Say you’re the CEO of Wal-Mart. You get a report from your store in Valley Stream, NJ, that one of your employees was trampled to death by your customers who broke down the doors to get at your Black Friday specials before anyone else. In the chaos, a customer, 8-months pregnant, suffered a miscarriage.
How would you respond?
Suppose you were the police who responded? How would you handle the situation in which the crowd, gripped by throes of a shopping frenzy refused to allow first responders to attempt to save the man’s life? Not that they had anything against 43-year-old Jdimytai Damour, the victim; it’s just that he picked a really inconvenient spot to die.
Perhaps you’d have closed that store and all other Wal-Marts in the US immediately. Pay the employees, but close the doors for the weekend. Forget Black Friday and its narrow margins and high volumes.
Perhaps you’d announced the end to Black Friday panic sales. Go back to your everyday low price policy.
Perhaps you’d do nothing. After all, the customers want super cheap bargains, and the customer is king.
Suppose you’re the police. Maybe you’d handle this situation like a riot, seal the store, and process every customer inside as a participant in manslaughter.
With all the talk of an end to excess consumption, this sad story indicates something else entirely. It indicates that many Americans are so obsessed by consumption that they’ll kill anyone who gets in their way.
“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since Friday morning!’” Cribbs said. “They kept shopping.” [source]
Ed Morrissey points out that this murderous mayhem occurred in preparation for the coming of Christ.
This Christmas, let’s take Seth Godin’s advice: shop small, shop quality, shop local, shop handmade. Let’s be satisfied with a single gift instead of measuring our happiness by the number of packages we open. If you can’t bring yourself to do this the name of God, perhaps you can do it in the name of Jdimytai Damour. Or of the unborn baby–less than one month from birth–who gave his life so that someone could get an HDTV for 30 percent off the already low, low price.
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