I would like to remind people that the term “doorbusters,” that is now used widely by Kohl’s, JCPenney, and practically every retailer in their advertisements was created after the death of a Wal-Mart worker named Jdimytai Damour in 2008. He died on Black Friday, trampled to death by shoppers who cared about nothing but scoring a TV set or some latest gadget. Wal-Mart cleaned up the body and re-opened a few hours later. People who were asked to leave because someone had died complained that they hadn’t gotten to shop yet. In the end Wal-Mart paid a $7,000 fine.
I wrote to JCPenney’s CEO when the company started to use “doorbusters” in ads, asking them to stop for the sake of the guy’s family. Their CEO never wrote back. We are a country of great potential that has no time for mourning when money is at stake. We build nothing, import everything, and are too busy chatting on cell phones to hold doors or say thank you to others. I hope everyone took a good look around them on “Black Friday”–and now Black Thursday night– and was disgusted by what they saw. We talk a lot about our American values. I hope that having the freedom to abandon people at the dinner table early to shop on Thanksgiving, and the freedom to trample low-income fellow Americans to death while we buy TVs is not the kind of values we stand for.