Holiday Shoppers and Mad Wildebeest Disease

Black Friday is now a memory, initiating the holiday shopping season; a time of wondrous feelings, such as when you find an open parking space at the mall. Or, when you leave the mall and your car only has a few fresh holiday dings instead of an SUV, like the Chrysler Subdivision, parked right on top of it.

Holiday shoppers are, and I say this with true journalistic professionalism, as insane as a herd of wildebeest infected with mad cow disease. For instance, that little old lady standing demurely in line at the Hallmark store? She got that spot by demurely shoving her way through weaker, less infected shoppers.

But shoving has become outdated. Holiday shoppers have upgraded to more advanced, by which I mean painful, methods of getting what their 6-year-old brats demand. You may have seen that woman in the news that attacked a herd of holiday shoppers with pepper spray. It was during this year’s Black Friday at a Wal-Mart in Los Angeles (where else?) that, according to New York Times journalist David Carr, a “charming lady” trying to maintain her grip on a half-priced Xbox “allegedly” sprayed 20 people with pepper spray.

But if you’ve seen videos of Black Friday shoppers then you shouldn’t be too hard on this poor soul. It’s quite possible she had already beaten back several biters, shovers, and purse-swingers before desperately resorting to pepper spray; a substance designed to ward off lesser assailants like muggers or vacuum cleaner salesmen.

I’ve decided that likening holiday shoppers to herds of mad cow wildebeest is a weak comparison. Holiday shoppers, especially during Black Friday, are more akin to scenes from “Night of the Living Dead”. If you happen to be one of the lucky holiday shoppers holding a hot item, they will descend on you in mindless hunger to eat out your brains. Not really, they’ll beat you down and snatch it away (the item, not your brain), which is nearly as horrifying.

I simply stay away from major retail outlets during this time. It’s safer to remain hidden until the madness drops to a more usual level, like at Valentine’s Day. Plus, I don’t carry pepper spray, which is now an essential accessory for holiday shoppers. And it’s safer for my car, because loot-crazed consumers on auto-shove mode might park their SUV on my rusting Nissan. It can’t handle that again.


Media Decoder Blogs, New York Times, “On Black Friday, Pepper Spray Carried the Day”, by David Carr, November 28, 2011

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