Have wise men taught us nothing?Published 12:10am Friday, December 2, 2011
If Christ were born today, I am not sure the three wise men would be caught waiting in line at midnight on Black Friday to purchase their cheap bottles of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the baby in the manger.
I guess if the deals were as good as those offered this year, they just might join the annual fray.
After watching the yearly shopping chaos that is Black Friday this year, I wonder how in the world we ever got to this point. How has this day of greed overshadowed the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas?
Ten years ago, I used to call shoppers crazy for waiting in the mall parking lot at 6 a.m. In those days, maybe 10 or 15 people would be bundled up from the cold waiting to get good deals on clothing and house wares.
This year more than 300 people lined up at 3 a.m. to get their hands on gift cards and $20 boots. I guess the wait was worth it for the one lucky winner of the $1,000 gift card. It certainly would buy a lot of boots.
Across town, at Walmart, shoppers didn’t wait for their Thanksgiving feast to settle before they piled bargain after bargain into their shopping carts. Some families filled three and four carts with thousands of dollars of merchandise.
In the spirit of the day, many shoppers admitted they weren’t shopping to find Christmas gifts for their loved ones. They were out to find the best bargains and deals on merchandise they were getting for themselves.
One child sat in an overfilled cart at 1 a.m. Friday morning admiring all of the stuff he said he was getting for Christmas. Meanwhile, shoppers in another were laughing about a fight that broke out over towels.
Thankfully, Natchez is not Los Angeles where a woman pepper-sprayed 20 shoppers. Police have yet to determine if the woman used the spray to get her hands on video games discounted to half-price or if she was acting in self-defense when total pandemonium ensued.
Videos on YouTube broadcast scenes of people pulling hair as they scramble for $2 waffle makers.
In Myrtle Beach, S.C., a woman was shot outside of a store in a robbery attempt to grab her bags.
In Rome, N.Y., two women were rushed to the hospital after trying to get their hands on a $35 smartphone bargain.
Black Friday shopping became a fatal holiday pastime this year when a West Virginia man was pronounced dead after he collapsed in a Target during a stampede of frenzied shoppers. Witnesses said shoppers walked around and trampled the man’s body as he lay unconscious.
Of course, the most atrocious Black Friday event occurred three years ago when a Walmart store employee was trampled to death by shoppers who broke down entrance doors to get to a few good deals.
What kind of people would do this? What has happened to our culture and the truest meaning of Christmas?
In a time when people in third world countries fight for food and water, what does it say about our country when people are killed shopping for Christmas?
If I were a wise man, I would just stay away.
Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or firstname.lastname@example.org.