Friday, November 28, 2008

Man dies in the name of saving money, living better

Thanks to my husband Jordan for the heads-up on this one.

In a Wal-Mart store (where else???) in Long Island, NY, a 34-year-old employee was knocked down by some lunatic customers and suffered a heart attack. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The shoppers also injured a young pregnant woman, although luckily, according to doctors, she and the baby are fine. Three others were injured as well.

When the shoppers were told that a man had been killed and they would have to leave, the angry customers yelled that they'd "been in line since yesterday morning" and kept right on shopping.

This is how our culture prepares to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Wal-Mart insists "the safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority." Pardon me if I'm skeptical. If that were Wal-Mart's top priority, they would hire extra police officers and/or security for crowd control.

Save money. (Save lives.) Live better. Stay home on Black Friday.


TuTu's Bliss said...

This story has made our entire family sad. My husband and I will be donating to a family that has just lost their family to cancer instead of exchanging gifts. The man was only 34 and a trust has been set up for the seven children. Afterall, do we really NEED a 50 inch plasma?

ng2000 said...

Valuable resource of wal-mart news summaries:

Cheryl Lage said...

What a tragic story. :(
Sadly, I have to blame the people involved, not the establishment. The sheer volume of people that go to WalMart increases their probability of such horrific events happening.

My guess is that other locales today will have a sad plenty of similar stories to tell, but the animosity toward WalMart tends to increase the coverage. (To clarify: No one in my family works for WalMart...we've frequented our local WalMart since our children's birth (they're now 7) and our kids (and I) are on first name basis with SOOO many of the workers there...many of whom I have interviewed with guaranteed anonymity to ascertain their "real" feedback...ALL of them I spoke with -- 100% of them (I talked to about 15) -- enjoy their jobs and felt they were treated fairly. Only 2 of those I spoke with have left the store in that 7 years. Maybe ours is a-typical, I don't know.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean this to turn into a diatribe. The people who work in our WalMart just hold a very special warm place in my heart. Ultimately, I think it's PEOPLE that need to take responsibility for occurences such as these, good or bad. It's easier to blame institutions or corporations or the truth, there are just ugly, greedy, selfish individuals...everywhere. :(

Off soapbox! Will say a prayer for the families who suffered loss today...and for the reminder of what should be important this season.

Anonymous said...
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Jenny said...

Cheryl, you're right--Wal-Mart can't be blamed for the actions of its customers. What makes me mad is that there are evidently deals good enough to make people hurt others. I wonder how much money those people saved. Wal-Mart did, in fact, try to close when this happened and the greedy shoppers refused to leave. One of them even took the liberty of videotaping the poor man with her cell phone as the police tried to save him. I just can't imagine how I'd have felt if that had been MY husband. (Angry, for one.)

I dislike Wal-Mart for other reasons--not the individual employees, as most of them are fine people and I've had several friends who worked there. It wasn't until I started working in a small business that I realized what Wal-Mart does to it. We get all kinds of ugly comments from people, such as "the prices in here are ridiculous" and "once you have a baby you'll see you don't need half the crap in here" and "you can go down to (insert store name) and get the same thing for less" (untrue, btw). It's the worst for my friend Kelly who works in the late afternoon. People must think we're making a fortune because of our prices, but that is not the case. We mark our items according to the wholesale price, and our prices are generally a tad lower than MSRP. Companies often set minimum retail prices to protect their retailers and the integrity of the brand.

Jordan and I were actually happy six or so years ago when our local Wal-Mart opened. We went there all the time because we enjoyed shopping late at night. We are in an area with a fairly popular football team, and people love to buy licensed collegiate items from the little shops in our downtown area. The owners of those shops were so opposed to the new Wal-Mart because they thought it'd drive them out of business. Jordan and I disagreed because the things they carried didn't seem like things Wal-Mart would have. We were wrong. As soon as the new Wal-Mart opened, what did they have but a whole special ROOM full of licensed collegiate items. Pretty much anything you could want. What's more, Wal-Mart buys in such huge quantities that they get a much better deal and can offer a better price than a mom-n-pop business with one cash register. Most of the downtown shops are still there, but I'm sure they felt the pinch. I know some shop owners who aren't making any money at all and are just fighting to pay their rent. If you save your money and diligently work at something day after day, you deserve better than to be ridiculed and eventually driven out of business.

Didn't mean to make that so long! The important thing is that everyone remember this and maybe next year the stores will be more careful with controlling the crowd. And even more importantly, I just pray that shoppers will refocus their hearts on what is really important at Christmas, and will be more considerate of others. Or maybe even do without their 50" plasma altogether.

Cheryl Lage said...

I absolutely get what you are saying Jenny. My aunt in Oklahoma has run a baker's supply store for decades and WalMart has really cut into her business...she has had to go more "specialty" which is actually turned out to be good for her business. When people get irritated with "exorbitant" prices, ultimately, I think (once again!) it's the consumer's naivete...certainly no fault of the business! When a product takes time and energy to create (and vend) it is entirely the merchant's right to charge what they wish...even if it's higher than MSRP, if you ask me! ;) In most instances, there will be a clientele that appreciates -- and actively seeks out -- the quality...although in this economy, it is more challenging.

Don't get me started on the 50 inch plasma! ;) UGH! My husband is in advertising for an electronics company and guests to our home are always agog when they visit and discover not only do we not have a flat screen, our TV is only (oh, the horror! ;) ) 32"! (I have no iPod, resent the necessity of a cell...etc!)

Despite our slightly divergent opinion on WalMart, I think we are pretty similarly minded! You have my respect, Sister!

(and I have NO idea why Sarah might have thought she was going to jail....I'm assuming something will "come out" later today! ;) )

Have a great weekend!

Vicky said...

I briefly blogged about this too. I don't like what I saw happen in the world and close to home this past sad.