The NYT writes about “the annual Black Friday insanity”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/business/29black.html?_r=1&hp:

bq. A 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee was killed, the police said, after being knocked down and trampled by a wave of shoppers who broke down the doors of the store at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, N.Y. Several other shoppers were hurt, including a 28-year-old pregnant woman who was taken to the hospital, police said, after the stampede occurred just after 5 a.m.

In lighter news, there’s plenty of stupid people:

bq. “I’ve been doing this for 17 years; this year, it feels smaller,” said Tracey Darwish, 37, who was waiting in line at the Wal-Mart in Columbus to buy Madden ‘09, the football video game for PlayStation 2, for $39, marked down from $59. Ms. Darwish said that in the past she would “spend thousands of dollars on Black Friday” – even withdrawing money from her retirement account.

She waited in line for Wal-Mart to open to buy Madden ‘09 for $39. Yet anyone can go to Amazon and buy it “for $39.99”:http://www.amazon.com/Madden-NFL-09-Playstation-2/dp/B0012N40A0/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=videogames&qid=1227895680&sr=8-2. But even dumber, she takes money out of her retirement account to buy Christmas gifts. What an idiot.

This woman is “cutting back” by buying an electronic corkscrew, because when times are tough and you’re unemployed, opening a bottle of wine can be unbearable with the non-electronic corkscrews:

bq. Rosemary O’Brien, 55, of Newport, R.I., glanced over the selection of silver-wrapped electronic corkscrews at Bloomingdale’s, retailing for $39.99. She said that she was trying to cut back after her business, Freedom Yachts, recently closed.

And she’s betting on not having to pay the bill:

bq. “I am paying a lot with credit cards, and I’m hoping the banks go out of business and I won’t have to pay them back,” Ms. O’Brien said.

In other words, she’s hoping that all banks go out of business, not just her bank. And Americans wonder why they’re all in debt and can’t get ahead.