Wreck the Malls: Trampling People At Christmas

In the spirit of Christmas, I offer you more joyful words about people trampling others to death at the shopping mall as they seek out their perfect holiday gift

A Black Friday holiday shopping frenzy at a Walmart

Back in November, a reader and friend, Ric from Montreal read my November 27 post about people getting trampled at a Target store near Buffalo, N.Y. and wondered why this seems to happen at big stores but not the little ma and pa places.

A main reason seems to go back to our time as hunters and gatherers. Our cavemen and women forebears would understandably hoard stuff they needed like food  if they perceived a shortage was coming.

Big retailers are good at creating a perception of scarcity. They tell us there’s only a few items we really want left, and you can only get them by showing up at 4 a.m. on a cold November Friday morning.

Instinct almost takes over these frenzied shoppers, so they rush without thinking to get that scarce item. And if the less fit among the crowd get trampled, oh well. Most of the trampling shoppers probably aren’t heartless, but their  logic has left the building.

These stores don’t make any money on these big sale items. In fact they probably take a loss. But now they have an irrational crowd of hunters and gatherers in their store. These hunters and gatherers grab everything they can find, because that’s the mode they are in.  The “famine” is coming, so they must stock up.

Who cares if what they grab is overpriced? And useless.

By the time these cavemen, er, shoppers realize what they’ve done, they’ve already bought the item and are on their way home.

I don’t think all this happens at little ma and pa stores because the owners of these retailers don’t have the resources, time or desire to set up the sales frenzies.

I also wonder if the big corporate retailers are in a hunter and gather frenzy of their own. They sense of scarcity of shoppers, so they create a situation where they dan “hoard” shoppers. It’s probably the same reason their advertising begs, pleas and cries for us to shop there, or Christmas will be ruined.

For them, not for us, but they don’t mention that part.

Do you think any of these theories make sense?

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