>See, This is What I Mean

>Yesterday I posted a piece on New West about Buy Nothing Day, Black Friday, etc. If you check it out this post will make more sense. Anyway, this morning I dropped Julia off at work and my loop home took me by Shopko and the mall. The freakin’ Shopko parking lot was packed. I mean, I don’t think there was a single space available that I could see, and the little drive-thru Starbucks in the corner of the lot was totally backed up. This was at 8 AM or so on an otherwise light traffic day. Passing by the mall, a couple of the lots around it were only partially full, while others were definitely packed.

Here are images from around the country, people camping out, waiting in line starting at 2:00 AM, etc., and some of the first stories in the wake of the Big Day are rolling in. It really boggles my mind. What gets me is that in all of these images, these people are herding into stores that exclusively sell cheap shit made in other places. I don’t buy at all the notion that spending money at all of these stores is going to “fix the economy.” Whose economy? The people making $7/hour working at these stores (with no insurance), or the bigshots who own the companies that are just going to restock their portfolios against the losses they incurred with their latest gambling scheme (courtesy, once again, of our money)? It really pisses me off, the more I think about it.

Here’s the story that really saddens me, and makes me realize just how screwed we are (and here is a video report). This poor Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death. People trying to help him were knocked down, and even the friggin’ cops who tried to administer CPR were knocked around by shoppers. And shopping just kept going. The fucking store was reopened by noon. Here is the part that really hits me in the heart:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., called the incident a “tragic situation” and said the employee came from a temporary agency and was doing maintenance work at the store.

The poor guy was a freakin’ temp. Which means he was likely paid even less, and certainly farther from any benefits than a regular employee. Working at Wal-Mart this morning was probably the last place on earth he wanted to be, and now he’s dead. What a bunch of shit. Merry Christmas, all you desperate fuckers who stepped around him to go save a few bucks on cheap shit. What a pitiful state of affairs we are living in. Times like this I’d prefer to see it all come crashing down, and let those of us who can work together as a community that gives a shit about each other carve out our own peaceful existence. Pipedream, yeah, but it’s no different from plenty of the other irrational hopes and dreams millions of others are clinging to. At least mine comes with seed catalogs, some soil, and a few sets of helping hands.

Rather than end on a downer, here’s a picture of SID as a wee lad and his new kitten, PUNY, taken probably in June of 2001 or so, Ronan, MT.

2 thoughts on “>See, This is What I Mean

  1. Francis H. Woods

    >Yep, sounds about right to me.The sad thing about America is that most consumers never think past handing their cash to the store clerk. They don’t ask the question – What is my money for this purchase supporting?Is it supporting the local economy, sustainable living, reducing America’s dependence on foreign energy, higher paying domestic jobs, human rights and/or environmental polices world-wide?Or is the money just used to purchase some cheap piece of shit that they don’t really NEED and don’t care enough to think about.How and where we spend our money is a vote for lasting change that we can cast every day.Good rant.

  2. Chris

    >Thanks for the comment.Dennis Perrin (http://dennisperrin.blogspot.com/) said:”Why was there so much head-scratching over the deadly Wal-Mart stampede? Powerless, atomized people can and often do treat each other horribly, especially if consumer toys are marked down and waved in their faces. Trampling another poor person in order to grab a plasma screen isn’t terribly shocking, given how many value property over fellow humans. It’s merely a reflection of the larger system, only more honest and direct. Death by sweatshop and death by consumer crush are woven from the same bloody cloth, serving and enriching many of the same people. The only real concern is whether any of it hurts sales. Still, the special edition DVD of “The Incredible Hulk” for nine bucks ain’t bad.”Can’t really argue with that, unfortunately, even if it is pretty damn depressing.


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