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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

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Shopping is not a contact sport, people.
Shopping is not a contact sport, people.

Black Friday: The ugly side of America

If I was a fundamentalist Islamic terrorist who hated the United States and I was faced with questions about why I had such deep-seated hatred, I wouldn't have far to go.

I would just point people to Black Friday.

If there was ever a scene of ugly, out-of-control, materialistic greed it is Black Friday, and the videos that accompany it, playing hour after hour on the news channels.

The United States has great moments. When we reacted to the Challenger disaster. When we mobilized to help after Hurricane Katrina. When we stand for our National Anthem.

But then we have Black Friday, with crowds camping out and lining up to get into the neighborhood Walmart or Kmart or Stein Mart. We see the doors open and the crowd of cattle surges forward, shouting and grabbing everything in site.

People in pajamas and costumes. People pushing shopping carts that are much more dangerous than your average bumper car.

This is the ugly side of America. It has unbridled greed, disregard for personal safety, willful violation of rules and intolerance for others.

If that really was what America is about, I'd be tempted to be a terrorist, too.

Talkbacks

devidia | Nov. 30, 2011 at 11:45 a.m. (report)

Well said, Dave. It makes me sick and ashamed when I hear about crap like the pepper spraying incident and I believe someone was shot somewhere, too. All over idiots fighting over a deal in a store somewhere, spending money that they don't have and some of them probably haven't paid their rent in months, either. Black Friday has become ridiculous and I'm proud to say that I usually have to work the day after Thanksgiving. And even if I didn't, I would certainly not participate in that insanity.

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mikeb | Nov. 29, 2011 at 7:20 p.m. (report)

I'm not a fan of Black Friday and I especially dislike its intrusion on Thanksgiving Day. I'm not sure it bothers me nearly enough to become a terrorist though.

I get the attraction that people have to this day. There are a ton of good deals out there and if money is tight I can sympathize with getting in line to grab the stuff.

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gwanes | Nov. 29, 2011 at 4:39 p.m. (report)

36274 I actually agree with the sentiment in this blog about empty, materialistic greed and general consumerist stupidity in the U.S., but in the fourth paragraph, Begel lists "standing up for the national anthem" as a great moment in American history -- now that's just ridiculous -- but he also suggests that the U.S. "mobilized" in response to hurricane Katrina ... uh, that didn't happen. The U.S. government left thousands in NOLA for dead. Maybe Begel means something else, something slightly related, like individuals *trying* to get water and supplies to people in the storm's aftermath -- or something, but not possibly that the U.S. "mobilized." That's not just ridiculous, but a lie.

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brewcitypaul | Nov. 29, 2011 at 12:36 p.m. (report)

I agree. A friend recently pointed out the irony between Thanksgiving...a day when we are grateful for what we have to be followed by Black Friday..when we go our and splurge on items many do not need or can not afford.

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