This is a classic example of herd mentality, succinctly illustrating how people are influenced by the behavior of their peers. If you need a clearer example, look no further than the Black Friday shopping phenomenon that wonderfully demonstrates America's descent into the abyss year-after-year.
While the term originated to indicate the time when retailers began to turn a profit each year ("in the black"), it is clear that many would now associate it with something more sinister. Stampedes of aggressive shoppers pushing, shoving, and trampling fellow bargain-hunters are now all too common on the day after Thanksgiving. Although assaults, stabbings, and shootings are rare, even rarer are displays of courtesy and respect. Indeed, if all this lack of decorum revolves around a simple shopping experience, then God help us all when the next plague comes knocking.
|"...the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist."|
~Lord Of The Flies
Intolerant anti-shoppers like me watch from our TV screens in awe and guffaw, but that voice deep inside is really wondering, "WTF?" or at least, "When will this be a pay-per-view event?" This year's defining sound bite featured a man clearly agitated as the mob pressed forward loudly warning those around him, "Push one of my kids and I will stab one of you motherfuckers!" Happy Holidays.
I won't argue that they aren't deals to be had on Black Friday. I'm just not convinced that driving for hours or waiting in line for longer to save a hundred bucks would place you in an enviable spot in the gene pool. Even more dubious was the guy who camped out for four days and four nights boasting about the $400 he was going to save on a flat screen TV, smiling like he knew something the rest of us didn't. The last time I checked, time did have some value, but apparently not to those with a thick brainpan. As for the mobs (in flu season, no less), unless you're an opportunistic frotteur, I doubt the benefit is worth the risk. Too many palm-coughers and freestyle sneezers for my liking.
If consumers are using Black Friday to get a early start on their Christmas shopping, it's a shame that their civility towards each other can't also start as early.
Oh, the humanity!