One of the perks to no longer working in news reporting is that I don't have to get up at oh-dark-thirty in the morning, covering the latest edition of the Black Friday Bacchanalia.
That's not to say I don't tune in, though ... this year, I was watching NewsWest 9/Telemundo's Victor Lopez do the ... uh ... honors of bringing us live coverage of Black Friday in the Tall City, talking to people who had spent the past 10-hours-or-so outside a local electronics store, and hearing their plans for an even-more-serious encampent next year.
By the way, don't get me wrong here ... Victor is an outstanding writer, reporter and producer, and NewsWest 9 was doing an admirable job covering what has become an annual news event.
My gripe is with the story itself ... and what it might say about us. We have all heard how bad the economy is nationwide ... yet, if the national news reports are any indicator, it appears that our response to the economic news is not to re-trench and make do with what we have (as our grandparents did during the Great Depression), but to go out and buy newer, bigger, better.
Or am I reading this story wrong (wouldn't be the first time), and it actually says something positive about us? What do YOU think?
I will note, though, that - at the very least - local reporters did not have the opportunity to report two stories that inspired the title for this post. In the case of one, I hope they never have to. In the case of the other, I'm hoping that they will, someday.
There was this story from the Associated Press about "The (tragically) Ridiculous" ... police are reviewing surveillance video in an attempt to identify who trampled to death a Wal-Mart worker after a crowd of post-Thanksgiving shoppers burst through the doors at a suburban store and knocked him down. Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers stepped over him and became irate when officials said the store was closing because of the death, police and witnesses said.
On the other hand there is this story from KARE-TV about "The (simply) Sublime" ... hundreds of people packed into the Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul with one goal in mind: reclaiming the holiday season, to take back Black Friday as the beginning of the Christmas season that has some different values to it.