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One Life: The Cost of Extreme Consumerism

This article was written by in Consumer. 13 comments.


When the doors opened early for Black Friday sales at a Wal-Mart store on Long Island, the frenzied shoppers stormed in, determined to be the first to grab the bargains before they were depleted. The maniacs trampled the unfortunate Wal-Mart worker whose job was to open the door. The shoppers continued to run in, ignoring the man on the ground. The New York Times described the scene:

The throng of Wal-Mart shoppers had been building all night, filling sidewalks and stretching across a vast parking lot at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, N.Y. At 3:30 a.m., the Nassau County police had to be called in for crowd control, and an officer with a bullhorn pleaded for order…

By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault. Six to 10 workers inside tried to push back, but it was hopeless. Suddenly, witnesses and the police said, the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains.

At this point, Jdimytai Damour was trampled in the stampede and died, without shoppers stopping to help. When the police shut down the store, shoppers refused to leave.

Is shopping, while possibly saving a few dollars on a highly-publicized sale day, so important that it forces otherwise normal people to act like savages, literally killing each other to be first in line for the bargains? It sounds like this Wal-Mart location was inadequately protected with security appropriate for a mob scene, but it’s just a sale. This was not an angry mob, marching for a cause, ready to defend their movement to the death. Those who trampled this poor individual without any thought to his well-being should be arrested and charges with second degree manslaughter.

Published or updated November 29, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Nate

I completely agree with charging these ‘people’ with manslaughter. Reports said when they were asked to leave they got upset because they had waited since the morning to be there.

A Sale vs. A Life

Seems cut and dry to me. This is why I no longer take part in black friday. it is an annual no spend day for me. I’ll wait. Doesn’t matter if I get charged more for items, the ideas put forward by Black Friday are absolutely appalling to me.

Nice Article Flexo, keep up the good work.

-Nate

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avatar Kevin

A Black Friday indeed.

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avatar Miss M

I too was horrified by this story. There was no deal in that store worth a man’s life, I hope they can find the people who trampled this poor man to death. Also the store needed to bring in crowd control before opening the doors, lesson learned I hope. There was also a shooting in a Toys R Us yesterday, madness.

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avatar Eden

I heard about this. Sadly, it’s not very surprising given our country’s consumerism-crazed culture. I hope some of these people can be held responsible. Perhaps credit card receipts could be used to track people down.

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avatar Simon Zhen

Surely this was expected. It has exploded to such a day that from now on, we will probably see deaths on every Black Friday.

More likely to die from a stampede on Black Friday than ever winning the lottery.

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avatar Matt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ObKm4w9igM

They’ll never be charged b/c they were all African American. Trumpled.

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avatar Laurs

I completely agree for getting charged. These people stepped on a human being and took part in killing someone.

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avatar CPA1298

My wife and I will never forget this.

We had already decided that we do not wish to participate in the pagan ‘Christmas’ but to teach our infant son the real meaning of the holiday.

Things like rampant shoppers killing each other and store employees is the perfect attack by Satan on the celebration of Christ’s birth.

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avatar PT

I actually think Wal-Mart should be held responsible as well. They put on the sale and didn’t have proper security/barriers. And they had this poor maintenance guy out there trying to hold people back. The whole thing is just sad and one more reason I’ll never participate in this madness. Makes me sick.

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avatar scott

ABSOLUTELY DISGRACEFUL ! WAL MART SHOULD BE WELL ADVISED TO INTRODUCE COMPULSORY LOCAL BRANCH ONLINE LOTTERY LOG-ONS NOT TO EXCEED 950 PEOPLE PER AFTER THANKSGIVING SALE DAY. THIS IN CONJUNCTION WITH EXTREMELY TIGHT SECURITY MEASURES WOULD PUT A HOLT TO THIS SAVAGE BEHAVIOR.

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avatar Kyle

A tragedy. My thoughts go out to the family of the victim.

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avatar Mike

For a conviction, wouldn’t a prosecutor have to prove that the individual member of the mob saw that he/ she was stepping on somebody? And wouldn’t it have to prove that an individual person actually was THE person whose action resulted in the death?

I don’t think this is a very straightforward prosecution. I think the death is very likely to be the result of quantity of tramplers rather than the behavior of any one trampler. I think about this in comparison to my “pick-up” basketball games. In the heat of the moment, I may bump into someone pretty strongly… but with only 6-10 of us on court, no one usually is hurt very badly. But when there are a couple of thousand, a small careless action by any one person is often exacerbated many times over, so that cumulatively it injures someone badly– or kills him. This is a tragedy, definitely, but no individual has actually done anything any worse than the way I bump someone in a game of basketball. The death was a matter of quantity– i.e., numerous (hundreds, thousands of) people “bumping” the victim, even after the victim was on the ground. I really doubt there’s a genuine manslaughter case there– though, I’ll admit, I’m no lawyer, and I’ve always been amazed at the ability of the American legal system to find a way to blame people. Still, I think this one has no legs.

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avatar asithi

I think Walmart is largely responsible for not having adequate crowd control. It is not as if a crowd is unexpected. Every year there are injuries on Black Friday at Walmart.

My family never have a Christmas tree (not being Christians). I plan to have a tree next year when we move into our first home because I like the festive decorations for Christmas. My husband mentioned that we should get some gifts for the tree because it would look empty. Just like I am adamant about not having a TV in any bedroom, I do not want any gifts under the tree. I just DO NOT want adopt the consumerism culture of Christmas. I rather spend the money on food and entertain my family and friends than to start gift exchanges where I end up with tons gifts I do not want and debt that I do not need.

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