Opinion: Holiday shoppers, don’t forget the pepper spray

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You just can’t go anywhere these days without being pepper sprayed.

First it was student protesters at UC Davis; then Black Friday shoppers at a Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch.

Forget open-carry gun laws. It’s time for everyone to arm themselves with pepper spray.

I mean, who hasn’t felt a little nervous standing with 16 items in a 15-item express lane at the supermarket? Is the blue-haired lady behind you packing? Is the guy with a 12-pack of Bud gonna wait, or waste your eyes?


And those Carl’s Jr. drive-thoughs -- that’s certainly no place to be caught without pepper spray when there are six cars behind you and your special-order double-bacon-cheeseburger (hold the cheese and onion rings, please) is taking a bit too long to whip up.

You think I’m exaggerating, but the lady in Porter Ranch reportedly went all UC-Davis-campus-cop on fellow shoppers just to nab a cheap Xbox. Imagine if she were hungry.

Personally, I blame the whole trend on two things: the Occupy movement, and rappers and booze.

The Occupy folks are at fault because they’ve made everyone aware of just how bad off most Americans are today. And you know what happens when people get desperate.

Take this Black Friday horror story from a Best Buy in Torrance:

Gisela Avila, 24, had spent the night wrapped in blankets in a lawn chair, not far from the parking lot, where portable toilets were set up. She said that instead of working on a Spanish paper due Monday, she had been waiting in line since Wednesday. She said she had her eye on a 42-inch Sharp LCD high-definition television for $199, marked down from $499, to replace her current 15-inch TV.


See -- newly aware thanks to the Occupy movement that it’s all pointless anyway (and undoubtedly terrified of being pepper sprayed like fellow students), Avila has abandoned her studies in favor of television (but a nice new one, at least).

Who knows how many other Avilas are out there, suffering from pre-traumatic pepper-spray stress syndrome?

Fine, you say. But what’s any of this have to do with rappers and booze?

Well, as The Times reported Friday:

Pitbull, like his contemporaries Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and many others … instead of just making references to the products they enjoy, [are] rapping about products they’re selling.

And the problem with that? Like the pepper-spraying of students and shoppers, trouble follows as surely as ‘tonic’ follows ‘gin.’

Artist-identified drinks are so much a part of club culture now that they are even causing beefs. In an online video released Oct. 1 that quickly went viral, Combs was seen cursing and throwing ice at a Grey Goose-drinking club-goer at a packed nightclub, angry that the partyer wasn’t drinking his brand, Ciroc.


If rich rappers can’t control their tempers -- hey, Occupy folks, I’m pretty sure those guys are part of the 1% now, right? -- what hope is there for the rest of us? I mean sure, it was ice that time, but who’s kidding who -- you think it won’t be pepper spray the next time?

So here’s my advice: If you’re a protesting student, don’t sit down. Also, study more, and watch TV less. Oh, and shop online, but forget the Xbox. Try a book instead. (Also, if you’re in a club and Diddy is there, drink what he’s drinking.)

And get your pepper spray today, just in case.

But maybe buy it somewhere besides a Wal-Mart.


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Violence escalates to shooting at San Leandro Wal-Mart

It’s Black Friday: Spend for your soul

Stuffing ourselves on Black Friday


Hold the turducken

Thanks and no thanks

--Paul Whitefield