Recipe for vi­o­lence on Black Fri­day

Easy Does It

The Advance of Bucks County - - WORD ON THE STREET - Ge­orge Robin­son

So how bright was your Black Fri­day? This ca­sual ques­tion put to a good friend a few days af­ter Thanks­giv­ing brought forth a hor­ror story that had all the in­gre­di­ents of end­ing badly in vi­o­lence and in­jury.

For­tu­nately the chance meet­ing of two women in a Lower Makefield su­per­mar­ket park­ing yard ended with a wise re­treat by the el­derly lady who backed her car out of a hand­i­capped park­ing space un­aware some­one else was back­ing out of the op­po­site lane on a near-miss col­li­sion course that would end in bit­ter con­fronta­tion.

Mean­while, con­grat­u­la­tions to all the lucky sur­vivors of Black Fri­day. I hope you came away from the tur­moil of your af­ter-mid­night shop­ping spree at the mall and else­where with­out a scratch. May all the but­tons on your coat and elec­tronic de­vices still be at­tached as a bonus to sur­vival mode.

Loyal reader and friend Pat (not her real name) is a wit­ness to melt­down mad­ness in a “what’s go­ing on here?” moment.

Why do so many peo­ple wel­come the op­por­tu­nity to be com­bat­ants in th­ese early hol­i­day shop­ping wars at Toys Are Us or Bruises for the Ask­ing or Stam­pedes for Fun and Profit?

They do it be­cause of the brag­ging rights of suc­cess­fully sur­viv­ing the early hol­i­day may­hem to meet the chal­lenge of vic­tory in the gift-buy­ing com­bat zone. Now for that moment of truth, when vic­tory de­pends on sur­vival over ad­ver­sity, what­ever the pur­chase, with cir­cum­stances spin­ning out of con­trol in lines too long and pa­tience too short.

Here’s the sce­nario Pat wit­nessed in the park­ing lot that un­folded be­fore many wit­nesses. It all be­gan with the sim­ple act of park­ing two cars, then es­ca­lat­ing into a ver­bal con­fronta­tion be­tween good and evil, a hu­man drama wor­thy of all the sus­pense and mys­tery of a TV thriller turned real, and rapidly es­ca­lat­ing into threats and the very real dan­ger of vi­o­lence.

Wars usu­ally be­gin over a sim­ple thing. A threat that car­ries weight but no sub­stance, spo­ken when ten­sions are run­ning high and stretch to the break­ing point, and reach­ing com­bus­tion at an un­rea­son­able level.

Here’s what Pat wit­nessed in that su­per­mar­ket park­ing yard. An older woman in a car in a hand­i­capped park­ing spot slowly backed her car out never notic­ing a younger woman in a reg­u­lar space di­rectly op­po­site the hand­i­capped area throw­ing her gear into re­verse at the same time.

The older woman con­tin­ued in re­verse. Sud­denly notic­ing that she was go­ing to be hit by the younger woman, she leaned on the horn. Re­al­iz­ing she was go­ing to be hit, she shot for­ward, re­turn­ing back to her spot. Brakes squealed out­side and yelling and curs­ing from Miss Young.

Con­fused by the con­tin­ued horn blow­ing, the hand­i­capped older woman stopped her car in the mid­dle of the is­land and just sat there not know­ing what to do.

The young driver threw open her door in an un­con­trolled rage and be­gan yelling pro­fan­i­ties as she ad­vanced to­ward the older woman’s car.

On­look­ers yelled at the young woman, telling her “it wasn’t cool do­ing that,” and she “had bet­ter stop and get con­trol of her­self.”

The woman with the mouth fi­nally gave up, af­ter re­mark­ing loudly that “the hand­i­capped woman should stay off the road.” Still mum­bling to her­self, she re­turned to her car. Ev­ery­one breathed a sigh of re­lief.

It seemed to Pat and the other ob­servers “Miss Young was the one who should stay off the road.”

Some­one ob­served, “She’s known in the store to have a bad tem­per.”

“The irony was in her rush to get away from the store,” Pat said, “lead­ing to rude and crude man­ners and rant­ing and rav­ing that didn’t save her any time at all.”

The young woman’s stri­dent voice car­ried all the way to the store where two mar­ket em­ploy­ees looked up from their du­ties.

“What’s hap­pen­ing?” one of them asked his buddy.

“Yeah, what’s go­ing on?” the other wanted to know.

Pat filled them in. “Th­ese two em­ploy­ees should have told their man­ager to calm the sit­u­a­tion,” she said. “If that didn’t work, then call the po­lice to break up such a silly and need­less dis­play of tem­per. It was ob­vi­ously abuse of the el­derly.” What would you have done?


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