Black Friday shopping gets a little spicy in Los Angeles

posted at 12:00 pm on November 25, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Why do we buy presents for each other at Christmas?  To express our feelings of love and appreciation, and to celebrate with joy the season in which God gave us our greatest gift.  In what manner can we best exemplify those qualities?  In Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, one shopper took an odd approach this morning:

Matthew Lopez went to the Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch on Thursday night for the Black Friday sale but instead was caught in a pepper-spray attack by a woman who authorities said was “competitive shopping.”

“Competitive shopping” … otherwise known as “assault and battery.”  Not that the mysterious attacker was alone in the gladiatorial approach to shopping, either:

Lopez said customers were already in the store when a whistle signaled the start of the Black Friday sale at 10 p.m., sending shoppers hurtling in search of deeply discounted items.

Here’s a hint to retailers everywhere.  If you want your customers to behave in a rational and dignified manner, don’t treat your store like a football field with 1,000 different teams playing all at once.  If you do, then this is probably the inevitable result:

Lopez said that by the time he arrived at the video games, the display had been torn down. Employees attempted to hold back the scrum of shoppers and pick up merchandise even as customers trampled the video games and DVDs strewn on the floor.

“It was absolutely crazy,” he said.

Another customer said screams erupted after about 100 people waiting in line to snag Xbox gaming consoles and Wii video games got into a shoving match.

It was about this point when the pepper spray got deployed:

“People started screaming, pulling and pushing each other, and then the whole area filled up with pepper spray,” the Sylmar resident said. “I guess what triggered it was people started pulling the plastic off the pallets and then shoving and bombarding the display of games. It started with people pushing and screaming because they were getting shoved onto the boxes.”

The pepper spray wafted through the air, Seminario said, and she breathed some in and started coughing. Her face also started itching.

At this point, the story begins to look a little different.  Instead of a random shopper assaulting calm and polite fellow patrons, a case could be made that the shopper panicked at being in the middle of a store-incited riot, and hit the pepper spray as a defense.  She had two children with her, and might have been concerned about them getting trampled when the shoving started — although what she was doing at a Wal-Mart at 10 pm with two children is another question entirely.  Police did not arrest her, which doesn’t make a lot of sense from the brief MSNBC report on the incident but seems a little more understandable from the LA Times’ report above.

That’s not the only such incident, either. CNN has video of another fight in a Florida Wal-Mart on Black Friday, and reports popping up in other cities as well:

Police arrested a man in Kissimmee, Florida, on a resisting arrest charge after they wrestled him to the ground to stop a fight at a jewelry counter at Walmart around 1 a.m. Friday, CNN affiliate Central Florida News 13 reported.

The other man in the fight was allowed to leave the store, the station reported.

And in Rome, New York, a brawl broke out in the electronics department at a Walmart moments after midnight, CNN affiliate WSTM reported, citing the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office. Two people were taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries, the station reported.

Decades ago, I worked in retail on four or five “Black Fridays,” including two at Sears, and it was a grueling experience — but nothing like what happens today.  Stores encourage this kind of combat shopping with limited-time loss leaders, silly deadlines, and now whistle-blowing to release the Kraken, as it were.  Rational people don’t put themselves through these conditions to find a couple of cheap deals, and the spectacle makes a mockery out of the entire reason we shop for gifts at this time of year.  I’m pretty certain that the message of the season isn’t “Every man for himself!”

We need to step back from panicked consumerism and reconsider the entire Black Friday concept.  The love of family and friends does not rely on getting a cheap Wiii or a bargain price on a flat-screen TV, and if it did, it would hardly be worth the degrading experience that it takes to get these material goods.  We are worshiping something else at Christmas than the Lord if this is what we do to celebrate His birth.

Update: The Anchoress writes that she “despise[s] Black Friday”:

I hate the way consumers are urged to haul their Thanksgiving-exhausted selves out to stores — away from family members that have often traveled some distance to come together — so they can surrender their human dignity or assault the dignity of others in order to snag a ten-dollar sweater and a waffle-maker for $9.99.

And I hate the way consumers go along with it.

I hate the way the mad buying and bad behavior is attached to Christmas — the coming of the Christ was meant to set us free, and yet the over-commercialization of “the Holidays” feeds our greed and tethers us to our possessions in a way that can only weigh us down, more firmly, to earthly concerns.

We are not released, only further encumbered.

Indeed.

