Killer Bargains

Last Friday was “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, the start of the holiday shopping season. It is also, by popular lore, the day retailers annual balance sheets tip into the black, all further revenues for the year are profit.

It is the busiest shopping day of the year, and over the years, retailers have done more and more to make sure that shopper’s enthusiasm isn’t left to chance. Extreme loss leaders, like various consumer electronics at discounts approacing half price are common place, though only available in limited quantities. Throw in a few weeks of increacing hype by the media, and on Friday morning you have people in front of malls and people waiting in line for the better part of a day.

It’s hardly surprising then when they start to act like a mob, as they did this past Friday when a mob of shoppers broke through the doors of a Wallmart, injuring shoppers and workers and trampling to death a temporary worker.

Of course the greed and callousness of the crowd is repugnant, but what of the retailers who foment a riot to try and drive sales. Wallmat itself is cuplable here, and the entire industry stands alongside them as codefendants, with much of the media as witting accessories.

Certainly going forward, when the next Black Friday casualties are tallied, none should be able to claim that they didn’t know the evil they were summoning.

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