November 28, 2011
Black Friday White Hats
Black Friday has come and gone, leaving us with hilarious stories of pepper spray and near riots over deals on shit you probably didn’t think you even wanted. Can you believe the chaos over a $2 waffle iron*? Of course not. Who eats waffles that often? I probably wouldn’t take one for free.
One of the darkest stories comes out of South Charleston, West Virginia**. While Black Friday shopping, a 61-year old pharmacist (it’s always important to identify someone by their occupation) collapsed in a Target from a heart attack and fellow shoppers just walked by and some stepped over him. The typical reaction to this story has been along the lines of shock and outrage that nobody did anything. “How could people be so heartless as to simply walk past a dying man and continue shopping?” “What have we come to as a society?” “Where are the Good Samaritans?”
Hey, at least these people were considerate enough to not step on the man. Do you remember a few years ago when a Wal-Mart worker was trampled to death***? I think we’ve made some improvements in our civility when the man on the floor isn’t turned into a puddle. Stepping over is a huge improvement over stepping on.
Besides, some nurses who happened to be shopping did stop and did try to help the man. What I want to know is, what the hell was the rest of the holiday shopping mob supposed to do for the guy anyway? Think about it. What would you have done were you there? Movie Tagline: He got a deal...on a body bag.
Do you know CPR? If I do, are you confident that your CPR knowledge would be helpful? Let’s say you answered yes to those questions, you still have to consider that in this litigious society, if you failed to help resuscitate the life of a fallen shopper or maybe you revive him but accidentally injure the man somehow, you might wind up in the middle of a lawsuit****.
So, what would you do? Go get help? Fine. You need one person to get help, one person to stand there and make sure further injury doesn’t happen. What do you want everyone else need to do, crowd around the guy in a large circle thus delaying the help?
This is where I go back to when I was a kid and wanted to help my Dad with some project around the house. When I’d ask what I could do to help, the response was typically, “You want to help, stay out of the way.” It’s always a good idea to make way for the people who know what to do.
Think about how you are while stuck in a mile long traffic jams because everyone just has to slow down and take a gander at an accident on the side of the road? The victims are probably having their agony extended because the ambulance can’t move around the sea of rubberneckers are just being Good Samaritans making sure everything is okay, right? Your heart isn’t warmed. You’re probably screaming at your windshield, “WHAT, YOU’VE NEVER SEEN AN ACCIDENT BEFORE? GO!”
The same should be true outside of the car. The right thing to do is follow the advice of the old Irish cop in the cartoons, “Nothing to see here. Move along. Nothing to see.”