Black Friday has become a ubiquitous phenomenon within the last generation, allowing Christmas-minded shoppers to show up early the day after Thanksgiving for exclusive savings.
The idea highlights America’s supply-and-demand free market system by allowing individuals to decide how much their time – and very often, their dignity – is worth. For retailers offering attractive enough deals, one day can mean big profits.
As is so often the case, however, what began as an appealing concept has been stretched and contorted beyond recognition. Some “Black Friday” deals began on Thanksgiving morning at retailers across the nation. While these stores are certainly free to operate during any hours they deem appropriate, increased competition among businesses has translated to increased competition among shoppers.
According to local reports, a fight Thursday between several patrons of a Rialto, Calif. Walmart erupted before most families had finished their pumpkin pie. A nearby police officer was reportedly injured as he stepped in to resolve the Thanksgiving thrashing just before 7 p.m.
The dispute began, according to Rialto Police Department Sgt. Nicholas Borchard, “in reference to people cutting in lines.”
At least two suspected participants were arrested for assault, and the injured officer was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Black Friday deals continued throughout Thanksgiving and began in earnest at nearly all retailers in the nation Friday morning. More than ever before, authorities are relying on partitions, gates, and increased police presence to prevent similar incidents of violence.
Online competition has put an added strain on brick-and-mortar stores. As such, many have become desperate to offer better and earlier deals in an effort to capitalize on a consistently busy shopping day.
Unfortunately, opportunities that could present the best of our capitalist system are too often usurped by bullies who highlight the worst in human nature.
–B. Christopher Agee
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