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Suddenly, “Black Friday” Sounds All Too Appropriate

The term “Black Friday” was originally conceived by the Philadelphia police department to describe all of the chaos and stress they experienced from massive amounts of shoppers streaming into the downtown stores. But later, as stores realized increased profits due to all of the shoppers, and the day became more important to stores achieving profitability for the year, the term gained a more positive tone. (More history on the day can be found here.)

However, the day’s negative aspects still persist, and as great as those increased profits might be, they sometimes come at a heavy price all their own:

A Wal-Mart worker was killed Friday after an “out of control” throng of shoppers eager for post-Thanksgiving bargains broke down the doors at a suburban store and knocked him to the ground, police said.

At least four other people, including a woman eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries, and the store in Valley Stream on Long Island closed for several hours before reopening.

Nassau police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the store doors at the mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the man to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.

“This crowd was out of control,” said Nassau police spokesman Lt. Michael Fleming. He described the scene as “utter chaos.”

Dozens of store employees trying to fight their way out to help the man were also getting trampled by the crowd, Fleming said. Witnesses said that even as the worker lay on the ground, shoppers streamed into the store, stepping over him.

Initial reports said that the pregnant woman lost her unborn child from injuries sustained during the event. Thankfully, that was not the case; both mother and child have been reported as OK, so there’s some good news to come out of this tragic story.

But there’s still incredibly sad and disturbing elements at play, and Greg Storey hits the nail on the head:

Executives from Wall Street, financial institutions, and the federal government have all been assigned varied degrees of responsibility for the failure in the American economy but somehow one very red-handed and dangerous culprit has been left out: Consumers. The same people who would knock down a pregnant women to the curb for a few hundred bucks. The same people who will trample the life out of fellow human being so they can have something previously unavailable to them are just as responsible for the condition of our economy.

It’s convenient to point to the people who sit at the top and place all the blame on them but it’s the face in the mirror that will ensure this FUBAR situation will happen again and again and again because laws and rules, no matter from how high they are handed down, can never hold back that level of kill-to-own kind of greed.
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