Friday, November 28, 2008

Wal-Mart Worker Trampled to Death by Shoppers

"He was bum-rushed by 200 people. They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."

No, that is not a headline ripped from a Saturday Night Live routine. A human being was killed by frenzied shoppers at a Wal-Mart located in Valley Stream, New York. Photos of the mad rush can be seen here.

Too bad shoppers didn't know that today is Buy Nothing Day. The day after Thanksgiving is an opportunity to digest the previous day's meal. It is a day to contemplate and reflect on the amount of credit card debt you already have. It is a day to stay as far away from stores as possible.

The reasons for boycotting post Thanksgiving shopping are numerous. When you celebrate Buy Nothing Day you are simultaneously giving consumerism the finger, saving money, and decreasing consumption of worthless crap that destroys the environment. Now it turns out you may be saving your life too.

Join up with Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping and get yourself some salvation. Then say a prayer for the poor man who not only had the misfortune of working at Wal-Mart, but dying there too.

I am concerned that reaction to this awful tragedy will be racist. All of the shoppers in the photos I saw were black. I certainly hope that we are not singled out for condemnation. Consumerism is a sickness maintained by propaganda fed to us all on a constant basis. Here in New York City ads can be seen on top of taxis, inside subway cars, outside of subway cars and on giant screens at bus stops and subway entrances. There is literally no way to escape them.

The behavior of people who ignored risks to their own safety in pursuit of cheap crap made in China should be put in its proper context. We have been turned into drones who work and buy and don't stop to think about anything other than working or buying. I hope that a needed discussion of the overt and covert messages we get to keep spending will not turn into a story of so-called pathologies unique only to black people.

Wal-Mart should not escape blame either. There was clearly no security at the store and employees and shoppers alike were in danger. But then again, Wal-Mart never spends more than it has to. Better think twice about rushing to the store next year. Don't fall for Black Friday propaganda. Observe Buy Nothing Day instead.