• Mon, Dec 9 - 3:45 pm ET

Man Commits Suicide In Mall, Everybody Blames His ‘Shopaholic’ Girlfriend

Man jumps to his death in mall after his girlfriend wants to continue shopping. But is that the whole story?

Every holiday season, there’s always some completely bizarre, ridiculous, or horrifying story involving holiday shopping. From Black Friday stampedes to fist fights over Furbys, these stories typically say more about those specific humans and, perhaps, our society than as a whole than anything relating to the actual holidays. This year, the season’s terrifying story comes from Xuzhou, China, where a man identified as Tao Hsiao jumped to his death after his girlfriend requested that the pair go look at some shoes.

According to the Chinese website Hexun, Tao Hsiao, 38, wanted to go home, but his girlfriend wanted to continue shopping at the Golden Eagle International Shopping Center. The man “demanded” they go home, but his partner said they should check out one more shoe store where a deal was going on. An eyewitness is quoted as saying that that’s when the couple begin arguing:

“He told her she already had enough shoes, more shoes that she could wear in a lifetime and it was pointless buying any more. 

“She started shouting at him accusing him of being a skinflint and of spoiling Christmas, it was a really heated argument.”

Security footage shows Hsiao then dropping the shopping bags he had been holding and jumping off the balcony, landing seven floors below. No one else was harmed, but Hsiao died instantly.

It is obviously a tragic, horrible thing that this man felt compelled to commit suicide, but how often have we all been in positions where we may want to go home, but our parents, partners or friends wanted to stay out? It’s really easy to blame Tao Hsiao’s girlfriend for his actions, but it’s important to remember that mental illness may have played a huge factor in the man’s emotional instability. Perhaps he had an untreated condition and being in a stressful environment caused him to have a breakdown or panic attack. We may have a snapshot of the few moments leading up to his death, not his psychological state in the preceding months.

However, lots of outlets and commenters have been angling the situation in a way that places blame onto the girlfriend. Here’s a sampling of titles and quotes:

You get the idea. Basically, people are insinuating that because his girlfriend didn’t want to leave the mall, she’s why he killed himself.

There are so many reasons people feel suicidal, depressed or anxious; simply blaming one person in their lives, who is not doing anything illegal or violent or particularly wrong beyond being inconsiderate and selfish, does a disservice to the deep, internal frustrations and problems people with mental illness face. Instead, it just brushes off this man’s suicide as being all because of one person’s actions on one particular day, minimizing it as an entirely reactive action rather than complex and impossible to completely understand given its personal, internal nature. And in this case, it turns it into a sensationalized “holiday shopping story” to gawk at while placing blame.

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  • elle

    just no. He did not kill himself over that one argument/not leaving the mall. But surprise! The media is blaming the woman cuz it is always the woman’s fault, am I right? Stuff like this just really burns me up and makes me so angry.

  • Muggle

    The thing with the media and mental illness is, the idiots who write for it don’t know shit about mental illness and think an obvious sign of it is directly caused by the last bad thing to happen to that person. That’s so far from true. There was so much more going on with this guy, the argument was either the Last Straw, or he was really emotionally unstable to begin with. You’d think that’s pretty obvious, but no, apparently the common rabble just wants an unfunny, sexist joke about how much women love shopping and how much men hate it.

  • LouLou

    whoa, wait, what?? this is one of the most bizarre stories I’ve ever read. This guy had a girlfriend, money, time to shop and then just drops his bags and kills himself? There has got to be a hefty background that we’re not aware of. Suicide doesn’t just happen because someone is bored

    • CrazyLogic

      Agreed. There had to have been a trigger. Or he was planning it beforehand.

    • Hm.

      What if he didn’t have money but a huge debt because of her excessive shopping.

  • adamfox

    The internet is what you make of it. Sometimes it just seems like it’s a breeding ground for exploitative angling of tragedy. Every single story about this event should start with “well obviously there’s a lot more going on here than we know at the moment” but I guess the story wouldn’t have spread like wild fire if it did. That’s okay when there’s genuine moral debate going on. Here it’s just a load of misogyny BS.

  • http://www.joshuaissac.com/ Joshua Issac

    Psychological abuse doesn’t become OK just because the perpetrator is a woman and the victim is a man.

  • Prestone

    Article written by a female slanting the story in a way that makes the man seem mentally ill, who’d have thought.. Your editor is really irresponsible for allowing you to post this.

  • The Girlfriend Is To Blame

    @Samantha Escobar

    Yeah, your article assumes that the girl was innocent or at least not share any blame at all. Which means to say that the blame should be place on the man because ‘clearly’ he has a mental illness.

    All speculation on your part.

    You go and have a Chinese girlfriend and I am willing to wager I will see your name in the newspaper saying you committed suicide, misandric bitch.