Occupy Christmas

International Day of Action – December 25

Archive for the ‘Black Friday’ Category

Black Friday Stampedes

Posted by troublemaker on November 26, 2011

The events listed below have one thing in common. Each involves consumer frenzy, a contributing factor to corporate profit. Even with a very dismal opinion of humanity one would be hard pressed to believe the conduct of these masses is typical human behavior if not for mob mentality. Could it be this type of frenzy is created by corporate retailers for the specific purpose of increasing their bottom line?

Target – North Buffalo, New York – Keith Krantz was pressed to a metal door frame, injured and fell to the ground. The savings were so great, that instead of helping him to his feet and getting him safe from the stampede, shoppers kept on pushing through the door and over his body. The only people who would help were those not shopping. Keith Krantz was pulled to safety by Target Employees. (1)

Wal-Mart – Michigan – A teenage girl was knocked to the floor and walked on in the electronics department of a Michigan Wal-Mart (2)

Wal-Mart – Phoenix, Arizona – In a frenzy over a video game, a boy is trampled. His grandfather, who’d secured the video game, bent down to help his grandson. Police slammed the grandfather to the ground, accusing him of shoplifting. There he remained for some time in pool of his own blood. (3)

Hollister Flagship store – SoHo, New York – Angry that the store did not open earlier, a mob shattered through the front doors, pillaged the store, and ran out the doors without paying. (4)

HEB Plus – Laredo, TX – One woman was trampled, two men were arrested, and fights between shoppers broke out.(5)

Black Friday 2011 is over. We, the consumer, have 364 days to think about what we are going to do in 2012. Will we condone the insanity with our future participation or will we finally choose to ignore Black Friday and Occupy Christmas instead? If love of family is not enough to convince you to stay home next Black Friday, please consider the type of people you will meet there. More importantly, please consider the type of people you might become.

  1. CNN
  2. Michigan Live
  3. Fox Phoenix
  4. New York Post
  5. Pro 8 News

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Boycott Black Friday & Stay Alive

Posted by troublemaker on November 25, 2011

The sun is just starting to show itself on a Black Friday morning. Already, there have been reports of Black Friday related gun fire, shootings, pepper spraying and other violence. In Myrtle Beach, SC police describe what sounds like a robbery outside Wal-Mart. One shopper shot in the leg (1). In Fayetteville, North Carolina, police describe a shootout at Cross Creek Mall (2). In the Kissimmee, Florida Wal-Mart a fight broke out resulting in arrest. (3) In a Wisconsin Toys R Us, a woman threatened to retrieve a gun and kill shoppers who did not take kindly to her cutting in line. (4)

Wal-Mart also seems to be a bed of evil line cutters. Although no gun play has been reported, it seems people in Wal-Mart do not take kindly to people cutting in line. Wal-Mart shoppers have been arrested after cutting in line in both Indiana (5) and Tennessee (6).

What has happened to us? Are we really in such a frenzy that this conduct seems reasonable?

  1. WMBF News
  2. Fay Observer
  3. Orlando Sentinel
  4. CNN Justice
  5. CBS Indianapolis, IN
  6. News Channel 5

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Wal-Mart shoppers Pepper Sprayed

Posted by troublemaker on November 25, 2011

At 10:00 PM on Thanksgiving day, Wal-Mart began its Black Friday sale. The first injuries occurred at 10:20 PM when police say a Black Friday shopper was so determined to get to the savings first she sprayed other shoppers with pepper spray. Twenty people were injured, many of which were injured by those who moved quickly to get out of the way of the pepper spray. Police have been clear that her motives were to keep other shoppers away from the merchandise she wanted.(1)

“Somehow she was trying to use it to gain an upper hand,” police Lt. Abel Parga told The Associated Press early Friday.(2)

Maybe the pepper spray wielding Black Friday shopper stopped at Sears before assaulting shoppers at Wal-Mart. Although you might not believe the irony in this, Sears is offering Saber pepper spray as part of their Black Friday offerings. Was $21.99 but today only $14.89. (3)

On a strange side note, did you know Sears sells parts to build your own AR-15 assault rifle? Chambered in .223 (that’s 5.56 for you NATO types), the AR-15 is the semi-automatic version of the US Military select fire M-16 battle rifle. For some reason, it just doesn’t seem like the type of thing you would buy at Sears. Dish washer, lawn mower, assault rifle, is there a department for that?

“Mil-spec certified 4140 chrome-moly vanadium steel barrel.5.56 x 45 NATO chamber.1/9 Twist.11 degree recessed target crown. WASP coated barrel, including The chamber, bore. Forged M4 upper receiver is T marked and has M4 feed ramp cuts. Semi Auto bolt carrier. – Ship Weight: 5.88 lbs.” – Sears web site (4)

Occupy Christmas heck. If you shop at Sears you can occupy a small country.

 

  1. Detroit Free Press
  2. AP via Google News
  3. Sears – Black Friday sale on Pepper Spray
  4. Sears – AR15 gun parts.

