WalMart shoppers at the Valley Stream, NY Green Acres Mall trampled a temporary employee to death early on “Black Friday” this year in their rush to be the first to buy shiny under-priced garbage. I am sickened and outraged by this tragedy, but I am also so ashamed of both the mobs of brainless American consumers and the manic greed of the retail corporations who nourish this sick spending spree. It’s difficult to say who is more at fault for the atmosphere of Must-Have, Must-Buy, Must-Spend, but it MUST STOP!
Join me in demanding a moratorium on this ugly spectacle. Whether it is to lobby the big stores to put a stop to their early hours and “doorbuster” items, or to boycott the day yourself, please let’s not do this another year!
It is human nature to join in crowd mayhem; we see it all over the world. In other countries, people get injured or killed for the sake of religion or sport. In an earlier decade here in this country, you could take your life in your hands when Filene’s Basement put their wedding dresses on sale (there’s a happy wedding memory: “Maimed for Love”) or rock bands played in sold out arenas with the dreaded general admission tickets (for some reason “Festival Seating” never made me feel too festive). Sure, mob mentality will never go away, but we don’t need to feed it and reward it for its greed.
By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault. Six to 10 workers inside tried to push back, but it was hopeless.
Suddenly, witnesses and the police said, the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him. Others who had stood alongside Mr. Damour trying to hold the doors were also hurled back and run over, witnesses said.
“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since yesterday morning,’ ” [a shopper] told The Associated Press. “They kept shopping.”