The Great Debate

The scientific explanation of why people kill each other over TVs on Black Friday

By Laurence Ashworth
November 23, 2014

Shoppers rush for televisions at a Target store in Chicago

What causes people to kick, shove and even stab each other on Black Friday?

Each year there are reports of violence during the Black Friday sales. Last year, in Philadelphia – the City of Brotherly Love, no less – two families fought until one of the women ended matters with a stun gun. In a New Jersey Walmart, a belligerent shopper had to be pepper sprayed by police. And in Virginia, one man slashed another with a knife in an argument over a parking spot. This year, there are sure to be similar cases.

Think holiday shopping’s ‘soulless?’ This Japanese trend can fix that

November 21, 2014

A woman walks past an image of lips at a department store in Tokyo

The times when Black Friday and Cyber Monday were one-day events are long gone. Data from search engine giant Google show that close to 90 percent of shoppers have turned these days into “mini-shopping-holidays,” rather than one-day events. But the Japanese, known for turning shopping into a fine art, may be pointing the way to yet another new trend in shopping.

The retail price of America’s income inequality

By Caitlin Kelly
January 20, 2012

Retail is considered one of the bright spots in the American economy, one of only six job categories projected to grow nationally through 2018. But a survey released this week makes clear that many of these are jobs in name only, offering poverty-level wages, highly restricted access to benefits, part-time work when full-time is desired, and a workforce so cowed that it routinely accepts working conditions that make work-life balance, or the chance to upgrade skills and move into better-paid work elsewhere, all but impossible.