Christmas shopping not worth a trip to the E.R.

Guest Column by Lee McClelland

After a full Thanksgiving meal, folks lined up at local businesses in Marquette for the annual door-busting deals that outlets such as Wal-Mart, Target and Shopko advertise for every year to draw in the first wave of Christmas shoppers. Long lines and frenzied shoppers raced towards discounted goods throughout the greater Marquette area, but all was not well this Black Friday.

According to the Marquette Police Department, there was a series of phone calls to Wal-Mart, Target, Shopko, Econo Foods, Holiday Inn, Kohl’s and JC Penny on Friday after 3 p.m. It was reported that a caller stated that there was a bomb in the vicinity of the building; it appears to be the same caller for all of the businesses in town. It is believed to be a recorded message that the stores received, which complicates things further for the local police investigation.

Luckily for Marquette shoppers, there were no bombs found in the buildings and shopping resumed by 4 p.m. Whoever called in those bomb threats sure was a Grinch. Then again, Black Friday isn’t known for inspiring good cheer and brotherly love.

Black Friday has a bad reputation for bringing out the worst in people. In the past, people have been trampled to death as hoards of eager shoppers burst through the mechanical doors of shopping centers all over the country. Such was the case in 2008, when a 34-year-old employee was trampled to death at a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, N.Y. People resort to animalistic behavior just to get that last Xbox 360 or the always-prized Tickle-Me-Elmo. What level of savings can justify throwing away personal morals?

In Los Angeles, a Walmart reported that a woman pepper-sprayed a crowd of more than 20 people who were swarming over a crate of discounted Xbox 360s. The woman used pepper-spray to ensure that she had an upper hand when it came to grabbing the sought-after savings on a popular video game console.

Another Wal-Mart in California reported a man was in critical condition after being shot during the Black Friday rush. These acts of violence are not isolated to just Wal-Mart; they happen at various shopping centers around the country. Why, then, do we keep rushing out for savings, when we know that it could end in tragedy?

I am not a Black Friday shopper. I am not a coupon-crusader, nor am I an avid deal-seeker. For an extra $5, I’ll go shopping during non-peak hours at grocery stores and shopping centers. It’s worth it for me to save time rather than money. My morals have never been called into question when I’ve gone grocery shopping at 11 p.m. on a Wednesday night or Christmas shopping during the busy December months.

Have patience. Try not to kill the people in front of you at Target, although they may be piling their goods on the conveyer belt at the pace of a geriatric sloth. There will be time for swearing and cursing the masses when you are pulling out of the parking lot, dodging pedestrians with a trunk full of presents for family and friends.
Above all, don’t endanger the lives of others for an Xbox 360. Once you get it, you’ll never see another person again, so relax.