Nel's New Day

November 30, 2013

Black Friday Violence, Consumerism

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:28 PM
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Black Friday is over for another year, and Bill Simon, new CEO for Wal-Mart, declared that more than 22 million shoppers showed up on the day before Black Friday (in the past, called Thanksgiving). They may have come, but they didn’t buy that much more than last year. Wal-Mart’s increase was 0.10 percent. Macy’s and Target’s sales were both down from last year although they opened on Thanksgiving Day.

The frenzy over Thanksgiving Day shopping brought in an additional 2.3 percent income on Thursday and Friday, but sales dropped 13 percent on Black Friday. Even traffic that day was down 11 percent from last year. 

Here are a few examples of shopping intensity from this past week with more visuals available:

  • Shooting in Las Vegas. After a shopper bought a large television, he was shot as he carried it home. Warning shots caused the buyer to drop the television, and he was hit in the leg after the suspect fired two more shots.
  • Fight over parking at a Rialto (CA) Wal-Mart: At least three people got into a fight because shoppers were cutting in line, according to Sgt. Nicholas Borchard. Two people were taken into custody.
  • Shoplifting shooting in Romeoville (IL): After a car dragged a police officer answering a call of alleged shoplifting at Kohl’s, another officer shot the car’s driver.
  • Guns and knives at Claypool Hill (VA) Wal-Mart:  Christopher Jackson, 35, threatened Ronnie Sharp, 61, with a gun and then cut Jackson’s arm “down to the bone.” The argument was over a parking place. Both men were arrested.
  • Pepper-spraying at Garfield (NJ Wal-Mart: After a man got into an argument with the store manager, police pepper-sprayed him.
  • Fight over televisions at a North Carolina Wal-Mart: Almost thirty people crowded about television sets in the story and started pushing each other before one man threw another one to the ground.
  • Tasering at a Philadelphia mall: Two women throwing punches at each other led to one woman using a stun gun on the other.
  • Stabbing at a Carlsbad (NM) mall:  An 18-year-old old man was hospitalized after he was stabbed in the stomach at the entrance of the Westfield Plaza Camino Real mall.
  • More Wal-Mart brawls.

Luckily there were no reports of deaths because of shoppers. Five years ago, an employee at a Long Island Wal-Mart store was trampled to death by the crowd. Although sales were slightly up this year from last, more people are opting out with only 13 percent planning to participate in Black Friday as compared to 17 percent last year. Each year for the past four years, online shopping has increased, resulting in the marketer-created term “Cyber Monday.”

Shoppers like to think that Black Friday prices are far lower—making the brawls, shootings, and knifings understandable—but research indicates that Elmo dolls, Ugg boots, Samsung TVs, and KitchenAid stand mixers are less expensive at other times. According to Consumer Reports, many home appliances and small consumer electronics are cheapest in December.

Retailers want shoppers on Black Friday because companies can’t plan as well for later shopping. Last year, $11 million went into television advertising for Black Friday, almost five times the money spent for 2011 ads.  Even so, four of the ten biggest shopping days are expected to be during the week leading up to Christmas.

One notable arrest in the thousands of Wal-Mart strikes and protests was a man dressed in a red suit. Protesting unfair wages and working hours at the retailer in San Bernadino (CA), Karl Hilgert came dressed as Santa Claus. With nine other people sitting in a circle and refusing to leave, Hilgert said, “I’m going to get arrested for civil disobedience.” He was.


Experts predict that the steeper deals that brought people in will hurt fourth-quarter earnings because consumers failed to make the impulse buys necessary for a profit. People came, they bought the cheap stuff, and they left. Once again, showed that it’s winning, with its discounts every ten minutes throughout the week. And there’s less violence with Internet shopping.

This week may be a turning point in our culture. More people are opposing the consumerism of Black Friday—and now its predecessor Thanksgiving Day—while many others are turning to online shopping.


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