I know the economy is crappy and I don't fault anyone a single second for doing whatever it takes to get a good bargain. It's pretty sad, though, to hear about people getting pepper-sprayed and trampled or dying people being ignored because the good deals won't stay on the shelf for the people who aren't the quickest. "Whatever it takes" should have some limits sometimes, or we'll live in anarchy. I do fault the people who are violent or mean or whatever.
But honestly. I fault the stores for setting up these sorts of madhouses. Set up an insane level of competition between people, and no one should be surprised when it turns nasty. How about a ticket system or say that at random times during the day, three of x product will be available at a secret/random location in the store? Spread the crowd out a little. THINK about what other people will do. As parents of toddlers, we've had to do this forever... consider the grumpy/tired kid and YEAH, set some limits, have some laws. But structure your environment, too. Wal-Mart and friends need to think about that. Mobs are strange sorts of things and it takes just one nut in the bunch to set things off.
I'm not hearing much about people cutting back this year. People have already cut back for a couple years running, most of them, so I think we're at a new normal now. Some families I know are really hurting, charities are tapped out and their children will get no Christmas. Go ahead and tell me Christmas is supposed to be about God coming to the earth, salvation, love, and all those things. I will agree with you. But parents have to cut toys and Christmas items out before rent, you see. People are still losing jobs. I'm worried about some of my friends, how about you?