As I walked through Walmart last Thanksgiving, one man standing in the checkout line caught my eye. Restless and impatient, he kept checking to see if the line was moving forward. Just in front of him were three shopping carts, filled to the brim with items.
The first two carts were full of toys. Perhaps he just was buying Christmas presents for his kids, but a closer look revealed that he was buying 30 boxes of Lego’s, and they were all the same product. The man must have single-handedly cleared the shelves of every Lego box that the store had.
And then I looked towards the other cart. It contained four huge flat screen TVs, a couple of DVD players, a few sets of speakers and some other miscellaneous electronics.
And that’s when I began to realize that Black Friday is no longer about buying early Christmas gifts. People decide that there is something they want, and in their head it becomes something they absolutely must have, a sheer necessity. And from there on out, they are willing to go through extreme measures to ensure that they get it.
As I proceeded through the store, I found numerous other customers that were pushing and shoving their way through the aisles. The shelves were being cleared at an extraordinary rate, and people were grabbing at items just like a baby grabs at food. There was quite a bit of swearing, as the angry and impatient customers fought to get anything from socks to iPads. These people were all so quick to set aside manners and etiquette and they became so self-involved, that they just lost control.
Now, fortunately for me, there were no mobs, and compared to other stores, it was a fairly safe environment. However, according to Black Friday Death Count, there have been 7 deaths and 98 injuries related to Black Friday in the past 10 years in the United States alone. This really shows how much people are willing to sacrifice just to get items on sale.
When I finally walked out of the store that night, one more thing occurred to me. Every single one of those people had given up Thanksgiving dinner and time with their family to go shopping. They had all prioritized buying items over spending valuable time with their family.
As for the man with three shopping carts, he is the perfect example of the what Black Friday can do to you. No one in their right mind needs to buy four flat screen TVs and 30 boxes of Legos. He became so intensely focused on buying and money that he lost sight of reality. He really showed me that our world has become centered around and reliant on consumer goods. This man, like so many others, was engulfed by the nightmare that is Black Friday shopping, and from there, he could only become greedy and selfish.