Update II: You have to love the CBS News assessment of Black Friday as mostly peaceful:

Several violent incidents broke out across the country amid what have been mostly peaceful Black Friday crowds, as millions of shoppers rushed into stores that opened their doors hours earlier than usual on the most anticipated shopping day of the year.

The similarity to media reporting on the Occupy movement is …. duly noted.

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Si! Es muy caliente!

cynccook on November 25, 2011 at 12:03 PM

OT

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,185955,00.html

10 year anniversary of first US KIA in asscrackistan, Johnny Michael Spann

blatantblue on November 25, 2011 at 12:06 PM

We can’t. It’s too big to fail.

tomas on November 25, 2011 at 12:08 PM

I did all my Black Friday (and Black Thursday) shopping online. In my pajamas. While relaxing and drinking a nice cup of tea. I got some intensely good bargains from large well established retailers and they’re even going to hand deliver everything to me right at the front door of my house, at no additional charge.

pfffft … amateurs.

FlatFoot on November 25, 2011 at 12:09 PM

It’s because of this ridiculous behavior that I haven’t set foot outside my house on Black Friday in years. My daughter and son and their families always go shopping on that day, and they tell me stories that make me wonder why on earth any sane person would go out there.

RebeccaH on November 25, 2011 at 12:09 PM

a fight at a jewelry counter at Walmart around 1 a.m.

This statement has the delicious ability to get funnier every time you read it.

BobMbx on November 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM

This is very OWS…what is the Why stuff…duuuh why

tomas on November 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM

It seems that it’s only a few stores that have this problem. They should be taken to task for better crowd control. Many other retail chains are able to function without the need for the police.

People enjoy Black Friday – I don’t but lots do.

gophergirl on November 25, 2011 at 12:11 PM

FlatFoot on November 25, 2011 at 12:09 PM

That violates the commerce clause in so many ways……

BobMbx on November 25, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Any word on how the “Occupy Black Friday” movement is doing today?…..I didn’t think so.

vcferlita on November 25, 2011 at 12:12 PM

a fight at a jewelry counter at Walmart around 1 a.m.

This statement has the delicious ability to get funnier every time you read it.

BobMbx on November 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM

You owe me a new (deeply discounted) flat-screen monitor.

Ed Morrissey on November 25, 2011 at 12:12 PM

I am taken back to Ann Coulter’s description of mob behavior in her book “Demonics”.

Amendment X on November 25, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Black Friday Violence™ shows us how far we have fallen from our founding principles.

Bread and Circus: Keep em’ fed and keep em’ entertained and you can do anything you want to them.

NickDeringer on November 25, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Feliz Navidad

repvoter on November 25, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Meh. No worse than the Oklahoma land rush.

Seth Halpern on November 25, 2011 at 12:17 PM

We are worshiping something else at Christmas than the Lord if this is what we do to celebrate His birth.

I wonder if the Three Magi got their gifts at the very first “Black Friday” bazaar…

JetBoy on November 25, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Decked (in) the store from bouts of folly…

karl9000 on November 25, 2011 at 12:19 PM

That violates the commerce clause in so many ways……

BobMbx on November 25, 2011 at 12:11 PM

pssst … i didn’t pay one cent in sales tax on a single purchase to boot. i saved hundreds of dollars on that alone since i bought several ‘big ticket’ items. i will not declare the unconstitutional “use-tax” on my california state tax return for these out-of-state purchases either. shhhhh … don’t tell anyone. it’s a secret.

FlatFoot on November 25, 2011 at 12:19 PM

BobMbx on November 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Heh.

BallisticBob on November 25, 2011 at 12:19 PM

I would disagree that stores encourage this kind of reaction. That would be like saying 7-eleven’s encourage flash mob theft because they sell munchies.

The problem here is society itself- or, at least, the subset of the society- that accepts, encourages, or participates in this type of behavior. You could put a battalion of Marines outside the doors for hours awaiting the opening for deeply discounted and limited body armor, and you wouldn’t see this type of behavior. Why? Because they’re taught better. And they have respect for other human beings and property. The animals taking part in these various incidents, do not.

This year though, we have have the added volatility of the “bit*h about everyone that has more than your do” mentality, with the endorsement of the POTUS for such deplorable action, and Black Friday is likely to turn into Black December.

BKeyser on November 25, 2011 at 12:20 PM

a fight at a jewelry counter at Walmart around 1 a.m.

