Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

December 5, 2013

House of Burgess: (Bloody) Black (and blue) Friday

Shopping bleeds into Thanksgiving, literally.

(Continued)

Not even armed public safety officials were exempt from injury anymore. “Police officers descended on Walmart in Rialto, Calif. after a brawl between two men injured a police officer who tried to break up the fight Thursday night,” reported Doug Saunders of the San Bernadino County Sun Nov. 28. “The injured officer was transported to St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino with a broken wrist.” Another cop in Romeoville, Ill., got it even worse the same night. “The commotion began about 10 p.m. [Nov. 28] when police were alerted to a theft in progress at [Kohl’s],” reported Adam Sege and Juan Perez, Jr. in the Chicago Tribune Friday. “The police officers waited outside the store and soon saw two men bringing a shopping cart out of the store toward [a black Pontiac Sunfire]. … An officer caught up with [them] but the suspect ‘closed the car door on the officer’s arm, not allowing the officer to disengage from the vehicle. ... The driver then drove away, dragging the officer with the vehicle.’”

Any further lingering doubts about whether the free market has a conscience should have been answered by the state of Black Friday in 2013. Gigantic companies have invented an increasingly punishing capitalistic gauntlet pitting family traditions against pure greed.

The Christmas shopping season feels more like the Hunger Games than ever before. (Make sure you wipe the blood from that off-brand tablet before you wrap it!)

And the saddest part? This cultural degradation hasn’t even produced fiscal results. “A record 141 million people are expected to shop in stores and online over the four-day Thanksgiving …up from last year’s 137 million, according to the results of a survey of nearly 4,500 shoppers conducted for The National Retail Federation,” reported the AP Sunday. “But total spending is expected to fall for the first time ever since the trade group began tracking it in 2006, according to the survey that was released Sunday. Over the four days, spending fell an estimated 2.9 percent to $57.4 billion.” If you’re going to sell what little soul you have, corporate America, the least you could do is get a decent price.

Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at rob.burgess@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/robaburg.

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