* Rush for bargains turns violent
* Woman uses pepper spray in swarm for Xboxes
* Videos become a YouTube sensation
(Updates scope of incidents)
By Barbara Goldberg
NEW YORK, Nov 25 Black Friday turned into a
black mark against American shoppers as riotous crowds brawled
over video games, waffle irons and towels, drawing
international condemnation and even raising questions about the
state of humanity.
One of the most outrageous incidents of the day was in the
Los Angeles area, where up to 20 people were injured after a
woman at a Walmart used pepper spray to get an edge on other
shoppers in a rush for Xbox game consoles.
Walmart seemed to have a worse day than many other
retailers as shoppers screamed, shoved and elbowed each other
to save a few bucks.
Incidents across the country included a man shot by robbers
in the parking lot outside the San Leandro, California store
and shoppers pepper sprayed by security at a store in Kinston,
A fight for bath towels, purportedly recorded at a Michigan
store, has become a YouTube sensation. Cheap towels also caused
mayhem at a Walmart in Oregon, Ohio.
"They were fighting over bath towels on sale for $1.88, as
ridiculous as that sounds," Police Sergeant Jason Druckenmiller
said. "A woman tried to get her hands on some towels when she
was pushed from behind, and that's when she came out
Company spokesman Greg Rossiter said violence at a handful
of stores marred an otherwise safe start to the holiday
shopping season at thousands of Walmart stores.
COMMENTARY ON HUMANITY?
Videos of shopping pandemonium crowded YouTube by late
Friday. One clip showed a crowd crushing and tearing apart
boxes in a free-for-all for inexpensive cell phones. Another
showed people flooding into a store as the gates were raised.
"This is what the human race has come to huh??" asked one
person who commented online. Another said it "looked like a
piranha feeding frenzy."
The instant classic of the day was a video of an Arkansas
melee over a $2 waffle iron. The shaky, 48-second clip shows a
mass of squealing and shouting men, women and children climbing
over each other, grabbing and tossing boxes, with one woman
seemingly unaware that her pants were sliding down her
"Oh my God!" a woman screamed in the only sentence
discernible among the high-pitched shrieks. One person
commenting on the video wrote: "The pinnacle of Western
Civilization has arrived."
A Walmart in Cave Creek, Arizona, was evacuated Thursday
night after a suspicious package was found in an employee break
room, Maricopa County Sheriff's Department spokesman
Christopher Hegstrom said. A police robot retrieved the
package, and bomb-sniffing dogs searched the store before it
A video of a grandfather injured when he was knocked down
by police at an Arizona Walmart went viral on YouTube. The
video showed the man unconscious and bleeding from his face as
police rolled him over and mopped up blood. Witnesses screamed
at the police, accusing them of brutality and shouting for
someone to call "911" for emergency medical assistance.
According to reports, the man was knocked down by police
after putting a video game in his belt to free his hands so he
could pick up his grandson as the crowd surged around them.
In the Manhattan borough of New York City, shoppers unhappy
that Hollister's flagship store was not opening at midnight, as
other locations were, broke into the store and stole clothing,
DAY DRAWS MOCKERY
Black Friday drew bad press and mockery outside the United
In Toronto, a headline on the website of the Globe and Mail
proclaimed: "Pepper-spray, shootings and other Black Friday
Dutch state television showed an overhead shot of hundreds
of people camped outside a west coast store. "No tents from the
Occupy movement here in California, but clients waiting hours
until the stores open," the anchor said.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York, Harriet McLeod in
South Carolina, Joe Rauch in North Carolina, Jessica Wohl and
Eric Johnson in Chicago, Aman Ali in Ohio, Mary Slosson in
Colorado; Writing by Barbara Goldberg and Ben Berkowitz in New
York; Editing by David Bailey and Paul Simao)