Why am I suddenly hearing that in my head in Jeff Foxworthy’s voice, followed by, “You MIGHT be a redneck!”

Sekhmet on November 25, 2011 at 12:20 PM

a fight at a jewelry counter at Walmart around 1 a.m.
This statement has the delicious ability to get funnier every time you read it.

BobMbx on November 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM
You owe me a new (deeply discounted) flat-screen monitor.
Ed Morrissey on November 25, 2011 at 12:12 PM

And I notice the ad before the Wal Mart fight is for K Mart. Ahh the irony is so rich and thick.

Amendment X on November 25, 2011 at 12:21 PM

The nuts on the LA City Council, blocked Walmart from opening any store in the city.

Blake on November 25, 2011 at 12:25 PM

You owe me a new (deeply discounted) flat-screen monitor.

Ed Morrissey on November 25, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Apologies.

“But Marcia, its not my fault I have to buy another [monstrously large] monitor…talk to Bob about it”

BobMbx on November 25, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Life imitates art cinema and TV.
.
I’ll bet there is a segment of the population that goes looking for trouble on Black Friday, just because they enjoy the rough and tumble of… rough and tumble. Barbarians.

ExpressoBold on November 25, 2011 at 12:27 PM

I don’t shop at all on Black Friday, but we don’t have that kind of thing. Here it is more about sending home made cards, so the craft stores are pretty busy. Here we have a great meal together. I like to go outside of the city to see the Northern Lights after.

Ed, aren’t you busy packing or something? Posting while packing the sunscreen?

pabo on November 25, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Seems to get more violent every year out there. As I said previously, I’ve only done this kind of thing once. And never will again. There’s something to be said for shopping online. I’ll leave it to the rabid vermin to kill each other for a videogame.

JetBoy on November 25, 2011 at 12:29 PM

What! I missed the jewelry sale at Walmart!

VBMax on November 25, 2011 at 12:30 PM

I would disagree that stores encourage this kind of reaction. That would be like saying 7-eleven’s encourage flash mob theft because they sell munchies.

Of course they are. They’re creating false shortages and time-limited loss leaders to promote them, two marketing strategies that are designed to generate panic in consumers. That’s not an accident.

Ed Morrissey on November 25, 2011 at 12:31 PM

“There were way too many people in a building that size. Every aisle was full,” he said. Customers were stomping on photo frames and other items on the floor, said Poulose, who tried to protect his pregnant wife from the throng of shoppers inside.

I have written a black friday self deffense book specifically for men protecting their pregnant wife. It has one chapter titled: Stay Home, Idiot.

12thman on November 25, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Ed, aren’t you busy packing or something? Posting while packing the sunscreen?

pabo on November 25, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Mostly packing on Sunday. Thanks for the reminder on the sunscreen, though!

Ed Morrissey on November 25, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Here’s a video of the ensuing chaos over a $2 waffle maker at WalMart. Seriously. A $2 waffle maker.

FlatFoot on November 25, 2011 at 12:33 PM

As Megyn Kelly reminded Bill O’Reilly a few days ago, pepper spray is “basically a food product.”

So, this is no big deal.

YYZ on November 25, 2011 at 12:34 PM

My daughter told me they were at the WalMart in Joliet last night for the Black Friday sale and someone, for whatever reason, ended up getting stabbed!

I mean, come on people! It’s a sale, not a matter of life and death!

pilamaye on November 25, 2011 at 12:35 PM

“and might have been concerned about them getting trampled

I posted a link to a ‘Cracked’ exposé on Black Friday this morning on Maggie’s. Title of the post?

Welcome to Trample Day!

Dr. Mercury on November 25, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Do stores really make money on Black Friday?
Employees (including my wife) on overtime & night differential pay, items at ridiculous prices, & extra security guards to pay.
Then crap like this that happens every year.
Why do they do it?

itsnotaboutme on November 25, 2011 at 12:35 PM

repvoter on November 25, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Who is Felix??

coldwarrior on November 25, 2011 at 12:37 PM

That is why only crazy people go out this morning.

BroncosRock on November 25, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Of course they are. They’re creating false shortages and time-limited loss leaders to promote them, two marketing strategies that are designed to generate panic in consumers. That’s not an accident.

Yes, but how is a good marketing strategy for, say, Walmart? Granted, they could start a puppy slaughtering business and still be the most popular retailer in the world, but year after year, there’s a story about something happening at Walmart on Black Friday.

I get that they’re making a fortune on a day like this, but next year, wouldn’t you think twice about going there when the sales start?

