Black Friday is living up to its name this year.
The “holiday” has been titled appropriately for the day after Thanksgiving that is marked by super-sales and rapid shoppers. It is on Black Friday that stores open early, prices are slashed, and people often camp out on the front sidewalk to get their hands on half price LCD TVs and gaming system. It has come under fire in recent years not only for its inspiration of compulsive consumerism, but also the rash of violence it has inspired between shoppers that are looking for that cheap item. As the iPhone begin to extend its place beyond the walls of the Apple Store, we are seeing these show downs happen in clean view of those grabbing for the touch screen.
Today’s Black friday has been marked for a special list of violent acts, leading many people to ask whether or not these types of sales should be more stiffly regulated. In Los Angeles a women began spraying pepper spray so she could run up to the front of the line at a Wal-Mart in an effort to get ahold of a half price XBox 360. Twenty people had minor injuries, yet she was still able to check out and go home. In Fayetteville, North Carolina, two people allegedly opened fire at a local mall and are still on the loose.
Phoenix saw maybe the most shocking story when a grandfather was attacked by police officials as he tried to defend his grandson. The grandchild was being trampled by frenzied shoppers and as the grandfather attempted to help him up, he placed the item he was holding into his waste band to get more leverage. The authorities thought he was attempting to shoplift and slammed him to the ground, injuring the man.
These reports are only a few shining gems in the massive list of trampling allegations and small brawls that have broke out, which has precedent in years past. In 2008 a temporary Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by the shopping mob, yet the sales have continued at the retailer.
The new iPhone 4s has been less of an inspiration to this kind of behavior even at retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy because of its price standardization, though it does add to the shopping hordes that decent on these mega-stores after the turkey coma has worn off. This could become more of an issues if these sales begin to extend to the older models, and it could create a heightened number. This year 152 million people were anticipated to head out on their Black Friday shopping spree.
Adding to these numbers were Occupy Movement protesters, many of whom planned flash mobs and physical occupations to protest the corporate consumerism and “greed” that is displayed on this day. This is part of the extension of the Buy Nothing Day alternative that has been a staple for years. Buy Nothing Day, which was started by AdBuster Magazine, the same magazine that first called for the Occupy Wall street protest, ask people to take one day to stop spending. As an alternative to Black Friday many people decide to forgo any commercial exchange, and then some use Saturday as part of a “shop local” campaign. Occupy protesters in many areas decided to forgo the protest activity as it could lead to heightened chaos and put the peaceful protesters at risk for further physical harm.