NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Black Friday took a turn for the worse this year as shoppers in stores around the country resorted to fighting, shooting and even pepper-spraying their way to the most coveted deals.
The violence began even before Thanksgiving was technically over. Moments after a Walmart in Los Angeles opened its doors at 10 p.m., one woman reportedly used pepper spray on at least 20 customers – some of whom were children – to keep them away from the discounted electronics she planned to buy.
Ten customers at the store endured minor injuries from breathing in the pepper spray, according to the Associated Press, and the woman in question has yet to be found. The rest of the crowd continued to shop.
As if the pepper spray incident weren’t bad enough, shoppers elsewhere in California had to contend with something even more frightening: an actual shooting.
A man was found shot and bleeding in the parking lot of a Walmart in the Bay Area just before 2 a.m. The man and his family had apparently been the victim of an attempted mugging, as “several” people with guns tried to take the family’s purchases by force.
Meanwhile, police in Fayetteville, N.C., reported gunshots fired near the food court of a local mall at 2 a.m., but no injuries were reported.
And then there were the fights – after all, what Black Friday would be complete without the fights?
In Kissimmee, Fla., two men fought at a jewelry counter at a Walmart, and one of them had to be dragged away by the police, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Other customers captured videos of shouting matches in line, skirmishes in stores and showdowns between shoppers and protestors affiliated with Occupy Wall Street and put them up on YouTube.
Sadly, Black Friday violence is nothing new, though the actual number of injuries this year seems higher.
In 2010, one shopper in California was arrested for carrying a handgun and ammunition to stores and another was arrested for threatening to shoot those in line, though neither actually hurt other customers.
Then, of course, there was the infamous stampede at a New York Walmart on Black Friday three years ago that resulted in the death of one employee.
Moral of the story: sometimes it pays to shop from home.