Thursday, February 10, 2005

Bargain Hunting, Anyone?

Psalm 55:9-11 (New Living Translation)

“9 Destroy them, Lord, and confuse their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city.
10 Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city.
11 Murder and robbery are everywhere there; threats and cheating are rampant in the streets.”

Bargain hunting anyone? I read a short news piece this morning from “This is London” and was partly amused, partly troubled. The story recounted a shopping riot. That’s right, a shopping riot. And, incredibly the riot took place in Great Britain, the bedrock of western civilization, customs, and civility.

Read some of the description of what happened on the “grand opening” of England’s largest Ikea store and I’m sure you’ll feel the same bewilderment I did when I read about it:

“Up to 7,000 flocked to the Edmonton store lured by adverts promising huge discounts, including £45 sofas and £30 bed frames, to those who bought before 3am. When the main doors opened 40 security guards were overwhelmed and crowds pushed through, leaving people pinned to the wall or trampled on the ground.

Security guard Gerard Visagie said "I have never felt so threatened. It was madness. A guard next to me was punched by a customer. He had his jaw dislocated. People were punching and kicking me and screaming. We were under siege.

Paramedics said they had feared a disaster. An ambulance service source said. "I thought it could be another
Hillsborough. It's a miracle no one was killed."

Video footage showed shoppers fighting over furniture - one man was pinned against a wall by a burly customer as they argued over a sofa - while others were stretchered into ambulances.

After 30 minutes the store was closed, staff holding up signs written in marker pen against the glass doors to announce the fact. The crowd refused to disperse and some tried to smash their way in.”

Nancy and I occasionally shopped at Ikea’s store close the Newark International Airport when we lived in New Jersey and never had to deal with anything like this. This was more than a food fight; this was a full scale riot. And what was it all about? Sofas and beds and dressers and nightstands. Incredible!

Ah, Great Britain, genteel and staid, civilized and right-thinking, what has become of you?

Some have seen it coming. Peter Hitchens, brother of Christopher, described the decline of Britain in his book “The Abolition of Britain.” A brief excerpt follows:

"The two Britains which faced each other in April, 1997, were utterly alien to one another and unfairly matched. One was old and dying, treasuring values and ideas which had stretched back into a misty pat. One was new and hardly born, clinging just as fiercely to its own values of classlessness, anti-racism, sexual inclusiveness and licence, contempt for the nation-state, dislike of deference, scorn for restraint (my emphasis added) and incomprehension for the web of traditions and prejudices which were revered by the other side."
An insignificant incident, you say? I say this is a part of a greater whole. When people are willing to do violence to one another in order to buy a bargain sofa I believe we’re in trouble…..big trouble!


Tom Reindl said...

Actually, and I do not mean to sound judgmental, I only state the facts, but Britain's past isn't all that sterling, either. Everyone seems to want to remember the stoic Britain of World War 1 & 2. But riots and lawlessness are not new to Britain, by any stretch.

You could go back seventeen hundred years, and still find very few instances where Britain dealt honorably with foreign nations and their imperial lands. So to me, the idea of a nation full of class wouldn't necessarily be Britain. That's just my two cents. Good hope to you, Phil, as always. :)

Sanctimonious Hypocrite said...

I think this is significant. When the English stop lining up and waiting their turn, something has changed dramatically and for the worse. Not because they're no longer a nation of classy people; They never were, as Mr. Reindl correctly notes.

In America, people will stop at a stop light in the middle of nowhere, at night, and wait for it to turn green. If people began to honk and drive through, as I've heard is commmon in some other countries, that would be a change of similar magnitude.

Tom Harrison