How I imagine people getting good deals when shopping before the holidays — researching stores online, finding out about sales, getting coupons, and even getting up a little early to go to a store that is having an early morning sale. How I don’t ever imagine people getting good deals but what one person unfortunately did this holiday season — pepper sprayed people in the face to get the video games she wanted.

At the Walmart in Porter Ranch, the pepper-spraying incident occurred when a woman doused fellow shoppers with the spray as people were grabbing for Xbox video game consoles, police said.

The suspect was able to pay for her purchases and leave the store before police arrived, authorities said.

I am intrigued by this for a number of reasons. I am flabbergasted by the fact that people were so pre-occupied by their own selfish shopping needs that not a single person noticed that other people were getting sprayed with pepper spray in the face — or, even worse, that people noticed but failed to do anything about it. Moreover, the security guards in charge of keeping the store safe and the people monitoring the security cameras of the store also failed to take notice of this heinous crime.

I am also puzzled by the fact that the woman had no qualms with spraying people in the face but felt that it would have been going too far to actually steal the video games. It is always interesting when people follow a moral map that leads them astray in some areas while keeping them on track in others. Perhaps she justified spraying people with pepper spray by telling herself that at least she was not going to be stealing the games.

The only redeeming aspect of this story is the fact that the unnamed woman turned herself into the authorities, most likely out of remorse. I would imagine that the people who were the victims of her zealous shopping spree would be at least interested in an apology from her if not some kind of compensation — though I suppose that kind of thing would be unlikely to happen. One can always be hopeful, however.


  1. It’s a sad story. I do think that Pepper Spray and Tasers have now found a mainstream niche — the example is set by law enforcement. Every young woman I knew 20 years ago had a can of pocket-sized Mac in her backpack in NYC. Now, I expect everyone to have their own Taser for use at any time they feel the need to express their wants in the crowded public square.

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