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Dose of respect needed when dealing with others

According to a story featured on both CNN and Yahoo! Web sites, a man was killed, trampled by a mob of people storming a Wal-Mart on Long Island in New York, a result of Black Friday sales. Eyewitnesses said the crowd took the doors off the hinges to get inside the store before it opened officially at 5 a.m. The man’s death occurred as the mob stormed the store.
In this day and age, in a time of crisis and economic disasters, it’s understandable that many people ‘ and perhaps many more than usual ‘ got up early to seek the best deals for the impending holiday season. But to think, literally, the greed of a crowd cost a man his life is simply unconscionable.
I, too, braved crowds at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Corydon, splitting up with my husband, Dan, for a tag-team search and rescue of the items we wanted. More than trying to get good deals, it’s also kind of fun to get up early and go shopping, to scope out the store and to feel a sense of accomplishment knowing money was saved without giving up on getting good gifts. In fact, the crowd of people I mingled with Friday morning was helpful, happy and talkative. There was a plan devised on how to get everyone the product they wanted and if any poor soul should wander down the aisle with a look of confusion, the people I stood with were more than happy to point out what products were where and how many they thought they saw. No elbows were thrown when 5 a.m. rolled around, though it did get a little hairy trying to make a hasty retreat in the midst of dozens of empty carts. Still, the people here were friendly and helpful.
What if they hadn’t been? What if the crowd here had turned as bloodthirsty and greedy as the one in Long Island seems to have turned? I’m sure there were many innocent people standing in line in front of that Wal-Mart, but when people started tearing the hinges off and breaking down the doors, how many of them stood up to stop the crowd? How many of them bum-rushed through the doors anyway?
Perhaps the most glaring detail coming out of this story is that after the employee was trampled, when he was trying to be saved by other employees and medical personnel, people were still clamoring to get inside and get their carts full.
We need to remember this scene not only during this holiday season but the ones to come. If we take time to be friendly, to treat others with respect and to see the world as greater than what can fit into our shopping carts, we can, in a small way, keep the spirit of the season alive. What’s more important that that?