The shame of our consumer culture

By now you have probably heard that a crowd of people desperate to get into a Long Island Wal-Mart at 5 am on Friday trampeled a worker to death:

When the madness ended, 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour was dead and four shoppers, including a woman eight months pregnant, were injured.

“He was bum-rushed by 200 people,” said Wal-Mart worker Jimmy Overby, 43.

“They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me.

“They took me down, too … I didn’t know if I was going to live through it. I literally had to fight people off my back,” Overby said.

Damour, a temporary maintenance worker from Jamaica, Queens, was gasping for air as shoppers continued to surge into the store after its 5 a.m. opening, witnesses said.

Even officers who arrived to perform CPR on the trampled worker were stepped on by wild-eyed shoppers streaming inside, a cop at the scene said.

I have nothing profound to say about this tragedy. It is a disgrace to our country that buying things has become such an obsession during the holiday season that a crowd of people will step on someone to get in on a “Black Friday” sale at the crack of dawn, and even step on the people trying to help him.

Clearly stores are going to have to stop offering special deals on the day after Thanksgiving that are only good for the first X number of customers, or only good until a certain early hour of the morning. Doing away with first-come, first-served “general admission” seating at rock concerts prevented a recurrence of the stampede that killed 11 people trying to see The Who in Cincinnati in 1979.

I wonder if the media will reduce the hype about post-Thanksgiving shopping next year as well.

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