American Idiocy: Dying for Shopping on Black Friday

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 12/01/2013 09:04:00 AM
There are few things more pathetic than a consumerist automaton who lives to shop. This American disease has spread around the globe under the guise of various euphemisms--"economic efficiency," "free trade," "globalization," and so forth--but its symptoms are unmistakable. Today's Exhibit A is the phenomenon of "Black Friday," or the day after Thanksgiving when US retailers supposedly break even for the year and offer mega-deals to entice the American shopping classes.

Which would all be well and good if these mega-deals weren't as fake as the American Dream: to engineer "40% off," most retailers work backwards to come up with a suggested retail price (SRP) that the product is rarely if ever offered at:
The common assumption is that retailers stock up on goods and then mark down the ones that don't sell, taking a hit to their profits. But that isn't typically how it plays out. Instead, big retailers work backward with their suppliers to set starting prices that, after all the markdowns, will yield the profit margins they want. The red cardigan sweater with the ruffled neck on sale for more than 40% off at $39.99 was never meant to sell at its $68 starting price. It was designed with the discount built in. 
Being ever-so-gullible, the Yanquis lap up these frauds and are even willing to sacrifice life and limb joining the thronging masses. Witness reports of injuries and fatalities incurred by them last Friday in that all important life cause of, er, availing of larger "discounts":
  • In Chicago, a police officer shot a suspected shoplifter driving a car that was dragging a fellow officer at a Kohl's department store. The suspect and the dragged officer were treated in hospital for shoulder injuries. Three people were arrested, reports the Chicago Tribune
  • A shopper in Las Vegas who was carrying a big-screen TV home from a Target store on Thanksgiving was shot in the leg as he tried to wrestle the item back from a robber who had just stolen it from him at gunpoint, reports the Las Vegas Sun
  • At a southern California Walmart store, a police officer's wrist was broken as he tried to break up a fight between two men in the queue outside; there were two more fights over goods inside, reports the San Bernadino Sun
  • A 23-year-old man was doused with pepper spray and arrested after he allegedly attacked a police officer responding to an argument over a television at a Walmart in Garfield, New Jersey, reports the Star-Ledger
  • Despite Walmart's pledge to overhaul its crowd-control measures, scenes of mayhem such as this one were apparently filmed at a store in Fort Worth, Texas
  • Two arrests were made after a man was stabbed in an argument over a parking space at a Walmart in Virginia, reports local television station WVVA
Americans enjoy styling themselves as exemplars for the rest of us unenlightened colored peoples, but why the hell you would you like to be so shallow and live lives so pointless is beyond me.