Monthly Archives: December 2008

Black Friday

In the United States, Black Friday falls on the last Friday of November, immediately after Thanksgiving. It is considered by many to be the “official” start of the Christmas holiday shopping season, and is typically the busiest shopping day of the year for retailers — many of whom whip up a frenzy of consumer demand by opening very early and offering deep discounts and loss leaders for just a few hours on aspirational products such as consumer electronics.

This last Friday was a very black day indeed for the family and friends of Jdimytai Damour, the 34 year old employee of a WalMart store in Valley Stream, Long Island, who was trampled to death by a crowd of approximately 2,000 frenzied bargain hunters who, after waiting in line for hours for the store’s 5am opening, broke down the doors and stampeded through a human chain of terrified staff into the store.

According to reports, hundreds of people stepped on Jdimytai Damour’s body in their rush to buy products such as heavily discounted HDTV’s and DVD’s. Even more sickening are the reports that some shoppers refused to leave when the staff attempted to clear the store, and simply continued shopping.

What makes people behave like this? Even in the midst of a recession, this insatiable hunger to hunt and “kill” bargains, to consume at all costs, is enough to turn ordinary shoppers into a frenzied mob that will willingly sacrifice a human life for a half-price flat-screen TV. Could it be a genetic hang-over from a prehistoric pack hunting mentality? Are heavily-discounted consumer electronics the woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers of contemporary times?

The only possible silver lining to this whole appalling story is that it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the U.S. economy will come out of this recession sooner or later.

Here’s the BBC’s report on this sad and shocking story, which is nowhere near as graphic as many of the American news networks, but will at least continue to be accessible for the foreseeable future: