Wal Mart Black Friday Blood Sports: There’s An App for That
Move over jealousy and hatred, there is a growing cause for injuries and deaths reported across the country, and these hospital and mortuary bills stem from greed. But more specifically Black Friday shopping greed; the midnight after Thanksgiving when grown men and women fight, stab and shoot their way to getting a $99 flat screen plasma TV and a $5 Tickle Me Elmo. According to The Seattle Times a whopping 37 percent of Americans will shop on Black Friday; that’s one in three people nationwide. When retailers project their Black Friday marketing campaigns to desperate consumers it has the effect on some that pouring a pint of blood into a shark tank would have on the ravenous fish. And while people are chomping at the bit to get a discounted Xbox, they are famished for the latest updates on the biggest sales of the year.
Deaths and Injuries
On November 28, 2008 Wal-Mart employee Jdimytai Damour was trampled to death by frenzied consumers. Considering the company made $466 billion in sales the previous fiscal year, the $7,000 fine handed down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was mere peanuts. But five years has passed and Wal-Mart still has yet to pay up. In fact they spent significantly more money fighting the charge.
Then a deadly game of Red Rover consumed a Wal-Mart that same year in which a 34 year-old employee was trampled to death. Just Google “Black Friday deaths and injuries” and the stories keep piling up: in 2012 two people were shot at a Tallahassee Wal-Mart over a parking spot on Black Friday, in 2011 Target shoppers stampede Walter Vance to death, and dating back as far as 2006 the stabbings, pepper spraying and sucker punches from crazed Black Friday shoppers have risen. If you have been attending boot camp regularly and have racked in the hours at the gym, you may be agile and fit enough to participate in a deadly game of “shop, punch and run”. But what storefront is the right one to pitch your tent and establish temporary residence to ensure you are one of the first 100 consumer gladiators to enter the store or receive a shopping pass? Relax, there’s an app for that.
Black Friday Mobile Users
According to a study by the technology protection services firm Asurion, 49 percent of Black Friday shoppers use their mobile devices for shopping and tracking the latest news surrounding the biggest Black Friday deals. Available for iOS and Android, Shopular sends updates including latest promotions, price changes and Black Friday deals in and outside of retail stores. User sentiment is huge, as the app covers over 40,000 locations nationwide. Covering even more locations at over 70,000 and featured by CNBC and the ‘San Francisco Chronicle’, Zoomingo keeps Android and iOS equipped “savings-famished shoppers” plugged in to the hottest Black Friday deals with live updates through news feeds and an online community where users review over 1,000,000 deals. Then there is PoachIt available for iOS that allows users to track prices all year long and during Black Friday sales events. The app praises itself as the “largest coupon-validating database on the Internet” cutting through invalid discount codes guaranteeing valid working coupons to secure the best deals. During Black Friday consumers can watch and track their desired items offered at various stores, and when the price is right they can jet to Best Buy, fight the masses and poach that washer/drier combo marked at 70 percent off.
When Shopping is a Blood Sport
Let’s face it, events that happened eight years ago have finally taken a toll on our current economy, and some people can’t afford a PS3 or desktop computer at full retail price as a result. And some of these people are perfectly happy spending several days of their life gathering Black Friday sales intelligence and formulating plans by studying a store’s layout and determining where their target items will be kept. Elbows will fly, the pepper spray will mist and bones will break. But someone will get a tablet at 40 percent off and will run howling into the parking lot waving it above their heads as if they just singlehandedly sacked Rome. Calling Black Friday shopping a “blood sport” may cause some eyes to roll, but consider this fact: since 2006 more Black Friday shoppers have been injured than Spanish matadors fighting 1,800 pound bulls, and that’s no BS.
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