Good news this year as the Wal-Mart Shopping Season revved into high gear on the Friday after the Macy's Day Parade: Although there were plenty of police-on-shopper beatings, shopper-on-shopper violence, and in-store tramplings, at least no one died this year, as did Jdimytai Damour, a Wal-Mart temp employee, when he was trampled to death by a bargain-frenzied crowd in 2008. (Well, actually, Walter Vance of Charleston, West Virginia, did die in a Target store this year, but that was from a heart attack and at least it didn’t impede any of the other shoppers, who just stepped over him and continued scooping up those half-price Cars 2 videos.)
Shopping: The Most Dangerous Sport is a relatively new phenomenon, but now Scientists and Financial Experts have an explanation: It’s just a manifestation of The New Prosperity! Yes, Americans—especially Americans without jobs—are rethinking their options, and redefining their values, such as the importance they’ve placed on things like food, clothing, and shelter. “Let’s get off this hedonic treadmill!” they cry, as they go to live in a cardboard box outside Penn Station. Scientists at the Ministry of Prosperity say that if we just redefine our terms, everything will be fine. Poverty is Prosperity! War is Peace! Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Who wouldn’t pepper-spray another person for the chance to buy a $2 waffle iron?