>Black Friday. A Commentary (Complete With Sighs).

>Toys-R-Us store at United Square shopping mall...Image via WikipediaOK.  So, this isn’t much of a “commentary.”  I get it.  I think a lot of this just kind of speaks for itself.

First, we have a woman threatening to shoot her fellow shoppers at a Toys R Us in Madison, Wisconsin.  Says the report:

The TV news station has the incident report from the Madison Police Department that reveals “several hundred shoppers were waiting in line for the Toys “R” Us store to open when a 21-year-old woman attempted to move to the front of the line.”

“She was confronted by numerous shoppers and in turn she made threats to retrieve a gun and shoot the shoppers.”

The NY Daily News has a statement from a police spokesman.

“She’s now spending her shopping money to post bond,” said Madison Police Sgt. Erik Fuhremann.

SIGH.

Let’s see.  Next we move from the great city of Madison, Wisconsin all the way down to Boynton Beach in Florida.  There a shopper was detained for shopping at Wal-Mart, fully armed.  For some reason he found it necessary to bring some concealed weapons into the store.  And, while I’m sure they were all expecting some crowds, most people don’t find it necessary to be ready for a stand-off or whatever.  The report out of The Palm Beach Post says:

Boynton Beach police said they arrested Christopher D. Scott, 49, just after midnight today in a checkout line at the Walmart at 3200 Old Boynton Road.

Scott is charged with three counts each of carrying a concealed firearm, carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

Officers had been doing an extra patrol at the store because of the large crowd seeking early bargains.
A police log said Scott wore a .40-caliber Glock handgun with a 30-round magazine in a holster at his hip, as well as two concealed knives and a “pepper grenade.”

SIGH.

And, lastly, back up north in Buffalo, New York problems ensued at a Target store…also pronounced “Tar-jay” by some :).  In the quest to get the best deals, chaos won out over civility.  Says the WIBD TV station website:

Shoppers waited out in the cold wet weather for hours. When the doors opened at 4 a.m. the Black Friday chaos turned ugly.

Seconds after the doors opened, something went dangerously wrong.

Crazed Black Friday shoppers began piling up on each other.

“It went from controlled to a mob in less than five minutes and it just got nasty,” said a shopper.

When officials heard the screams, they ran over right away to help.

Shopper Rich Mathewson said, “It was a lot of angry people just jumping in after we waited patiently for a long time. It actually started way before that, people started getting angry at everybody.”

SIGH.

Lovely…ain’t it. 

I’ve written a lot about consumerism here in the great U.S. of A.  It’s something we all struggle with.  We have this sort of inborn desire to WANT things and every one of us loves to get a deal.  But, as we stretch to get that “deal” we need to keep in perspective that the stores don’t LOSE money on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.   They aren’t giving away free money and if we only get in line first, we’ll be the ones to get the handouts.  They MAKE money.  And, when it comes down to it, most of those “special deals” can be gotten at other times if we all just do a little homework.  But there’s a spiritual side to all of this.  There is a spiritual warfare going on for our souls and we’re finding it particularly hard to serve both God and money when we go into these crazed shopping sprees.

I confess to you that I made some purchases today.  Every year I get my older kids Christian T-Shirts for Christmas.  I don’t even wrap them.  I just lay them on the Christmas tree and they find them when they get up on Christmas morning.  It probably sprang from laziness at one point.  But now it’s “tradition.”  So, today I placed that order.  And, hey, I got a deal.  They were only $10 each!  (And I could have clothed them for a lot less if I shopped at Value Village in Anchorage).   That was my big “Black Friday” experience.  I’m out some money but no violence was threatened against anyone.  I don’t think anyone got hurt.  And, now I can get some things done around the house.

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2 thoughts on “>Black Friday. A Commentary (Complete With Sighs).

  1. >Another twist on serving God vs. mammon: The t-shirts that you purchase: are they sweatshop free? In our efforts to get "a deal," we often forget that a cheap deal for us means non-sustainable wages for overseas workers. A cheap deal for us means damaging manufacturing processes in countries without environmental protections. Everything has a cost. The question is, who bears the brunt?

  2. >You're exactly right. Everything has a cost and sweatshops and non-sustainable wages are a part of it all. When Shane Claiborne was with us in June, he wore a sweatshirt with duck tape over the logo. He said he already bought the sweatshirt but he wasn't going advertise until he knew the company was in line with his ethics. Don't know if he ever took the tape off.

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