Everyday Semiotics

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Friday

I felt sick to my stomach the whole ride home the day after Thanksgiving -- partially from the news from India, but mainly because of the travesty on Long Island, where a Wal-Mart employee, Jdimytai Damour, 34, was trampled to death by shoppers.

I started thinking about what should happen to the people responsible. Shameful enough they couldn't file into the store patiently like civilized humans, their eagerness resulted in a death. Could they, or should they, be charged with something like manslaughter? Nassau County police are reviewing surveillance tapes, so we'll see.

From NYT:
It was a tragedy, yet it did not feel like an accident. All those people were there, lined up in the cold and darkness, because of sophisticated marketing forces that have produced this day now called Black Friday. They were engaging in early-morning shopping as contact sport. American business has long excelled at creating a sense of shortage amid abundance, an anxiety that one must act now or miss out.
Later the author goes so far as to say we've been programmed to consume. I wonder, though, really, how sophisticated this marketing is; how much programming goes into the mob mentality that overtakes so many of us on Black Friday. You ask me, the mob are always more accountable as individuals.

The Long Island Wal-Mart is open again, and shoppers interviewed there voice the obligatory shock over Damour's death, then get back to shopping. Damour is reduced to collateral damage. It's disgusting.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home