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Fight For Your Right To, Shop??? Black Friday Turns Violent!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Norman Rockwell

Compare the two scenarios. One is all about a multi-generational family gathered together around a delectable feast of Thanksgiving meal staples. The next step was usually everyone gathered in the family room in various states of what has been called a carb-induced com; often with the Thanksgiving Day football game playing unseen.

The video is indicative of a large part of the population that has replaced the lazy evening with the shopping frenzy that has become known as the pre-Black Friday sales. This means that many of the stores that used to open at midnight the morning of Black Friday are now opening as early as 5:00pm Thanksgiving evening.

Now we all know that certain professions like military, law enforcement and medical require its employees to pretty much have to be available weekends and holidays. Even some grocery stores have traditionally been open until 5:00pm-6:00pm on holidays for those last minute runs for milk, sugar, baby food, etc.

But with these situations, it was always readily accepted as a matter of necessity, if not life or death. Now we've come to a place of actually wanting to be out of there. It's a paradox that those of us who don't have to be out working, now actually choose to be out the fray. The retailers say they open because we stand in lines to get in, so we obviously want it. We say we are practically forced to come out because that's when the retailers offer the door-buster deals.

In the end it's a matter of choice, but where the line somehow needs to be drawn is the violence. This is a recent phenomenon. People have always associated hustle and bustle with holiday shopping. But what is new and disturbing is the absence of the gracious "thank yous", "excuse mes," and "pardon mes".

Various news media are reporting an animalistic savagery in some of our approaches to shopping. Sadly our sense of stubborn entitlement seems to rise in proportion to the sweetness and the rareness of the deal. It turns from an "I want such and such" to "I must have such and such". I submit to you some of this short temper may derive from lack of sleep from camping out to be first in line.

Whatever the cause, look at these pictures and dream. Dream that maybe, just maybe in 2014, we will extend our intention of a kinder, gentler nation into the holidays. After all there is enough to go around. Like the song says "Christmas is a feeling..." Let's all make an effort to do whatever we can to ensure a peaceful and safe holiday season in our own communities. Are you in?

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