Black Friday “Competitive Shopping”: a savage sport

Stories chronicling the unspeakable violence of Black Friday competitive shopping continue to light up the internets and terrify the world.

The Walmart shopper who cleared a path to the Half-Price X-Boxes by forcing shoppers to cop a lungful of pepper spray has turned herself in to Teh Authorities.  (No word if she’s been told to return the X-Box, though her terror attack on Aisle 5 would make it the Proceeds of Crime, would it not?)

Next:  Disappointed when a Hollister store didn’t open at midnight as expected, an Angry Mob put on a literal “Door Crasher” sale of their own, kicking the store’s doors in, crowding inside and in a frenzied orgy of consumerism, absconding with everything they could carry.

The brutal violence was everywhere, but the tacky WallyWorld was hardest hit.  An abbreviated summary:

At an Arizona Walmart, a grandfather shopping with his grandson had to stash a video game under his shirt to protect it from a vicious Competitive Shopping mob that was trying to seize it from him.  A cop on the scene caught the play and seized Gramps, slammed his face into the ground and put his lights out for ten minutes, then arrested him and took him to the Graybar Hotel for the night.  The whole routine is now being “investigated”.

In North Carolina, a freaked out off-duty cop working as a security guard broke out the pepper sprayfor an ugly mob of shoppers after a fight broke out in a lineup to buy bargain cell phones.

In Michigan and Ohio, fist fights broke out as shoppers pushed and shoved and jostled each other over bath towels.
And finally, in as good a metaphor as I’ve ever seen for the utter humiliation and degradation of Naked Greed, at an Arkansas Walmart there was a visual as well as physical assault as shoppers rioted over $2 waffle irons (yes) and a large woman groping and grasping for a good deal was captured on video losing her pants.
Is it any wonder that outside US borders, heads are shaking in sad wonderment as the world watches and wonders what kind of commentary on humanity might this be?

13 Responses to “Black Friday “Competitive Shopping”: a savage sport”


  1. 1 Beijing York Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    “And [this] is, of course, what the 1 percent want, a debilitating free-for-all among the masses in the Promised Land of constant competition. Stay divided and be conquered. Sic the middle class on, say, public-employee union members for their health benefits rather than demand that corporations (like the famously anti-union Walmart) provide decent benefits.”

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/164805/pepper-spray-cop-begets-pepper-spray-shopper

  2. 2 deBeauxOs Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    There’s more: a 61 year old West Virginia man had a heart attack and fell down while avid Target shoppers stepped over him.

    http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/26/9035999-report-shoppers-unfazed-as-man-dies-at-target

    Have you seen this?

    http://twitter.com/#!/deBeauxOs1/media/slideshow?url=http%3A%2F%2Ftwitpic.com%2F7jpapz

    Murricans. Are we really related to them?

  3. 3 Beijing York Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    I thought the grandpa being arrested was bad but sheesh, walking over that man is horrible.

  4. 4 Peter Monday, November 28, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Those of us who recoil with disdain at the vulgar, sweaty mobs choose more civilized and aesthetically pleasing ways to shop.

    Kinda puts that noble, suffering 99% on the road to impoverishment in a bit of perspective, no?

  5. 5 bleatmop Monday, November 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Faith in humanity – just lost it.

    I need to go find something that restores it now.

  6. 6 JJ Monday, November 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I agree.
    My chainsaw is idling, getting warmed up for me to take out my frustrations with humanity on a big dead tree.

  7. 7 JJ Monday, November 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Ha! Yeah, today is Cyber Shopping Madness or some such thing. Oh well, if its good for retailers its good for everyone… except poor Gramps, I guess.

    It’s funny, I saw so many Youtube videos of black friday shopping insanity that had something about “the 99%” in the title.

  8. 8 JJ Monday, November 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Unreal. But nothing will surprise me since the black friday that security guard got trampled to death after he opened the store’s doors to the seething mob 😯

  9. 9 JJ Monday, November 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    That’s right. The “ruling class” loves this stuff, it’s the same reason political discourse has become so divisive. Divide & Conquer, it’s as old as the human race.

  10. 10 Peter Monday, November 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Well, I’m certainly relieved you and your chainsaw won’t be taking out your frustrations about trees on humanity.

    I initially thought this was a whimsical post, but it does pose an interesting challenge to the left. Granted Black Friday is aesthetically and materially a horror, but it clearly is as popular as Maypole dances and Superbowls, so how much coercion would you support to stop it?

    I don’t like the word, but as the Australian, Keith Minogue, said, “Capitalism is what people do when you leave them alone”.

  11. 11 The Arbourist Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 10:21 am

    “Capitalism is what people do when you leave them alone”.

    And then it is socialism that takes over after the crash for those who managed not to slaughter each other in the mad rush to hoard/exploit resources.

    but it does pose an interesting challenge to the left.

    To the left? Really? How about you put down your ideological prism for just one second and see that this is a problem to with people as opposed to political leanings.

    Stagger the stores opening hours, conduct a entry lottery like they do for getting concert tickets, put the sale items online instead of in the brick and mortar stores. There are plenty of ways to avoid the chaos without resorting to the coercive apparatus of the state. Anyways, I heard they were busy with OWS at the moment.

  12. 12 JJ Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Fortunately the magnitude of my frustration isn’t such that it’s driven me to that state of psychological decay with either trees or humans. YET.

    As far as coercion to put an end to Black Friday madness — for our own good, of course — I vehemently oppose any kind of coercion being used to stop any kind of behaviour that doesn’t harm anyone other than those indulging. As grotesque as black friday shopping has become, it’s still a choice to participate in it or not, and everyone doing so knows the potential dangers 😆 Just like smoking or drinking.

    Actually, I’m a big fan of Capitalism — I think it’s as natural to us as competition and survival instinct. It encourages creativity and innovation and ultimately pushes the human race forward. Minogue is right: any large gathering or popular “movement” will eventually be the target of some product or other for sale by some enterprising person. I saw this phenomenon first back in the hippie days, with all the different retailers springing up to sell hippies the stuff they liked and couldn’t get anywhere else, and had to chuckle when I saw the beginnings of it in Occupy Wall Street.

    The problem isn’t capitalism itself, but the abuse of capitalism.

  13. 13 JJ Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I think black friday will wear itself back down to a normal level of madness without any help — people will just get sick of the chaos, even for a half price x box. There are lots of things I’d like to get for boxing day prices, but I refuse to shop on boxing day just because it’s so nuts. I’d rather save myself the aggro even if it means paying a premium.

    And then it is socialism that takes over after the crash for those who managed not to slaughter each other in the mad rush to hoard/exploit resources.

    That’s what I mean by the abuse of capitalism. In true sink or swim capitalism there wouldn’t be any bailouts (socializing the losses) so people might be inclined to manage their risk more judiciously.


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