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Keep things in perspective on Black Friday

It is almost that time of year again, where shoppers will flock to retail stores before the sun comes up so they can begin their holiday shopping. Many places will offer their best discounts of the year to entice customers to come into to their store.

The tactic is seemingly very effective. People often show up days in advance to line up outside the store, hoping to be the first to cash in on the multiple bargains. On Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday of last year, the total sales for all stores reached $12.3 billion dollars, according to CNN Money.

Bargain shopping is a useful skill to have, especially during the holiday season, and there is generally nothing wrong with buying Christmas gifts for loved ones.

What is wrong with Black Friday is the violent outbursts from shoppers that are reported in multiple states every year. There are usually a variety of reports of arguments, fights, stabbings and thefts at retail stores across the country. In 2008, a 34-year-old employee in Long Island was trampled to death by a mob of shoppers. No, that’s not a typo – a grown man’s life ended beneath a stampede of people who were racing each other for cheap Christmas gifts. Four others were injured in the same incident, including a woman who was eight months pregnant at the time.

The deaths and injuries that occur are typically isolated incidents, as there are bad apples in every crowd, but something about this annual spectacle feels wrong. Maybe it’s because of Thanksgiving, and the fact that society observes an entire day of thanks and appreciation, only to follow it with criminal behavior less than 24 hours later.

The recurring themes of the holiday season revolve around charity, peace and good will, and there is no possession worth a life.