Friday, November 28, 2008

HO! HO! HOld On A Minute!

Say it isn't so. A 34-year old employee at the Valley Stream Walmart store in Long Island, New York was trampled to death by shoppers at 5 AM this morning. What has happened to us? According to reports, "a throng of shoppers surged into the store, physically breaking down the doors" and stomping through people...including the man who was killed, and a 28-year old pregnant woman who was injured...to get to the price-slashed-values on every must-have Christmas widget, wide screen TV, wrapper, whatever. I've been to Walmart. There's nothing inside worth dying for. Or, killing for. What has happened to us? Why do retail employees have to be at work in the middle of the night so we can shop at 2, 3, 4, and 5 AM? What are we thinking we need so badly that we embrace combat mentality as we pick up our GIFT (may I emphasize the word GIFT here...this is not the last cup of rice in the village) list? Where did we leave the Spirit of the Season and exchange it for the Insanity of Seductive Advertising? When did we decide to succumb to the repetitive pounding of frantic friends, relatives, retailers, and economists that drives us to place consumerism above all else on this weekend of giving thanks? How do we stop this? Who will hold us accountable for such debauchery? These are the kinds of actions I cannot remove myself from, even though I was safe and warm in my home this morning...not out shoving a child to buy something. I cannot extract myself from the psyche of a society in which I participate with enormous consumptive pleasure. I cannot, this afternoon, get over the fact that I am part of a compulsive acquisition-oriented-culture that kills a person for a $19.96 item at Walmart. Forgive us, Creative One. I'm certain this is not what you intended.

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