YYZ on November 25, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Do stores really make money on Black Friday?

itsnotaboutme on November 25, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Yep. A lot of money. Black Friday is usually the big stores’ most profitable day of the whole year. By far.

JetBoy on November 25, 2011 at 12:41 PM

My daughter told me they were at the WalMart in Joliet last night for the Black Friday sale and someone, for whatever reason, ended up getting stabbed!

I mean, come on people! It’s a sale, not a matter of life and death!

pilamaye on November 25, 2011 at 12:35 PM

it’s Joliet, what do you expect? There is a reason why it’s only one letter away from toilet

Doctor Zhivago on November 25, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Here’s a video of the ensuing chaos over a $2 waffle maker at WalMart. Seriously. A $2 waffle maker.

FlatFoot on November 25, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Equipped with buttcracks and tattoos.
At least she can eat her waffles now….as she walks off with her pants around her ankles.

Electrongod on November 25, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Here’s a video of the ensuing chaos over a $2 waffle maker at WalMart. Seriously. A $2 waffle maker.

FlatFoot on November 25, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Great. Now I need eye bleach. You didn’t warn us about the, uh, big lady with the lowriding jeans bending over, & over, & over.

itsnotaboutme on November 25, 2011 at 12:43 PM

I must be a communist or something. I have gone shopping on Black Friday exactly once, and that was when my kids were very young and they had some great deals on toays at Toys R Us. And even then I did not go at 6 a.m., I went at 10 a.m. and there was plenty of merchandise left in the store. It was worth it to get a $50 race car set for $10, and similar bargains. The very next year Toys R Us went online and I bought everything that way, with the same discounts and much less stress.

Maybe it is because my kids are older and don’t really want much, or because two of the last three Christmases I was unemployed and broke, but this year I just don’t feel like spending and shopping. I feel sick watching all the ads on TV and even reading the Black Friday newspaper insterts, which I used to enjoy even though I never went anywhere. It’s all just gotten too commercial for me.

And BTW, I am convinced that a lot of those nuts waiting in line and trampling people are buying stuff cheap to resell on the street, not for gifts or even for their own consumption. It’s real money on the line for them, that is why they get into fistfights.

rockmom on November 25, 2011 at 12:43 PM

I think a lot of folks are out shopping for themselves, too…

muckdog on November 25, 2011 at 12:44 PM

year after year, there’s a story about something happening at Walmart on Black Friday.

There are 1000s of Wal-Mart stores, & we hear 3 or 4 stories at the most every year about Wally violence.

itsnotaboutme on November 25, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Good post Ed. Things like this tend to make people forget the whole reason for the Christmas season in the first place.

The idea of deeply discounted items isn’t bad in itself, it’s the implementation that encourages this sort of rugby-rules shopping.

AZfederalist on November 25, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Great. Now I need eye bleach. You didn’t warn us about the, uh, big lady with the lowriding jeans bending over, & over, & over.

itsnotaboutme on November 25, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Walmart: Watch for falling prices pants.

Electrongod on November 25, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Of course they are. They’re creating false shortages and time-limited loss leaders to promote them, two marketing strategies that are designed to generate panic in consumers. That’s not an accident.

Ed Morrissey on November 25, 2011 at 12:31 PM

I’ve never understood why these sales “generate panic in consumers.”

None of these things are necessities. It says a whole lot about our culture when a few low priced luxury items can cause this sort of melee.

AScott on November 25, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Do stores really make money on Black Friday?
Employees (including my wife) on overtime & night differential pay, items at ridiculous prices, & extra security guards to pay.
Then crap like this that happens every year.
Why do they do it?

itsnotaboutme on November 25, 2011 at 12:35 PM

They may not know themselves if it makes them money. If your store is packed with people that are only buying the items that you are selling at a loss, that isn’t going to do your bottom line much good.

Count to 10 on November 25, 2011 at 12:48 PM

I’m with the Anchoress on this one. I despise Black Friday. I do my shopping at home online….

LL

Lady Logician on November 25, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Woah, pepper spray? That’s like the equivalent of being shot in the head in Syria when going to buy a loaf of bread, right?

Pretty sure that’s what OWS taught me.

Dude, like, Walmart is, like, totally oppressing the people man. Like totally dude.

ButterflyDragon on November 25, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Sheeple.

It’s like waiting in line to see a movie on opening day, then packing into a crowded, noisy theatre. It’s going to be there next week and the week after and so on.

