Pathetic Wal-Mart DVD player debacle illustrates greed

OThis staff editorial originally appeared in The Pitt News at the University of Pittsburgh.

On Black Friday, shoppers in Florida set a new low for disgusting consumerist behavior.

Wal-Mart was offering DVD players for less than $30. Shoppers lined up early that morning, awaiting the 6 a.m. opening. As an alarm sounded signifying the start of business, the first person in line, a 41-year-old woman, was trampled. She lost consciousness and had a seizure.

Wal-Mart, in a stunning display of wrongheaded “care” for the victim, offered to hold a DVD player for her until she is well enough to come to the store and cough up the cash. A Wal-Mart spokesperson told The Associated Press, “We are very disappointed this happened. We want her to come back as a shopper.”

Nowhere has Wal-Mart expressed concern for the victim’s health. No sympathy was even offered. Their main concern: getting her back as a shopper. How obscene.

Wal-Mart likes to maintain a wholesome, folksy image, despite being a corporate behemoth. They refuse to carry music with racy lyrics for fear of being offensive. What could possibly be more offensive than a woman getting trampled?

For the most part, the woman’s fellow Wal-Mart customers were oblivious. They continued in their mindless mass grab for the cheap electronics.

What a pathetic indictment of the American materialist mindset. Human beings stomped on another human being all in the name of a good deal.

Everyone involved ought to be ashamed. Everyone who scored a DVD player that day should feel sick every time they watch a movie. The mob mentality leading to this human disaster is an embarrassment.

Christmas has, for the most part, transformed into a secular holiday for better or worse. Still, divorced of its religious significance, the holiday is supposedly about love and caring, giving and being kinder.

The Wal-Mart debacle proves that Christmas is no longer infused with even general goodness. It demonstrates that the only thing that matters, in many minds, is stuff. Americans are drowning in stuff, and now, apparently, we are willing to maim each other all in the name of a little more stuff.

As sad as it seems, Wal-Mart should have foreseen a little chaos and been prepared to deal with dollar-grubbing, bargain-crazed shoppers. Of course, they should not have expected the revolting display they got, but a little mindfulness over bargain-basement pricing could have prevented such a hideous incident.