The Thanksgiving feast has been cleared away and family members have retired for the night. For some though, the night has only begun. Black Friday for many people in the United States is a time of anticipation, excitement, and little sleep. The promise of early bird specials on a bevy of products from TVs to DVDs lures customers to spend hours, and even days, waiting in line outside of big box retailers to get their share.

With that mounting anticipation are some very real dangers to the public’s health. In 2008, a Wal-Mart employee was fatally injured when an impatient crowd of shoppers surged through the doors and trampled1 him. Jdimytai Damour, 34, a temporary worker hired for the holiday season, was pronounced dead later at a nearby hospital. Unfortunately, Damour was not the only one physically injured by the holiday craze.

Tensions also hit the breaking point a few days ago in San Antonio, TX, where a man allegedly pulled a gun2 on another man who punched him in the face while waiting in line at Sears. A couple walking into a Wal-Mart in Covington, WA were hit Thursday night by an SUV driven by an allegedly drunk3 71-year-old man.

Black Friday madness has brought out the worst in people. Saving 100 dollars on a laptop is not worth it if I have to trample someone, punch someone, or wait in line for hours in the November cold while worrying whether I will even get the item I want. People have really lost sight of the meaning of Thanksgiving. Instead of spending money on material things we do not need, how about we spend time with our loved ones.  Instead of being thankful for getting the last 51” LED TV, how about being thankful for having a roof over your head and food in the fridge. Millions of people around the world lack even these basic necessities.

All I know is, I am not risking my health and well being for a stinkin’ TV.