Maybe I just hate crowds, but over the years I’ve always avoided bars on St. Patrick’s Day or New Years Day and I’ll never go for “doorbusters” on Black Friday.

reaganaut on November 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM

O/T: My oh my, even teh won is pushing his krap with black friday deals! Heh!

http://weaselzippers.us/2011/11/25/obama-uses-his-twitter-account-to-push-black-friday-deals-on-obama-merchandise

HT Weaselzippers

sicoit on November 25, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Black Friday ~ Down twinkles.

Cyber Saturday ~ Up twinkles.

Freelancer on November 25, 2011 at 1:01 PM

O/T: My oh my, even teh won is pushing his krap with black friday deals! Heh!

That’s so, so sad.

That being said, throw in an Obama Chia, and I’ll but a sweatshirt to use waxing the car.

Turkey Day. :sigh:

reaganaut on November 25, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Of course they are. They’re creating false shortages and time-limited loss leaders to promote them, two marketing strategies that are designed to generate panic in consumers. That’s not an accident.

Ed Morrissey on November 25, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Yes, gun manufacturers are responsible for gun deaths and Adolphus Busch creates drunk drivers. Come on Ed, no one makes people shop on Black Friday, and no one makes people who do shop on Black Friday act like ingrate savages. Sorry, this is the fault of sources outside the big-box retail stores.

BKeyser on November 25, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Black Friday theme song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfVsfOSbJY0
What?
Her name is Black.

itsnotaboutme on November 25, 2011 at 1:03 PM

The similarity to media reporting on the Occupy movement is …. duly noted.

Given the crowds that turned out at various stores across the country, far exceeding the relatively few “Occupy” types, Id say the media is far more accurate in describing it as “mostly peaceful.” Also, I don’t recall seeing any reports of rapes or drug use.

It’s when you’re speaking of the Occupiers that the description is strained.

tom on November 25, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Strangely enough, my Harley dealer invited me and a select group of people to visit for an exclusive event complete with catered food, pretty women lounging on the bikes, and design guys from the factory. Bikes, broads, bratwurst and beer.

Ok maybe not so strange considering how much business I’ve given them. Still, THAT is the way to do it after Thanksgiving; no crowds, no savages clawing at me for a $2 waffle maker, and me not clubbing people in my desperation to escape.

Bishop on November 25, 2011 at 1:09 PM

David Lee Roth used to say he didn’t act the way he did because he was in a rock band, he was in a rock band because he acted the way he did. Same thing here, these people aren’t acting like idiots because it’s black friday, they’re acting like idiots because they’re idiots.

clearbluesky on November 25, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Here’s a video of the ensuing chaos over a $2 waffle maker at WalMart. Seriously. A $2 waffle maker.

FlatFoot on November 25, 2011 at 12:33 PM

They’ll give them as a gifts to cousins Diane and Jenny, who will decide it’s too much work to make waffles when you can buy the frozen ones. Come May, you’ll be able to find them at yard sales for 25 cents.

CJ on November 25, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Meh. No worse than the Oklahoma land rush.

Seth Halpern on November 25, 2011 at 12:17 PM

The “Sooners” were the smart ones!

Great. Now I need eye bleach. You didn’t warn us about the, uh, big lady with the lowriding jeans bending over, & over, & over.

itsnotaboutme on November 25, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Well if that wasn’t enough for you itsnotaboutme, click her to see The People of Walmart! Just be sure to have a gallon of bleach at the ready!

Liberty or Death on November 25, 2011 at 1:17 PM

I don’t know. Things go on sale. You need to advertise that they’re going on sale and when or someone will sue you for not letting them know.

It’s not the store it’s the idiots that get into a fight. We had two women fighting at Wal-Mart last night. Hair pulling, kicking and punching. They were in a check out lane so they weren’t fighting over product. They just didn’t like each other.

We have the local cops in the store and Wal-Mart pays them to be there.

Vince on November 25, 2011 at 1:18 PM

So many people I know went out at midnight last night in the cold temps of Montana to get that special deal while it lasts. Truth is (best I can tell by reading the ads) deals are everywhere this year as retailers try to survive Obama. We’re already seeing prices near to at the break even levels, and I’m sure these prices are going to be there for us next week and the week after.

