By now I'm sure you've heard that a person was trampled to death on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, during a pre-dawn stampede at a New York area Wal-Mart. What I bet you didn't know was that the guy was 6 foot 5 inches tall and weighed 270 pounds. He sounds more like an offensive lineman than a Wal-Mart employee, so you know that the crowds must have been fierce.
I don't know exactly who is to blame for this. Advertisers get paid to encourage shoppers to take advantage of the massive markdowns, and it was their marketing efforts, in combination with the lagging economy, that resulted in a mad early morning dash to find discounted goods. It was unchecked greed, however, that turned a free for all shopping spree into catastrophe.
There was a time when I would laugh at modern consumerism. Often times I would participate myself with a number of ill-advised purchases, only to regret them later. I can't help it now when I go to the mall and think about the mentality of the shoppers. Walking up and down the mall corridors there will be shoppers living beyond their means, selfish shoppers, shoppers desperately trying to find values, shoppers who can't afford what they want, what they need. Now, I have to worry about the lengths these shoppers will go to in order to save an additional 15%.