Column / David Smith: Black Friday wasn’t for the faint of heart

Column / David Smith: Black Friday wasn’t for the faint of heart


The news about Black Friday was coming fast and furious as news outlets reported fights among shoppers for parking spaces and electronics. Merry Christmas, everyone!

One video showed two women wrestling on the floor and the sudden flash of a Taser.

You should know that when you’re getting ready to go shopping and decide to pack a Taser that perhaps you should rethink that decision.

It used to be that you’d tell someone heading out your door to drive safely, not pack a weapon. Nowadays, that warning message has gotten a bit longer.

“Drive safely. Call or text me every 15 minutes to let me know you’re OK. Pack a Taser. Grab a can of mace. Don’t forget those brass knuckles. Wear a good pair of running shoes, and for goodness sake, avoid eye contact with the other shoppers!”

Go online and take a look at the Twitter messages about people fighting over tablets, televisions and various other goods. It makes you wonder where the holiday spirit has gone. So much for peace and goodwill toward men.

I read that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration even issued guidelines for retailers on how to reduce the odds of workers getting hurt in a melee.

So let me get this straight, government agencies are planning for fights and stampedes. That seems crazy.

I guess it’s no wonder that there was a police shooting in Illinois on Black Friday. Two suspected shoplifters were trying to get away in their car when they started dragging a police officer bent on stopping them. It seems the suspect closed the door of his car and the officer’s arm got stuck.

Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t officer training focus on not getting attached to cars that might suddenly speed away?

Anyhow, other officers on the scene fired and wounded the driver in the arm as he drove across the store’s parking lot. That was either a case of exceptional marksmanship, or that suspect, and the police officer, are incredibly lucky.

Thankfully, neither the officer nor the suspect was seriously injured. Three suspects were eventually arraigned and the officer was treated for a shoulder injury.

The good news is that the store did not close as a result of the shooting in its parking lot!

“Keep moving people. There’s nothing to see here. Toasters have now been reduced in Aisle 3! C’mon, move along.”

If I worked for a retailer and a fight broke out, I would step back and call security. I don’t believe my salary would be enough for me to risk life and limb. Besides, I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for another shopper trying to get a hold of that last laptop whose price was drastically reduced. One of the shoppers might just have a Taser.

One comment from a store clerk noted that she and her fellow employees brought two shirts to work on Black Friday. One was the company uniform and the other was a dress shirt. She said that she would never make it out the door after her shift ended if she didn’t change her shirt. It must have been in a warmer climate, because a coat should have worked just fine.

As usual around here, there were no major problems to report. Perhaps we are just a bit calmer.

Some shoppers sat in their cars with the heaters blasting waiting for stores to open on Thanksgiving night, while shoppers at other stores waited in line. Those waiting in heated cars need to toughen up a bit if they want to run with the big dogs on Black Friday. Where’s the honor in sitting in a heated car?

I do want to give kudos to that man who gave up his spot at the front of a line for only $80. He was quoted as saying that he came to the store to hang out with his friend and initially intended to just look at the bargains and see if anything appealed to him.

“What I need is not that important,” said the philanthropist. “I like to help people out when I can.”

I like to help out my fellow man whenever I can, too, but they usually don’t pay me $80 for saving a spot in a long line. I’m sure he that donated at least $10 of that windfall to the bell ringer in front of the store.

Perhaps Amazon has it right. It recently announced plans to use drones to deliver packages. The company says it could possibly deliver those much-needed items within a half-hour.

Geez. Forget the lines. Have some alien device hover over your house alarming all the neighbors.

What could possibly go wrong with using drones to deliver packages?

I know, the times, they are a-changin’, but what happens when these drones crash, are shot down by an idiot with a shotgun, or the merchandise is stolen?

Will the sky soon be filled with drones delivering pizza and other takeout? What will the birds think of sharing the sky with drones?

I’m just trying to keep the Christmas spirit alive the best way I know how, drones or no drones. And that doesn’t include fighting over merchandise. I’ll leave that to someone else.

David Smith is the editor of The Sun’s weekly publications. This is his personal opinion. He may be reached at

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