This Exists, and It Says Something Sad About America


Happy Black Friday, everybody – ’tis the season to celebrate unabashed commercialism, hailing that great deity capitalism. Just a few hours after giving thanks and gorging on piles of food, Americans race to the nearest big box stores to get piles of cheap consumer goods.

And what better way to celebrate that consumerism than with a running total of the death toll resulting from the frenzy of Black Friday?

I present to you – the Black Friday Death Count. keeps track of every death and injury occurring on Black Friday since 2006. So far? Four deaths, 67 injuries.

Because what kind of celebrated shopping day would it be without a death counter? And if you’re thinking “Only four deaths since 2006? That doesn’t sound so bad,” well that’s exactly the problem. Black Friday is built up into this crazed event so we expect there to be injuries, even deaths. It’s supposed to be cutthroat, that’s the whole point. We anticipate the stampedes. The petty disputes that escalate quickly are old hat. Black Friday wouldn’t be Black Friday without a dash of danger.

Why can’t we all chill out? Black Friday can be a beautiful thing. I love cheap TVs as much as the next guy. And there’s something truly surreal about standing in a checkout line for an hour at 3 a.m. But please, leave the pepper spray at home.

Unfortunately, this year doesn’t seem to be going much better than recent Black Fridays.

Maybe next year, there won’t be any deaths or injuries. Maybe Black Friday shoppers will learn to coexist peacefully. But I wouldn’t count on it.