Consumerism will kill us

I wrote that heading yesterday as part of my rant about stupid products, and I meant it in a fairly broad sense, but it’s also worth reflecting on the fact that for one Wal-Mart employee last week it was completely true. Lemmiwinks mentioned this incident a few days ago, and I’d seen some commentary on US sites as well, however today we have confirmation of what plenty of people speculated would occur as the man’s family have sued Wal-Mart for his wrongful death.


I hope this man’s family take Wal-Mart to the cleaners. It’s just disgusting that a person has to lose their life because a bunch of people have convinced themselves that they absolutely must buy discounted consumer goods. Fuck Wal-Mart and fuck this crazy obsession with consumption. Let’s put this into perspective, this mob, outside a store at 5am, weren’t lining up for UN food packages for their starving families, they weren’t trying to evacuate from an area hit by natural disaster, they were trying to save fifty bucks on a DVD player! Since when did consumption become a sport?

I’m sure some people will accuse this man’s family of ‘cashing in’ on his death, but I have no doubt that no amount of money will replace a family member taken so cruelly and in such a display of humanity at its worst. Besides which, organisations like Wal-Mart only understand dollars and cents, if this incident does not hurt them economically they will have no reason to try to reverse the mass hysteria that retailers have spent years cultivating for ‘door-buster’ sales.

I hope that this incident gives pause to our local retailers who have modelled their Boxing Day sales on America’s Black Friday and that they choose to place people’s safety and a bit of decorum above their profit motive.

6 thoughts on “Consumerism will kill us

  1. QUOTE: “…the mass hysteria that retailers have spent years cultivating for ‘door-buster’ sales.”

    In a nutshell, Dave, in a nutshell. BUT, things would never have reached this level of stupidity if the majority of consumers had not morphed into a bunch of moronic wood ducks.

  2. If you’ve never been caught in one of these ‘human surges’ you don’t know what it’s like. I remember as a kid queueing for VFL final tickets at the MCG. You had to camp out over night. One year, in the early hours of the morning, there was this push forward in the queue bought on by someone saying that there were queue jumpers or something like that. Anyway, everyone junped to their feet and resumed their place in the queue only to feel this massive surge come from behind that literally knocked everyone off their feet. Then there was a stampede for the front and if you were on the ground you got trampled on. I managed to get to my feet and join the stampede and probably stomped on a few people in process. Not sure, don’t know … because that’s what it’s like – it’s just hysteria and every person for themself. Got my tickets though!

  3. The thing that amazes me Ray, is that there are thousands of concerts every year where there are crowd surges in front of the stage but there is a sense of responsibility among everyone in the crowd. I know I’d feel much safer falling in the crowd at the Big Day Out than I would falling over during the sales at Myer. The man who died was 196cm tall and 123kg, it’s not like he was a frail individual, and yet he was overcome.

    I don’t think that the individuals in the crowd should be held accountable for what happened, but the people who refused to leave the store while CPR was being administered, on account of the fact that they’d been waiting in line a long time, probably need to have a serious conversation with Mr Yellowpages.

    The point is, there was no need for this crowd to be there. This was an artificial creation of the retailer with nothing other than their desire for profit guiding them.

  4. DfA I agree that Walmart should cop the rap, and hopefully this will curb the stupid behaviour of all similar retailers. The real tragedy is that it takes a death to drive common-sense change. I clearly remember the post-Christmas sales at Myer in Melbourne in the 80s, where specially marked-down items caused stampedes at the 6am openings; but a couple of customers sustaining broken limbs one year saw the practice discontinued.
    While I’d like to agree that it’s safer in a BDO crowd, I won’t. I went to the first 6 and survived, but there’s been several deaths in BDO moshpits over the years.
    No dead people at Myers stampedes.

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