Tragedy in Wal-Mart: Are Times That Hard?

On Black Friday, an employee at a Wal-Mart in Long Island, New York was trampled to death by a mob of customers after he opened the stores doors at 5 AM. Jdimytai Damour was only 34 years old when he met this unlikely demise. Even more unbelievable are the eyewitness accounts that customers shouted, complained and cussed when told by store employees that the store would be closed for a few hours because of Damour’s death. The employees who made this announcement to customers were undoubtedly not the ones who were also trampled as they tried to get to Damour and help him. Among the four injured people was a woman who was eight months pregnant. All were taken to area hosptials and the pregnant woman’s fate is not clear. These events happening at a popular, family-friendly chain store known for “rolling back prices” leads me to ask: “Are times that hard?” I mean, I know that the United States has had economic troubles that has hit every American. Even mega-mogul Diddy said he’s been flying commercial because it costs him too much to fill up his private jet. I also realize that Black Friday ushers in the holiday season and the shopping that accompanies it. Everyone’s favorite stores, or at least most patronized ones, have the biggest and best sales.

On Friday, Wal-Mart had a 50 inch, HDTV plasma TV on sale for $798. Amazing! Great buy! Steal! But…was it worth a man’s life? Sure, after being in line for hours, 2,000 eager Wal-Mart fanatics would be anxious to begin filling their carts but getting inside that store to stock up on canned goods and stocking stuffers does not constitute a life or death emergency. Yes, financial experts have already predicted that the revenue earned by businesses during this holiday season will be much lower than usual. Yes, people still want to get big smiles from family and friends when they hand them that special gift-wrapped package on Christmas day. Yes, the average American has been strained this year and perhaps for the last few years with pocket-busting gas prices, taxes and high utility bills. Yes, the personal and food products that we’ve been buying for years are up a dollar or two. So, yes, I understand the desire to get whatever relief is available — even if it means missing Thanksgiving dinner to stand in line for nearly 24 hours.

What I don’t understand is the lack of compassion and brutish nature that can come out in some people when they want to save a buck! This is not a third world country! You are not standing in a bread or soup line back in 1932! The fact that you can even go to Wal-Mart says that at the very least, you are not so desperate that you would even punch a man out, let alone trample his body under your feet like it’s a welcome mat from the Waltons themselves! Obviously, I’m outraged at the inhumanity exhibited here but I am pleased that despite the number of people who rushed into the doors of Wal-Mart and ran over Damour, the authorities are using eyewitness accounts and video surveillance from the store to track down the greedy bargain fiends responsible for his death. May they spend their holly, jolly Christmases in a fa la la la jail cell! There, they won’t have to worry being economically thrifty and bargain hunting — three hots and a cot are promised.