Black Friday: The ‘Holiday’ With A Death Count

Black Friday has now come and gone, and although I’m writing this story on Friday, I’m willing to bet at least one of tonight’s leading news stories will be about a Walmart hit-and-run, a shopping mall stampede, or a Kohl’s parking lot brawl. It happens every year—someone flips the switch and casual bargain hunters suddenly transform into blood-thirsty werewolves ready to fight anyone who stands between them and that “free” $100 Target gift card with purchase of regularly priced iPad Air.

It’s tragically comical. So much so it has brought us the truthiest meme of all memes:

The madness—and I mean diagnosable madness—over Black Friday has reached such epic levels of pandemonium that the website Black Friday Death Count actually exists. Those examples I tossed out above? I didn’t make those up. They’re all taken straight from the timeline of deaths and serious injuries cataloged by a site wholly dedicated to documenting Black Friday carnage. What’s funny is that I had to scan through it a couple times to find the non-Walmart related bloodbaths.

Black Friday Death Count

Seriously, Walmart, when are you going give up the charade of humanity and come clean about who your customers really are? They don’t respect early birds. They surely don’t respect waiting lines. And they certainly don’t respect each other. No, they respect Wrestlemania, the High Striker game at the county fair, and “Faces of Death.” It’s time to ditch the civility of first-come-first-served Black Friday lines, dear Walmart, and instead host WWE Hell-in-a-Cell-style tournaments to determine black Friday winners! You know, sanction the beatings. Just imagine how stoked your customers would be if they could watch free fighting AND save $400 on their next flat screen TV. You’re welcome. has been tracking shopping-related deaths and injuries since 2006, even though the unofficial kick-off to the Christmas shopping season has been a tradition for decades. The nickname “Black Friday” actually dates back at least to the 1960s, when police officers would use the term in reference to the traffic jams and mobs of people crowding the sidewalks in and around shopping centers. (Eventually, the retail establishment was able to spin the once-negative connotation into a positive term reflecting the time of year when merchants would move from the red to the black on their balance sheets.)

Today, family Thanksgiving traditions often include buying a 10-pound paper stuffed to the brim with ads and planning out an early Friday shopping route. They coordinate their plan of attack and position people strategically throughout various parking lots and waiting lines.

If we haven’t reached the point yet when these plans need to include an emergency response action plan—or at the very least, self-defense training and a can of pepper spray—the time is coming. After all, it’s the only quasi-holiday that I know of that has an official death count.

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