Why is it so many go crazy when something is given away either free or a discount with limited quantities?
Have you ever been to Costco at lunch time on Sunday? The crowd isn’t gathered around the cheese counter for no reason. Nope, they’re all looking for their free slice of cheddar. Two aisles over there’s another crowd getting two sips of a natural energy drink. But hey, it’s a free lunch. Right?
Years ago, when my kids were young we attended the opening of a neighborhood community center. As we entered the greeter told us city management would be giving away bike helmets to kids shortly. Since my young children were learning to ride I thought we’d get in line for a helmet. At the appointed time we got in the line but suddenly there were people pushing and shoving to get ahead of us. We stood there as long as we could until an old lady with a walker pushed in front of me causing my daughter to cry. I told the kids that was enough and hanging on to their little hands we escaped the melee. All that for a helmet that would only fit a six year old?
Every year we hear stories of craziness at the opening of Black Friday sales. People are often crushed and injured in their desire to save an extra ten to twenty dollars on a television, video game, or even blender.
So is it any surprise that things got out of hand as residents gathered to sign up for reduced rent apartments? Everyone wants to be first. No one wants to be left out.
In Columbus, OH a church opened their space to allow residents access to shelter while filling out applications to a new low rent housing project. Instead of calmly waiting their turn several of the people wanted to be first and tried to get ahead causing a ruckus that was only resolved with police attention, including mace.
Is it because we are human and resort to our animal like nature? I was reminded of post tsunami Japanese who, despite complete trauma, stood quietly in line waiting for emergency supplies of food and water. Instead of pushing and shoving they maintained decency, each waiting his turn. If these people could react in such a civilized way, are we in the US somehow teaching that being uncivilized is tolerable?
Update: The video doesn’t seem to be working in Internet Explorer. Here is a link to the web page: 10TV.com