On the stroke of midnight after Thanksgiving, scores of Americans will head to their local department stores in the middle of the night and quite literally trample each other to death for things they don’t actually need. Black Friday is not just an American thing anymore. Like a virus, this grotesque occasion has manifested itself as a global occurrence. Black Friday is the epitome of the harmfulness of consumer capitalism.
According to the Hustle, between 2006 and 2018, there have been eleven Black Friday related deaths, and more than 100 injuries. Motives range from stampedes, in-store fights, brawls, and even shootings. While most of these fatalities and injuries trace back to the United States, there have also been some Black Friday related incidents across several countries. When looking at these numbers, you may initially think it’s a relatively low number, considering the hundreds of millions of people who participate in Black Friday each year. Yet here’s the catch. These people who died were fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, neighbours, and friends. And what did they die for? They died for our greed. I say “our” because Black Friday is our collective fault. We as a society have allowed ourselves to value sales over the lives of our fellow neighbours.
Limiting this outrageous occasion will benefit us all in the short and long term. Whether it is the lives saved, or even saving the planet, considering the effect that overproduction and consumer greed play in producing obscene amounts of carbon footprint that harm our planet. If you still want to buy into the craze, think and buy local. Support your small businesses because God knows they need every bit of help competing against big-box retailers. When push comes to shove, I would like to think my life and your life ends up being worth more than a fantastically priced flat-screen TV. Think about that the next time Black Friday comes around, it may even save you from spending the night in the emergency room, or even save your life.