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The Worst Black Friday Ever - Dropoff and Death in the U.S. Retail Industry

Death of Retail Binges and Death of Retail Employee Made 2008 Black Friday Worst

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Updated November 23, 2012

More than $10 billion in sales were rung up on Black Friday 2008, according to the mall traffic watching company, ShopperTrak, which was a 3% increase over Black Friday 2007. This Black Friday turnout defied the dire predictions of most experts. And while that alone should have made it a good day, Black Friday 2008 ranked high on the "Worst Days In Retail History" list.

The tragedy of Black Friday 2008 could be easily recreated in any year. It can also just as easily be avoided forevermore.

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What follows is the article that was written about the worst Black Friday in U.S. retail history. An annual re-reading of this article as part of the Black Friday rituals of every consumer in America will remind us what the spirit of the giving season is - and isn't - about. We owe it to ourselves and to our society to remember what happened that day...

In place of retail momentum in the 2008 holiday shopping season, the U.S. retail industry had mayhem. A temporary Wal-Mart employee was trampled by shoppers who were so desperate for Black Friday bargains that they didn't notice they were stomping on a human being under their feet. I can't remember too many sentences I've hated to type more than that one.

If anything that we sell as retailers or purchase as consumers is more important than life itself, then the global financial crisis is the least of our concerns. No matter how desperate we all feel on both sides of the retail equation right now, I want to believe that as buyers, sellers, Americans, and human beings we all have a better set of values and priorities than this.

It's not like the last truckload of edible food in North America was delivered to the Long Island Wal-Mart on Black Friday before dawn. Someone would have to work hard to convince me that the acquisition of a low-priced plasma television could ever be justified as a life or death matter.

Collectively, it seems that we need to stop and take a breath. We owe at least that much to a 34 year-old man who left his Thanksgiving dinner to go directly to a temporary hourly wage job, and didn’t make it back home alive.

If we're going to do any purchasing on Cyber Monday, it should be to buy ourselves a copy of "It's a Wonderful Life." It might do us all good to pause and realize that we are all starring as George Bailey in our own real-life drama. Like George, we may have lost control of our life as it unravels around us, but also like George, we get to choose whether we curse the broken staircase spindle or kiss it.

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