At the same time, I learned how frustrating and aggressive the shopping public can be.
Today’s events at a Long Island Wal-Mart proved to me that shoppers have gotten to a point of literally killing someone over a bargain. Retail work is grueling, underpaid, and thankless. No one appreciates a well-stocked shelf or an uncluttered toy aisle, but the minute an item is off the shelf, John Q. Public is annoyed and griping. Today, some poor clerk got in the way of an obnoxious stampede and people literally trampled him to death. Several others were injured and police were telling folks to back off from the scene.
Is a $15 blender or a $5 Hannah Montana doll worth a person’s life? People have evacuated disaster zones with less chaos. Even the 9/11 Commission reports, “Despite these obstacles, the evacuation was relatively calm and orderly.42”
My father used to complain about opening the store doors on sale days, noting the skill it took to unlock the door and literally jump out of harm’s way. Making the challenge more difficult was the store safe that sat by the entrance. When fully opened at a 90-degree angle, the door and its handle touched the safe.
One young clerk wanted to be the one in charge of opening the door for the after-Christmas sale. With persistent begging, dad handed over the keys. The young man strutted up to the door with a self-important gait, unlocked the door and woosh, he was captured between the door and the safe like a specimen under glass. Thankfully he was thin and it gave my dad and other employees a good laugh.
Today, no one laughed when the crowd ripped the doors off the frame and sent a young stock clerk to his holiday grave.
Published: 11/28/2008 12:03:07