to protect them so they don't get trampled. And if the crowd doesn't pick a person up, the bands have been known to stop playing, and order that they pick the person up, and even further, some bands will refuse to play if the crowd doesn't comply with basic pit etiquette.

Now, how is it that a bunch of degenerate skins, punks, and drunken assholes have enough decency to ensure the safety of others, but so-called "decent citizens" trample each other for a $50 discount?


In other news, two men shot each other to death in Toys R Us, over a physical fight initiated by their respective female partners over a toy, and, 15 miles away from the above mentioned Walmart, another women was trampled.

What on God's green earth?

From the article:
As for those who had run over the victim, criminal charges were possible, the lieutenant said. “I’ve heard other people call this an accident, but it is not,” he said. “Certainly it was a foreseeable act.”

But even with videos from the store’s surveillance cameras and the accounts of witnesses, Lieutenant Fleming and other officials acknowledged that it would be difficult to identify those responsible, let alone to prove culpability.

Had I been on the scene, I would have locked the doors, detained every single person in the store and had them all charged with negligent homicide. The courts could sort it out later, after positive ID's were made from the surveillance tapes. Every single person in there who had stepped on or over this dying man to get to their precious sale, or who had complained and booed because the store had to shut down because of the incident deserves to be charged with a crime.

This kind of behavior is disgusting. It is appalling, abhorrent. This is greed, and gluttony.

It's consumer insanity.


Sylvia G said...


I still can't believe how people reacted to this, it is so incredibly sad for that innocent mans life and the state of our society as human beings.

Anok said...

I know!! Ugh, what the hell kind of upside down world is this when the supposedly good people have become violent, and the usually violent Anarchists and punks are left standing there wagging their fingers at them?

It's madness!

Anonymous said...

in the real (ugly) world people don't know they're part of a community. they don't want to know. as noam chomsky says, they're separated, atomized.
and even worse- they're in competition with each other.
not the sort of conditions that breed communitarian thinking, y'know?


Anok said...

Jazz, I do know what you mean, in fact that's a topic for another post, and probably a lengthy one at that.

I just wonder though, do you even need to understand what community is in order to understand that taking a person's life for a trinket at half off is wrong?

Pentad said...

Anok...you commented:

"I know!! Ugh, what the hell kind of upside down world is this when the supposedly good people have become violent, and the usually violent Anarchists and punks are left standing there wagging their fingers at them?"

ROFL. A ridiculous world *sigh*

Anok said...

You aint lyin' lady.

I think though, that the difference between the crowd I run with, and the people who did this is this:

We are either politely violent (in mosh pits, it's consensual, and there are unspoken rules of conduct - no one gets really hurt)

or violent with an actual cause in mind - we're, say, protesting or are in acts of violence against or in retaliation or defense of ourselves.

It may sound funny, but it's "ethical" violence for us - we would never dream of killing someone for an iPod, or pair of shoes, or a flat screen TV.

Kyt Dotson said...

It's really harder to wrap my head around this than I want it to be. The act isn't itself wholesale immoral, it wasn't deliberate murder, it was staggering negligence of a giant crowd.

A stampede.

It was certainly horrible and many of the people in that crowd (especially those who didn't try to stop) are not looking good to me. These people decided not to control themselves--especially those in the back pressing forward.

One or two of the articles on the subject says that some people did try to help him up, but the crush forced them along. Why is it that anyone thinks that it's appropriate to push on the person in front of them? Do they need to be taught that is everyone is doing that and they fall down the people behind them will be pushed over them?

Stampedes of this sort (for product of all things!) are a giant synergy of a massive stupidity and thoughtlessness. I suppose that I am quicker to forgive crowds in a panic, who are trying to escape burning buildings, gunfire, flashbangs, or bombs --

-- but doing this to get at a bargain?

Anok said...

Kyt - I think that's exactly it - sometimes we can tolerate such a loss better when the reason for it is at least somewhat logical.

Stampeding out of a burning building? Logical - stampeding into a store for $10 off an iPod? Not logical.

It doesn't technically make the loss any easier to take when the reason for it is logical, but in the same breath it does. Probably because it offers closure.

It really makes you wonder.

Solar Cooking said...

Pathetic isn't it. How sad that people actually queue up for such events. And to think, all they're saving is a few dollars. Yet they wait, and wait, sometimes camp, for that all elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Welcome to the dumbed down, barcode society which is ruled by the corpocracy companies.

The plight of humanity is surely inevitable. Words such as altruism, love, and compassion will mean nothing if they can’t be paid for, or bartered with.

Anok said...

Solar - I just wrote up a post to the effect of what you are saying.

i think the problem is so much deeper than that, though.

roadgurl5 said...

I, too, was sickened when I heard this story. The poor guy drags himself to work in the early morning hours only to be taken out by his fellow "humans." I wonder if even one of those who remembers running past, or over, him feels any remorse for that which they've taken part. Very sad and disgusting.

Navin said...

This shows how materialistic they've become. They must have seen an ailing fallen guy when they ran over him, how could they not give him his chance of standing but instead they didn't care, his existence was just as of insects.. nobody cared. but Trampled him... the only thing I'm concerned on is how the heck they didn't see the man's body , he wasn't insignificant to go unnoticed. This is bizarre.. they are killers.. must be punished

Bird said...

My stomach turned reading this. I know what you mean about moshpits, there is a definite sense of people looking out for each other - comparing the two I can't imagine what is going through the minds of those who stampede in shops. Mobs killing each other for crappy meaningless stuff... it's just tinsel people, it won't make you happy. People died in a similar stampede during a shop opening in my area a couple of years ago, I just can't put how I feel about that into words.

Monkey Wrench said...

Do we need any other event more purely vile to demonstrate how Capitalism breeds a violent greed?

Any defender of this economic system can look to this corpse and then try to argue his structure of personal devalue and worship to the dollar.

Peace be with you all--


Anok said...

Thank you Roadgurl, Navin, Bird and Wrench.

Yes, greed, materialism - "othering" Dehumanizing - this behavior readily incited by greedy corporations destroys the fabric of society.