Keemo on November 25, 2011 at 1:19 PM

Ed, a couple of things. First this is really nothing new. You obviously have never been to a Filene’s Basement sale way back when. Those women could be vicious.
Second, as someone who has friends in management/working for various big box stores I’d have to say, yes these are “mostly peaceful.” Even a dozen stories like this out of the 4,000 or so Walmart stores and the almost 2,000 Target stores here that isn’t a very large percentage.

And I guess it is nice to be like The Anchoress but reality is what it is. People shop and they want a bargain. I do so but it’s on-line because I’m old and tired. LOL

Deanna on November 25, 2011 at 1:20 PM

These bozos are the same ones you will find in the voting booths during next November’s presidential election. Is it any wonder we elect the people we do?

The Good Doctor on November 25, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Do stores really make money on Black Friday?

itsnotaboutme on November 25, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Over the last 40+ years, retailers report that up to 35% of their annual revenue comes from the Thanksgiving weekend. Three days out of 365 generate 35% of their profits. Why would they ever stop promoting it?

Freelancer on November 25, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Enjoy your vacation Ed… The fruits of your labor. Best to you and the first mate.

Keemo on November 25, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Well if that wasn’t enough for you itsnotaboutme, click her to see The People of Walmart! Just be sure to have a gallon of bleach at the ready!

Liberty or Death on November 25, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Thanks, but we’re subscribed to Jessica Frech on YouTube, so we’ve seen her songs The People of Walmart parts one & two. That’s how we ran out of eye bleach!

itsnotaboutme on November 25, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Over the last 40+ years, retailers report that up to 35% of their annual revenue comes from the Thanksgiving weekend. Three days out of 365 generate 35% of their profits. Why would they ever stop promoting it?

Freelancer on November 25, 2011 at 1:21 PM

It used to be only the specialty stores like jewelers, electronics, clothing, etc. who didn’t have a steady stream of customers. Jewelers rely on gift gicing holidays like Valentines Day, clothing stores need the back to school customers (not much call for jeans on Valentines Day.) The big box and department store have a steady customer base, but even they have had to promote sales more often because of the competition and now the economy.

Deanna on November 25, 2011 at 1:36 PM

I posted this over at Patterico last night:

I suffer from crowd anxiety. I get claustrophobic in tight crowds and have come close to actual panic attacks on more than one occasion. I did, however, shore up my nerve and go to the Wally World a few hours ago because they had an offer I just couldn’t turn down.
I got there early enough to be in position for the item I was looking for. A few minutes before midnight, there was a scuffle 5 feet or so away as people scrambled over each other to grab digital cameras and SD cards. They destroyed the display, I saw hair-pulling women and bullying men. I saw 3 of the cops stationed all around the store.(I haven’t seen so many cops in one place in my life!) start unraveling the pile and one customer get practically tossed away when he tried to shove past an officer. My heart rate must have been about 300 or so about then, and my daughter, who doesn’t suffer my neurosis, pretty much ordered me to go back to the car before I shook apart. An hour later, when they finally allowed people to get at the products they advertised, my daughter texted me that the cops were handing out the item we had come for in order to keep people from killing each other. I went back in and met her at the check-out line, where I paid for the item and we left.

I am glad to be out of there and thankful for my daughter’s level head and the steady and strong presence of the Dallas Police.

In a few days, when I get over the shakes, I may even try to decide if the experience was worth it.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on November 25, 2011 at 1:38 PM

I don’t know. Things go on sale. You need to advertise that they’re going on sale and when or someone will sue you for not letting them know.

It’s not the store it’s the idiots that get into a fight. We had two women fighting at Wal-Mart last night. Hair pulling, kicking and punching. They were in a check out lane so they weren’t fighting over product. They just didn’t like each other.

We have the local cops in the store and Wal-Mart pays them to be there.

Vince on November 25, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Very true. People get worked up sometimes over very trivial things. I remember working at a grocery store when I was much younger and having to go help bag groceries when it was extremely busy. One woman is waiting for one of the very few really close parking spots. Before she can pull in, someone just arriving from the other direction squeezes in first. The woman who lost the spot was so mad that she parked her car literally right behind the other car so that person is unable to leave. Sure enough, the woman who “stole” the spot finishes shopping first, and finds her car blocked in. She complains bitterly to management, and goes to the rear bumper of the car blocking her in and bounces it up and down. If the driver of that car had shown up at the wrong time, I guarantee there would have been violence. As it was, there was nothing but a little tension for a while, and a lot of snickering among the bag boys afterwards.

tom on November 25, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Black Friday participation is completely voluntary on the parts of both retailers and consumers but I do pity the staff!

