Things got a little nutty at Walmarts across the nation on Black Friday. As I mention in my new book, Shiny Objects: why we spend money we don’t have in search of happiness we can’t buy, the events of this past Black Friday bring back ghosts of Black Fridays past for the retailing giant. You may recall the 2008 trampling death of a Walmart employee as he worked the front doors of the Walmart store at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, New York. Jdimytai Damour was 6’ 5” tall and weighed 270 pounds but he was no match for the throng of 2,000 shoppers pounding on the front doors anxious to gain entrance into the world of bargains (“in limited supply and for two hours only”) that awaited them inside the store.
At least from what I have heard, no one was trampled to death this Black Friday. Someone, however, was shot attempting to hold onto his bargains when attacked by a group of thugs in the Walmart parking lot. Pepper spray seemed to be the weapon of choice this Black Friday. A woman in the LA area pepper sprayed 20 customers in her failed attempt to secure an Xbox video game console. At the local Walmart (Hewitt, TX), shoppers were fighting and knocking others to the ground to get the latest video releases. Scofflaws had to be ushered from the store. And, don’t forget about the $2 waffle maker riot. I suggest you watch the YouTube video of this debacle on an empty stomach. Waffle maker riot link:
The “good news” in all this, the American shopper persevered spending $11.4 billion this Black Friday – up almost one billion dollars from last year.
If Shiny Objects have you under their spell, I suggest you read my book. It’s the best $20 you will ever spend. Shiny Objects is a hopeful tale of how true happiness can still be achieved in a culture in the throes of material possession love. Happy holidays.