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Black Friday – It’s YOUR boycott

Posted by troublemaker on November 25, 2011

The Internet is a funny place. We have shown you how the pending boycott of Black Friday can trace its roots back at least 20 years with Buy Nothing Day. We have provided commentary tracing historic discontent with the greed associated with Christmas and employers during the holiday season back to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Ah, but because one of the many calls to boycott black Friday had only 1,250 supporters a couple days ago, Fox News seems to have concluded the overwhelming discontent with Black Friday is a tiny dislike.

“LaRocca said that retailers are preparing for a “very busy day” and weekend, and that it doesn’t yet appear the Occupy Black Friday push will turn into a massive boycott. As of Tuesday afternoon, the group’s Facebook page had about 1,250 supporters. ” – Fox News reports

Fox News quotes “the group’s face book page…” (1) as if a lone Facebook page speaks for all of the plans to boycott Black Friday. What Fox News is experiencing is Occupy Blindness which is complicated with a complete lack of understanding when it comes to social media and decentralized protests. This one Facebook page is not the sum total of protesters calling for a boycott of Black Friday.

Even outside of a formal protest, consumers have started to wake up. CNN reports that by far most comments to their online stories have indicated consumers are putting Black Friday aside this year and spending the day with their families.

“But most CNN.com commenters said they would be skipping Black Friday for various reasons.” – CNN (2)

In the end, it won’t be the protesters who cause a change. It will be you, the consumer who heard the protesters but listened to your hearts. This holiday season, Occupy Christmas instead of the department stores.

  1. Fox News
  2. CNN

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Charles Dickens Occupies Christmas

Posted by troublemaker on November 24, 2011

Black Friday is just a couple days away and anticipation is at an all-time high. This year that anticipation is a little bit different. Sure, there’s the almost traditional annual thrill of bargain hunting which will certainly continue. But others wonder what the many Occupy encampments will off up this Black Friday.

“Nearly each one promises some kind of surprise action on the day after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.” – Associated Press via USA Today (1)

Out of operational necessity, the specific Black Friday protests and occupations are a fairly guarded secret. Of course they are. Occupation of private property is at the discretion of the property owner. An encampment in a public park might be concerned about eviction but an encampment in a privately owned parking lot, shopping mall, or Wal-Mart is certainly to meet with much more intolerance. Still, there are some plans made public which I hope retailers will not only allow but get a good chuckle at.

“The 75-person encampment in Boise, Idaho, will send “consumer zombies” to wander around in silent protest of what they view as unnecessary spending.” – Associated Press via USA Today (1)

Others, including the folk here at Occupy Christmas, hope to encourage buying local and spending responsibly. That message seems to be agreeable with the Occupiers in Chicago as they plan to go a caroling with new versions of the old classics.

“In Chicago, protesters will serenade shoppers with revamped Christmas carols about buying local.” – Associated Press via USA Today (1)

We are particularly thrilled to hear about what is taking place in New York this holiday season. When you think of the word protester, do you think of the name Charles Dickens? When you think about A Christmas Carol do you think of Occupy Wall Street or the 99% movement. If you are like most people, probably not. Here is the thing, protest does not have to take the form of flash mobs, sit ins, and drum circles. We can all do our part. That is exactly what Charles Dickens did when he created A Christmas Carol and that’s exactly what is taking place in Rochester New York.

“Across the street from Geva Theatre Center is a small patch of public land called Washington Square Park. For the past several weeks, amid the grass, trees, benches and Civil War veterans memorial, the park has been home to demonstrators representing the “Occupy” movement, protesting what they see as an unfair system in which public policy is rigged to favor the rich.” – Henrietta Post (2)

Thinking on the message of A Christmas Carol alongside the message of Occupy Wall Street and the 99% movement, it is hard not to conclude that Charles Dickens was one of the first people to Occupy Christmas.

 

  1. Associated Press via USA Today
  2. Henrietta Post

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Boycott Black Friday

Posted by troublemaker on November 20, 2011

Huge corporate retailers have decided Black Friday is more important than Thanksgiving (see Thanksgiving vs. Black Friday), but consumers are starting to reconsider the mad dash to after Thanksgiving savings. Even the press has joined in on pointing to the detrimental effect huge retailers create with their Black Friday madness. The call to Boycott Black Friday is no longer confined to Facebook and blogs; it has entered into the main stream press.

“So when Black Friday comes, do yourself — and workers at big-box stores — a favor. Stay at home. You’ll save some money and gas and maybe start to discourage merchants from pushing their workers beyond the edge.” Marlys Harris of CBS News (1)

In another article at CBS News, Carla Fried not only advises skipping Black Friday shopping for family and sanity reasons, but because the hype leads to bait and switch and other tactics to separate you from hard earned cash that you might not otherwise spend.

