By: Bianca Aponte González
Millions completed their ecstasy state of mind on the recognized consumerist event known as Black Friday on November 29, 2013 when the clocks marked 12:01am. Puerto Rican economic crisis has been reflected on this event do to the selfish behavior, lack of respect, anger and violence people present just to get their hands on an object that claims to be at an attractive price scale. Richard Rentas co-manager at WalMart Mayagüez Mall says, “there was no discipline, everyone fought for their own well being and forgot any sentiment and any value for their human neighbor at the store.” Through the pulling, pushing and walking over people this event is categorized as dangerous. Walmart Mayagüez Mall has been preparing its employees for two months of anticipation for this night. From exercise drills for natural disasters to keep safe in case of emergency this quantity of people inside to nine online tests that serve as modules, “our organization has been efficient,” says Rentas. Walmart had 34 officers in total distributed around the panorama of the event, prepared the aisles with much open space and took out the articles mostly looked for and well organized them to facilitate the process for the consumers. Rentas specified that only five aggressive incidents occurred four outside the store and one inside, no ambulances where required. Rentas says, “ I was impressed with the chaos, it gets worse every year”. Rentas has been co-manager for five years at Walmart Mayagüez and this year he explains has been the one where more employees have worked and more preparation has been established. For the second sale that starts at 10am employees organized while clients where inside the store “that was mission impossible” says Rentas.
The latest Index of Economic Activity (GDB) reveals two consecutive positive results month on month growth for the months of September and October. Meaning the rate of growth, (which is the comparison of a month this year with one of the previous year) which had been negative for several months, stabilized in September and October because the index grew. “This is good news because the index was shrinking consistently month after month and this did not occur, we’ve seen that we have had two consecutive months in which the index rebounded, ” said economist Juan Lara to El Nuevo Día. This was good news for stores having Black Friday sales and during Christmas season. This might be an explanation for the multitude of people buying mostly unnecessary items on Black Friday.
Omar González Viera, a consumer on black Friday at Best Buy San Juan, says he is a college student with no job and is in desire of buying entertaining items for a lower price, “I don’t see the need to fight for items but I feel the necessity of saving money on sales people who are here have.” His father Antonio González, who is currently unemployed says, “I never thought I would be a part of this mess, but I’ve saved up a little to buy my boy a new laptop.” González Viera shares his story when he went to Black Friday a few years back and expresses it wasn’t this aggressive but he remembers he thought of people as “drunks” for their unstable behavior.
At Walmart sales people where searching mostly for plasma televisions, tablets and laptops. The price established on these products where the original manufactured prices but they are a cheep brand “we will only sell on that day some of these products are not part of our regular inventory,” says Rentas. People are blinded by the price advertisements publish and forget about the quality of their purchase and how long the object will work until they have to get a new one.
Gabriela Ortiz, costumer at Macys San Juan, says Puerto Rican economy only gets worse by people buying at USA stores where the money made here goes to the main land leaving us with nothing and making them richer “some think that by simply buying at any store they are helping…I’m only here to buy some clothes and see if its really worth this chaos”. Lawyer Annette González Dávila says, “People are obsessed consumers they spend money buying on this day that they really shouldn’t spend just because they think they are saving money when really saving money is the opposite, I’ve never gone to a Black Friday sale.”
Black Friday is an event where people camp, pass thanksgiving night until midnight in line from multiple hours of anticipation they usually bring beach chairs and coolers for storage of food and liquids and go accompanied by family and friends. Many find it absurd to go through this, but some claim they are doing it to save great quantities of money. Usually is like a competition and everyone gets aggressive and does anything for their advantage. González Dávila says, “It’s the most ridiculous situation, people act as animals.” At Walmart Mayagüez one of the incidents was when a man punched a woman for a plasma television worth $98; she didn’t give it up. Psychologist Astrid Morales says, this woman doesn’t have self value, she represents domestic violence because she’s ok with the fact that she got punched in the face by a man over a television but is still proud she kept it and went on with her life. People at black Friday experience some kind of euphoria after buying their desired item, like if they have accomplished something important.
They spend their thanksgiving celebration on a line to spend their money on unnecessary objects. People are going crazy thinking that buying stuff on a sale is more important than spending time thanking God for their families and health. That’s part of the problem says Stephen G. Post, Ph.D. Professor at Stony Brook University School of Medicine in an article for The Huffington Post.
Well, one of the perks of being a millionaire, or just having self-control turns out to be you don’t feel the necessity some feel to go to any of these events because of your desire to save massive amounts of money by exposing yourself to danger. You can save yourself the bad experience and read about how chaotic it turns out to be the next day on the news.
People at Walmart Mayagüez Mall after opening doors. Photo by: Richard Rentas
People at Walmart Mayagüez Mall before opening doors. Photo by: Richard Rentas