By Harry McCracken | Friday, November 28, 2008 at 5:46 pm
Okay, I had some fun with my distaste for Black Friday earlier today, but this is serious stuff. A Wal-Mart employee was knocked to the floor by maniacal shoppers and killed today at a store on Long Island, in a riot that sent four other people (including a pregnant woman) to the hospital. (The crowd supposedly got even uglier when told that the store was going to shut down after the staffer’s death.) And two people were reportedly shot dead at a Toys “R” Us in Palm Desert, California, in an incident thay may or may not have been gang-related.
Can we all agree that there’s no discount on a 52-inch TV or a GPS device that is worth a single human life, or even the real risk of the loss of a single human life? And that American’s retailers should be damn careful about intentionally whipping teeming crowds of people into a frenzy?
Comparatively uninmportant side note: Sears.com crashed today, presumably under the weight of Black Friday traffic. It was down for about two hours.
Report on my day: I spent much of it bumming around bookstores in Northern California’s Sonoma county, getting a head start on my Christmas shopping. Got some good deals, too. I saw no angry crowds, didn’t have to engage in any fistfights, and don’t even remember standing in line for more than a couple of minutes…