I’ve been sitting on this for a while, ever since originally hearing about the Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death in a 5 a.m. Black Friday rush for bargains last weekend. The more I’ve considered writing about it, the more I find myself unable to contain my loathing for what I’ve read in the news accounts.
I’ll spare you linking to the numerous stories about the incident, but it was this one that really made my stomach turn as I re-read it this evening. Some words and phrases stand out to me in the story:
“This incident was avoidable.” Ya think???
“How did store management not see dangerous numbers of customers barreling down on the store in such an unsafe manner?” Since when did shopping require security???
“It rises to a level of blatant irresponsibility by Wal-Mart.” By Wal-Mart??? How about us??
That’s right, us. All of us. This man didn’t die because a specific group of people acquired a mob mentality and charged the doors of a department store. That’s just a symptom of a larger problem. This man died because we worship our stuff. Because we’re so frantic for a deal, because our money controls us, not the other way around. Because we’re puppets to this disgusting, materialistic monstrosity that capitalism has made out of Christmas. Because we value a deal on a new blender more than we value the life of a man.
That’s why we encourage huge crowds charging stores at a ridiculous hour of the morning for great deals on the latest trends (to which we’re also slaves) in the name of saving money. The news is more about the numbers that retailers made on Black Friday than on Thanksgiving, than on what we supposedly celebrated over the weekend. I wonder what Mr. Damour was thankful for on Thursday? I wonder what dreams he never had the chance to realize because of a mob of people anxious to out-run each other to the electronics section for a new toy took those from him?
I don’t hear the holidays reported as the holidays this year. I hear everything connected to our precious economy, and it makes me sick. Because there’s so much more to life than what’s in our bank accounts. There’s so much more to life than the type of home we have or the car in its driveway. So much more.
There was so much more to Mr. Damour’s life. But our culture’s emphasis on material wealth and the importance of money took that away from him. Yet we question why Wal-Mart didn’t take more precautions, instead of questioning why the crowd was in such a frenzy to begin with.
I guess last Friday really was black, after all. So much for cultural priorities.