“Retailers lure you to stand in line at ungodly hours by advertising supposedly great discounts that only the early-risers or Turkey Day shoppers will be able to snag. But those advertised “door buster” deals are notorious for being in very low supply.” – Carla Fried of CBS News (2)

Consumer Reports senior editor Tod Marks agrees, saying: “Very few people are actually the beneficiary of Black Friday deals” (3) USA Today reports consumer dissatisfaction with Wal-Mart’s promotions of items they cannot provide is prolific (3). Sure, they might have a TV at a great price, but when you get to the store you find out it there were only a tiny number of items available and you are left to buy items which are not such a great deal. It is classic bait and switch and Wal-Mart is not the only huge retailer to make such offers knowing it cannot answer the demand. (3)

Times they are a changing. Consumers are starting to rethink manipulative efforts by corporate retailers. The free market is being influenced by free thinkers and huge corporations should be quaking in their feet. We have the power to facilitate change. We can Occupy Christmas.

  1. CBS News on Black Friday and Boycott Black Friday
  2. CBS News – Why You Should Avoid Black Friday Entirely This Year
  3. USA Today

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Thanksgiving vs. Black Friday

Posted by troublemaker on November 19, 2011

“The retailers claim that they are simply responding to consumer demand.” – Ryan Witt of Political Buzz Examiner (1)

Retailers are right. They are simply responding to consumer demand. That is what Occupy Christmas wants to address, “consumer demand”. It is not illegal for Corporate America to cause employees to give up their Thanksgiving in the hopes of generating corporate profit the next day on what has become known as Black Friday. In fact, one could argue that since the consumer promotes this practice with their participation in Black Friday sales, that causing employees to go without Thanksgiving is not only culturally moral but culturally ethical as well. So rather than changing the law to force corporations to respect their employee’s thanksgiving, the goal at Occupy Christmas is to cause people to question their moral and ethical conduct. Instead of sending a message about the importance of Black Friday, let’s send a message concerning the importance of Thanksgiving.

Boycott Black Friday

You can send a clear message by staying home on Black Friday. If you really must shop on Black Friday, avoid large chain stores and especially those identified as placing Black Friday before Thanksgiving. By ignoring Black Friday, you will send a clear message that the new consumer holiday is not nearly as important as profiteers seem to think it is.

Boycott these Stores throughout the Season

Sending a message that you value Thanksgiving over Black Friday is a good start. But what good does it do if you give your money to the worst of the abusers the following Saturday or later in the holiday season. There are certain retailers who should receive an even larger message. Retailers who should be boycotted entirely this and future holiday seasons until they put the community before corporate profits.

Wal-Mart – Perhaps the largest offender, Wal-Mart will begin their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day at 10:00 PM. You will recall Wal-Mart has been responsible for so much Black Friday hype that consumer deaths have taken place in their stores. After an employee death and consumers injured in 2008 (2), Wal-Mart was warned about the dangers of their conduct after a review by OSHA, but that warning did not prevent further Black Friday death during their Black Friday sale of 2010.(3)

Criminal charges were considered in 2010, but reports indicate that Wal-Mart executives simply bought their way out of those charges. USA Today reports a payment of $2,000,000.00 to avoid criminal prosecution (3). Wal-Mart later fought a federal fine of $7,000.00. And yet, their Black Friday sales not only continue but expand. I can only conclude that Black Friday profits are high enough that the fines and lawsuits over consumer and employee deaths are just part of the operating costs. If consumers continue to promote Wal-Mart’s Black Friday frenzy, I can only conclude that consumers agree that Black Friday is more important than employee lives and consumer safety.

Target Corp – Huffington Post reports that over 100,000 people have signed a petition asking Target Corporation not to start their Black Friday sales at Midnight on Thursday (4). Despite the petition, plans for Target to open at midnight continue. It seems clear Target does not much care about people voicing their opinion by petition. We feel it is time opinion be voiced by protest. Boycott Target Corporation this entire holiday season.

Best Buy Co. – Will start Black Friday sales at Midnight on Thanksgiving (3).

Kohls Co. – Will start Black Friday sales at Midnight on Thanksgiving (3).

Bon Ton Stores – Will start Black Friday sales at Midnight on Thanksgiving (3).

Macys – Will start Black Friday sales at Midnight on Thanksgiving. (4)

Toys R Us – Will open at 10:00 PM on Thanksgiving for Black Friday sales. (4)

Enough is enough. Occupy Christmas this holiday season, Occupy your family this Thanksgiving, and boycott Black Friday and these retailers until they allow their employees to Occupy their families as well. We are not asking that these profiteering practices be outlawed. We are just asking that you, the consumer, understand how your conduct affects others and care enough to regulate that conduct.

 

  1. The Examiner
  2. News Day reports death at Wal-Mart on Black Friday
  3. USA Today on the 2010 death at Wal-Mart on Black Friday
  4. Huffington Post on Black Friday Petitions and Boycotts
  5. Huffington Post on Macys and Black Friday

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