For many families, the Thanksgiving Day celebration doesn't end with dessert or the last play of the last football game.
Just check out the lines outside shopping malls and stores before midnight or 4 a.m. or whatever time they'll open tomorrow with their door-buster specials. The day after Thanksgiving starts early with shopping that can be part competition, part entertainment and a way to get ahead in preparations for Christmas gift giving.
Last year, conditions got completely out of hand. A temporary worker at a Walmart on Long Island, N.Y., was killed when stampeding shoppers in search of bargains broke through a glass door, knocking him down and running over him. Others who tried to assist Jdimytai Damour of New York City were injured. It was not the first time that shoppers have been injured in their quest to save money.
Black Friday, indeed. The designation is supposed to be driven by a high volume of sales and signify the day when retailers' balance sheets go from red to black as they make a profit. For its part in last year's tragedy, Walmart avoided criminal prosecution, paid $400,000 to the victims and donated $1.5 million to community programs, as well as instituting a safety plan for the future.
It's not too much to ask retailers to be responsible and to anticipate that, when they offer 50-inch, flat-screen televisions for less than $600, people will line up to try to purchase them. It's just as reasonable to expect shoppers to behave themselves, be patient and courteous.
The day after we celebrate our connections around the dinner table, we should not conduct ourselves as if Mom hadn't taught us any manners at all.