Sherman1864 on November 25, 2011 at 1:46 PM

I went to a Best Buy on Wednesday to get a new cable for my GPS. There was already one family in a tent waitng for black Friday. Meaning they were going to camp out all of Thanksgiving. 48+ hours to save a couple hundred dollars and miss a major Holiday. Meh, We got up at a reasonable hour and took the family and dogs to Colonial Williamsburg. No shopping this weekend, rather family.

rbj on November 25, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Ed, a couple of things. First this is really nothing new. You obviously have never been to a Filene’s Basement sale way back when. Those women could be vicious.

Deanna on November 25, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Filene’s Basement security camera

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMqSmiC_xHg

Del Dolemonte on November 25, 2011 at 2:01 PM

The love of family and friends does not rely on getting a cheap Wiii or a bargain price on a flat-screen TV, and if it did, it would hardly be worth the degrading experience that it takes to get these material goods. We are worshiping something else at Christmas than the Lord if this is what we do to celebrate His birth.

I hope this doesn’t come as a revelation to you, Ed. That’s exactly why for the past five years, I have done gift cards all-around. Lazy? Yeah. Thoughtless? Maybe. But at least I don’t have to worry about clothes in the wrong color or sizes, or figuring out which music which relatives listen to. For most of my lifetime, Christmas has been crass consumerism packaged in a creche.

gryphon202 on November 25, 2011 at 2:03 PM

“It’s beginning to look a lot like . . . . .”

You finish it.

listens2glenn on November 25, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Well, I’m just gonna wait for the game to come out. Shopping and Stomping or Black Ops Friday.

tinkerthinker on November 25, 2011 at 2:32 PM

As Megyn Kelly reminded Bill O’Reilly a few days ago, pepper spray is “basically a food product.”

So, this is no big deal.

YYZ on November 25, 2011 at 12:34 PM

LOL, all of your Leftist blogs are orgasming over that “story”, desperately trying to deny that chili peppers are food.

But as the Discovery Channel notes:

To make the spray used by law enforcement officers and police to control crowds, manufacturers take a concentrated oil made from chili peppers and combine it with water, glycol (a chemical used in shaving creams and liquid soaps) and a propellent such as nitrogen, according to Bob Nance, vice president of operations at Security Equipment Corp. The company makes pepper spray and other irritants at its Fenton, Mo., headquarters under the Sabre brand name.

Discovery is somewhat misleading here: glycol is classified as an organic compound (alcohol), but that term isn’t scary enough, so they call it a “chemical”.

Del Dolemonte on November 25, 2011 at 2:36 PM

LOL, all of your Leftist blogs are orgasming over that “story”, desperately trying to deny that chili peppers are food.

Del Dolemonte on November 25, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Gryph’s trivia o’ the day:

Capsaicin is an irritant that works primarily by triggering the nerves that sense pain and itching. Unless there is some other underlying condition such as dermatitis or a heart condition, exposure to pure capsaicin is not in and of itself lethal.

The reason for capsaicin’s existence in “hot” peppers and other “capsicum” (seed bag) plants is to discourage mammals specifically from eating them. For reasons not entirely known, mammalian digestion renders most capsicum seeds unable to germinate upon defecation. Birds do not present this problem, and capsaicin is not an irritant to them. Thus, they can eat capsicum seeds and cause them to germinate freely.

gryphon202 on November 25, 2011 at 2:45 PM

I remember watching cartoons as a kid depicting women at a bargain counter fighting over nylons. I also remember the Cabbage Patch Kids craze in the ’83. Wars have been fought over sugar and pepper. This sort of thing has been going on for a long time.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on November 25, 2011 at 2:53 PM

I would love to see how Occupy Black Friday is going. A wave of angry capitalism trampling a drum circle in search of Chinese-made crap is as fitting a metaphor as you will find.

Chuck Schick on November 25, 2011 at 2:55 PM

And now for a picture of the melee, Black Friday in Canada

JetBoy on November 25, 2011 at 2:55 PM

JetBoy on November 25, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Inhuman.

karl9000 on November 25, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Target even seems to encourage crazed shopping. Their TV ADs have a lady training for the event. Later shows her running through the store.

Dennis D on November 25, 2011 at 3:05 PM

I went to Walmart at 4am, got everything I needed and no waiting at the checkout, same with kohls….

cmsinaz on November 25, 2011 at 3:22 PM

‘Tis the season to kill your neighbor to save $100 on crap to give away.

