Be Careful Out There: Shopping Rage

The title of this post is taken from the sergeant who read the daily assignments on the ground-breaking, 80’s cop show, “Hill Street Blues.”  Every day he would warn his people, “Be careful out there!”

Sadly, the same caution may be needed this year by holiday shoppers, after an incident in southern California that police are calling, “competitive shopping rage.”  At 10:20 pm on Thanksgiving night, shoppers were lining up in the Porter Valley Walmart to purchase discounted Xboxes, when a woman began pepper spraying them “to gain a shopping advantage.”

Ten people were treated for pepper spray, and ten others for bumps and bruises suffered in the confusion.  The assailant got away, and it isn’t clear if she scored an Xbox.  The store is going through register receipts to see if she left a credit card trail.  The woman could face felony battery charges if apprehended.  We all should be thankful she didn’t bring a gun.

I really want to condemn something or someone for this insanity, but that would be false.  A better question would be, how am I complicit in the greed that has come to surround the birthday of the Prince of Peace?  And to reference my previous post on Andrew Weil, how happy is this kind of grasping likely to make someone on Christmas morning?

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4 Responses to Be Careful Out There: Shopping Rage

  1. Rosi says:

    It can’t get much darker than it did on this Black Friday. There is a reason I never go shopping on this weekend. I’ll bet there will still be stuff in the stores next week.

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  2. The morning paper reveals that it was worse than that in terms of incidents of violence. Supposedly police are advising late hour shoppers to travel in groups.

    Very sad to me also is that (apparently) the early openings worked for the stores, so there goes the holiday for a lot of sales people. In the case of shoppers, it was voluntary. One woman, who was in line on the sidewalk at 10:00am on Thanksgiving day, said, “We had our turkey a day early so we could be here.”

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  3. Debbie says:

    This is just so sad. When I was a reporter, the Black Friday shopping experience always was a required feature. Fortunately, I never had to show up at the crack of dawn to interview shoppers, or I might have been trampled, too. With stores opening earlier and earlier, I really feel sorry for the sales clerks, who hardly get to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families for having to work.

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    • I agree. I’m just sorry the early openings seem to have been profitable. What a bizarre sales job to convince people that was the place to be! At least waiting on sidewalks for concert tickets or the opening of Star Wars had a certain panache to it!

      On the other hand, it makes me want to dig into the history of Christmas celebrations. Last year I did a related post on the history of Santa Claus. As I recall, Christmas was not really celebrated in colonial days. I think it only began to take shape in the 1830’s in New York, with some effort by the chamber of commerce. I’ll have to look it up.

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