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Season's greedings all so sad

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By Nafari Vanaski
,
By Nafari Vanaski
,

Every year in Spain, residents take part in a tradition known as the running of the bulls, in which people have animals that weigh as much a ton running behind them as fast as they can.

Sometimes, a participant dies in the fray.

Here in America, we call it Black Friday.

We are living among some for whom a month of holiday shopping time after Thanksgiving apparently is not enough. These are the people who will mark today's holiday by displaying some of the most shocking acts of greed and violence you will ever see among human beings, including and not limited to trampling to death store employees and fellow shoppers.

Why?

There's a big-screen television on sale for $100 less.

The Discovery Channel is missing a real opportunity here to resurrect its program, “Wild America.” Instead of documentaries such as “Peculiar Plants,” why not “Savage Shoppers”?

Let's recap the lowlights of some Black Fridays past. Note that there seems to be a red cape waving at the bulls from one of America's biggest box chains:

• When a Wal-Mart worker was killed in 2008 at a New York-area store, the store did the respectable thing — it closed until 1 p.m.

• That same year at another Wal-Mart, a woman claimed to authorities she was trampled by fellow shoppers when the doors opened. But the woman continued shopping for Black Friday specials before reporting to police that she could have been killed.

• Last year, a woman pepper-sprayed some shoppers vying with her for a video game system at — you guessed it — Wal-Mart.

Hey, at least the bulls just do what comes naturally. What excuses do these people have, other than maybe trying to get on the website peopleofwalmart.com?

This year, Wal-Mart and some other stores announced plans to open as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. That's prompted some pushback from some Wal-Mart and other retail employees who believe they deserve a holiday's rest before dealing with Black Friday crowds.

And finally, after years of Thanksgiving being overtaken by Christmas shopping, the anti-Thanksgiving shopping idea is getting some traction.

A telephone survey of 1,001 people by market research company Ipsos shows that only 6 percent plan to shop on Thanksgiving. Through social media, some people are mobilizing petitions and opposition to Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving.

A Facebook page, The Reason for the Season, started this week and has 427 followers. (It's a growing movement.)

Others would argue that among the things these retail workers should be thankful for is having a job, even if it means working Thanksgiving. That's true, when it's necessary to work such days.

But this is a matter of feeding greed. If the store didn't open until 12:01 a.m. Friday, then that's when people would come. That worked for a lot of years, by the way.

If this expansion of Black Friday isn't contained, what's next for Thanksgivings Yet to Come?

It'd be nice to think we'll go back to the old days of family dinners and reflecting on the important things and Christmas carols in December, instead of at the crack of November.

But it's more likely that those people who have been waiting in front of Best Buy stores since early Monday are the harbinger of what's to come: Black Week.

Nafari Vanaski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at nvanaski@tribweb.com or 412-856-7400 ext. 8669.

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