KMC1 on November 25, 2011 at 3:52 PM

JetBoy on November 25, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Animals I tell ya, ANIMALS!

BallisticBob on November 25, 2011 at 4:12 PM

These days, with the tanking economy, rising prices, and limited resources, I, like a great many other people, live from paycheck to paycheck (or Social Security check to Social Security check, as it were ;) ). As a result, anything not budgeted for well in advance must go on the credit card. How many of you who went shopping last night or today stood impatiently in line while others paid for their great “bargains” by credit card and had to sign for it?

Sadly, bargain buys are a thing of the past for me because early on in my credit-card-ready days I didn’t realize that taking advantage of bargain prices with my CC would cost me so much more than the savings over time when interest rates on the unpaid balances piled debt on top of debt.

Those of you with CC’s probably got an early “pressy” this year, like me, when your CC company generously raised your credit limit recently to allow for more shopping this year. Some pressy. Had I not already learned my lesson I might have gone wild with Christmas shopping at a time when I least could afford it.

Thankfully, it only takes one “rude awakening” for me to “get it” these days. Thanks but no thanks, CC companies! I actually had to call one of them and have them note my account to NOT increase my credit limit anymore (they were doing it so regularly because I have such a great payment history). Breaking that vicious cycle takes time and an awful lot of self-discipline. Doing it … is the best gift I can give to myself these days. :)

KendraWilder on November 25, 2011 at 4:44 PM

I worked yesterday and got off a few minutes before 10:00 pm. People started lining up-in the store probably starting aroun3:330 and were lined up in a very organized fashion near whatever section was going to be their target, at MY Wal-mart…things went quite smoothly.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 25, 2011 at 6:02 PM

I worked yesterday and got off a few minutes before 10:00 pm. People started lining up-in the store probably starting aroun3:330 and were lined up in a very organized fashion near whatever section was going to be their target, at MY Wal-mart…things went quite smoothly.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 25, 2011 at 6:02 PM

I think for most of the country, Black Friday means nothing more than willingly trading your time (in the form of lining up early and waiting for long periods of time) for a slightly better price. If it’s worth it to you to wait two hours to save a hundred dollars on a big-ticket item, then do it. There’s no reason to assume it leads to violence.

For most people, though, it probably is not worth it. Especially since the stores have long figured out they can make a splash by advertising a product for $150 less and still not lose much money, if they only have a dozen of those items to sell.

tom on November 25, 2011 at 6:18 PM

I had my first and last WMart Black Friday experience back in 2005. I got a $498 Toshiba laptop for $278. Stould in line in the frozen food section for 4 hours and when the time came it was complete chaos and mob mentality took over. Didn’t get the laptop needless to say. Two of us were smart enough to request a manager for discussion and two hours later the manager gave us even better laptops from the back at same price. I’m all for capitalism but can’t stand how we as consumers have been “trained” by the big retailers into this utter non-sense that is Black Fridaypalooza. I went to WMart last night around 7pm for a few grocery items. They had the grocery aisles roped off and employees standing watch on every aisle. Are you kidding me? The whole holiday season is quickly becoming a merchandising joke. Sadly, the joke is on us. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Have a Merry Chistmas and a Happy New Year.

PS. I posted this using that same laptop. Still running Windows XP and all.

dddave on November 25, 2011 at 6:21 PM

“use-tax” on my california state tax return for these out-of-state purchases either. shhhhh … don’t tell anyone. it’s a secret.

FlatFoot on November 25, 2011 at 12:19 PM

CAREFUL there, be sure and check, cause I think Illinois started putting people down for $100 internet tax(default is $100 not $0), and you have to PROVE you owe less.

Clever huh?

I put up Christmas lights today. My daughters came up with the ‘theme’ and we all put them up. I am tired, but what fun.

orbitalair on November 25, 2011 at 6:30 PM

I thought the pepper spray was supposed to be for the OWSers who planned to block people. Who knew?

bloggless on November 25, 2011 at 6:38 PM

although what she was doing at a Wal-Mart at 10 pm with two children is another question entirely.

That’s an easy one!

HUMAN SHIELDS! She just came from her local OWS riot.

csdeven on November 25, 2011 at 7:51 PM

I call this story as bogus. I think she could have been an OWSer trying to make a point.

bloggless on November 25, 2011 at 8:08 PM

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