Earlier today the headlines read "Violence flares as shoppers slug it out for the best Black Friday deals." Really? Is saving a few bucks on a big-screen TV worth risking your life? Apparently so...
This is one of my "Things that make me go hmmmm..." posts where I wonder what is wrong with humans when we are willing to incite violence over something as petty as a parking spot? How far off is this from the real (albeit fictional) Hunger Games in Panem? Could we be closer than we think to living in this dystopian world?
Let's look at the proof we have:
-In The Hunger Games trilogy, District children between the ages of 12-18 are reaped for the Games, though other children may volunteer to spare a fellow citizen.
-In the U.S., Black Friday shoppers are all volunteers, unless you are dragged there by a friend, spouse, or other family member. In some cases, bribery may be used to sweeten the deal.
Marketing for the Games
-Sponsors fork over tons of money to the Gamemakers to ensure their favored tribute wins the Games.
-Advertisers fork out tons of money to entice shoppers into their stores.
Mad Dash to the Cornucopia
-When the gong sounds, tributes sprint toward the cornucopia and fight over the best weapons and supplies.
-When the doors open, shoppers sprint to the designated displays to fight over the sale merchandise.
The Lone Victor
-Only one tribute becomes a Victor. The rest, of course, die.
-The only Victors on Black Friday are the people who stay home, realizing they don't need to fight to the death over junk they don't need.
Seems to me that our priorities are seriously messed up. At least Katniss volunteered for a noble cause: to save her sister. Any parent who risks their life to get a toy for a child is sending that child the message that the toy is more important than having a parent. And any kid who is bratty enough to prefer a toy over their parent is spoiled rotten doesn't deserve the toy in the first place.
How much more violence will it take for people to rise up and say enough is enough? Considering that it looks like this has been one of the most successful Black Fridays in recent years, my guess is not for a while.
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Classroom Connections: Have your students read about the violence that has occurred on past Black Friday shopping days. Then ask them:
-What could the stores have done differently?
-What could stores do in the future to prevent violent outbursts?
For a math connection: Have your students research the economic benefits of Black Friday shopping. Ask them:
-What would happen to the economy if there weren't sales on Black Friday?
-Would shoppers still buy the items they normally would during a sale? Or would they buy fewer items?
For social studies connection:
-When did Black Friday shopping sales begin?
-What was the reason (or event) that triggered that trend?