I have become obsessed with what is now being called in some circles, The Great Black Friday Two-Dollar Waffle Iron Riot.
I do not like Black Friday. There. I said it. I am now an outcast of American society. I am against buying stuff that you really didn't need in the first place just because of deals.
There are quite a few reasons that I do not participate in this annual day of spontaneous purchasing and questionable judgement. Mostly becasue of the over spending and that judgement imparement. On Thanksgiving Day, my relatives pour over ads and devise a plan of attack, printing maps of the stores interiors from websites, planning out their shopping route and dividing up family members to cover the store faster. It amounts to nothing short of a tactical military strike that results in not ground won or lost, but in sheer numbers of bath wash gift sets and flat screen televisions accquired.
This past Black Friday, a woman doused ten fellow shoppers with pepper spray in an attempt to grab a discounted Xbox video game console. There were robberies, shootings, use of tasers, fights and I am sure some very foul language was used also.
And of course, the waffel iron riot. I am obessed with it because I think it shows just what we have become, without even realizing it.
I just finished read One Second After by William R. Forstchen, where after several EMP's are deployed over the US, society turns very quickly to survival by any means. People rioted and looted grocery stores, and just about anything else. There were things going on that no one could ever imagine and people turned from fighting over parking spots to dying of starvation and committing unspeakable crimes.
And here we are, beating each other up over $2 waffel irons at Walmart.
I find it ironic that Southington, Connecticut iReporter Ryan Casale said in a report about the waffel irons - "You see sides of people that they, themselves didn't even know existed."
What sides might we see when it is not waffel irons but canned food and pennecillin?
Watching these people literally climbing over each other for this cheap piece of foreign made plastic junk, that will be broken and in the landfill by this time next year, scares me. It scares me to see average people whipped into a frenzy by price cuts on frivilous merchandise, which encourages hyper-competitive behavior, and more often than not results in altercations and hospitalizations.
Then to add insult to, literally, injury, the entire thing is spurred on by news reports, Twitter, and YouTube videos shot from cell phones going "viral" showong stampedes of shoppers behaiving very, very badly. Aggressive consumerism and mindless violence with absolutely no concern for fellow human beings.
I worry that when the s*@% hits the fan and we are faced with a real emergency, we will see much worse than pepper spray and waffel irons. We will see the "sides of people that they, themselves didn't even know existed" in ways that no one thought possible. If someone can physically injure another human being for an Xbox, what will they do when starving and competing for a can of sliced peaches?