First, let me say, two years ago, I was a part of the problem. I still lived in Columbia, but I was up visiting my parents for Thanksgiving. My dad and I decided to go to a store in Anderson to buy computers at a great price that Friday morning. Thinking we were ahead of the curve, we got up in the wee hours of the morning, downed some coffee, only to find that there was a line stretching out around the store in question. Needless to say, all we got was little sleep and some good coffee. Before that day, it had never occurred to me that people would actually sleep at the storefront to get an item on sale. It seemed insane.
And, frankly, it is insane. Over the past few years, the so called "door buster" sales on the Friday after Thanksgiving have increased in intensity. That increase brings out the nuttiness in people. When some store offers to sell you a big screen HD television for half of market value, but notes it will only have five to sell, people react. They plot ways to be one of those five lucky customers. The problem is thousands plot to be one of those five. The stores are hoping those disappointed at not being one of the lucky five will buy something to soothe their egos and leave the store thinking that their standing in line meant something. Is it clever marketing or fraud? You be the judge.
Regardless, it brings crowds waiting outside to a fever pitch. I saw that firsthand two years ago. It was a matter of time before such a fever pitch resulted in tragic results. A tragic result happened at a Long Island, New York Wal-Mart, as frenzied customers tore the doors off the hinges and trampled an employee to death. Reports even state that customers shoved and harassed emergency services workers trying to save the trampled man's life. So, is this where America has come to? Are we now a people who will trample a man to death so we can get a HD TV or laptop computer at a deep discount price? We wonder why the world sees us in a negative light? We wonder why we have so many troubles to deal with?
Something is amiss in the culture of both the American business and the American consumer. I am a conservative, so I do not propose some type of government action. However, I do believe that any business that had the guts to offer sale items on the Friday after Thanksgiving in mass quantities would would score big points with American consumers. Further, I think the average American consumer ought to ask himself if saving a couple of hundred bucks is actually worth shoving a neighbor down, or in extreme cases, injuring or killing a neighbor. The so called door buster sale makes the American people look like self centered asses to the rest of world, as it should. Those door buster sales bring out the worst in people. I also believe it is a symptom of the increasing nature of the American culture to get something for little or no work.
Door buster sales are nothing more than an illusion. However, unlike the legerdemain of the magician, the illusion put forth by retail stores actually inspires the selfish impulses of the American consumer to be put forth. It is not entertainment. It is a recipe for incivility. That incivility is not only a loss for folks who do not get the bargain they hoped for, but for the American culture. It is hard to argue to the world how great the American culture is when Americans trample a man to death, and show indifference, so they can save a couple hundred of bucks on a television.