Being a socially-, economically- and politically-conscious liberal
gives one a certain amount of moral superiority and schadenfreude. At no
time is this latitude more readily and freely granted than on Black
Friday (now permanently known as Black Thursday).
And maybe this was what the great George Romero had in mind 35 years ago when he directed the original Dawn of the Dead
in 1978. It wasn't lost on film critics nor was it a mere thoughtless
and random choice when Romero centered his movie around a mall. The
sight of mindless zombies staggering around a mall with no purpose in
mind other than finding some braaaiiiinnnssss was as much social satire as it was horror.
Romero's idea, obviously, was to show that even when humans come back
from the dead as zombies, their instincts and whatever stubborn memories
remaining even after death and decomposition will inevitably bring them
back to where they spent much of their actual lives.
Indeed, what's the major difference between something like this...
...and something like this...
Many more smiles for both shoppers and retailers.
It's an irony that so many of us will willingly forgo spending time
with loved ones on Thanksgiving waiting on lines for a week or more so
we can get a few dollars off on a Christmas present for the very same
people we'd abandoned a month earlier. This is the power of hype
and the results are evident. Five years ago, to little fanfare, a Walmart worker was killed
a pregnant woman nearly trampled to death as they opened the doors on a
Black Friday. Well, actually, they didn't have the chance to open the
doors as 2000 shoppers literally burst in and tore the glass doors off
their hinges. The store hired only two security guards and the only one
who showed up watched in horror as the manager was safely hiding in a
hotel. It incurred a $7000 fine that Walmart, to this very day, still hasn't paid
It's a wonder Walmart didn't issue a press release citing the
death-by-asphyxiation of one of their own low-paid temp workers as a
sign of consumer confidence rebounding.
Because, to give you an idea of just how truly evil Walmart's
executives are, they'd rather spend tens if not hundreds of thousands of
dollars over a period of five years or more on shysters to fight a
$7000 OSHA fine, a sum of money Alice Walton probably has in the ashtray
of her car. Because if they pay the fine for not adequately protecting
one of their workers (he was actually a low-paid temp), why, word might
spread that Walmart has to safeguard the lives of their workers and we
can't have that, now can we?
And just as Romero's 1978 movie makes a mockery of humans, specifically
Americans and their post-mortem consumer instincts, so do we make a
mockery of the Black Friday/Thursday protesters who are braving the
elements and risking losing their jobs for doing what they think is
Sure, getting a bargain is a good thing, especially when money's tight.
But not at the expense of our human dignity, human lives and in the name of "honoring" one holiday while forgoing another.