Black Friday violence at Walmart is rapidly becoming a new holiday tradition. From coast to coast, shoppers rioted and pepper-sprayed to get their hands on cheap waffle makers and Xboxes while, outside the stores, customers were shot over their loot. The goings on are being called a "grim reminder" of a Black Friday stampede in 2008 at a Walmart in Long Island, N.Y. that left one dead and sent a pregnant woman to the hospital. Here, a rundown of some of this year's bargain brawls:
1. The waffle maker riot
At a Walmart near Little Rock, Ark., a screaming mob of shoppers tussled over $2 waffle makers. The riot was caught on video (watch it here) and went viral. This "embodies everything awesome about America, including a horrible economy, aggressive consumerism, mindless violence and a complete lack of concern for one's fellow human beings," says Max Read at Gawker. "And let's not forget internet rubbernecking and smug class hatred."
2. Pepper spray and Xboxes
At 10 p.m. on Thursday at a Los Angeles Walmart, a 30-something woman determined to buy a discounted Xbox 360 allegedly pepper-sprayed some 20 people also vying for a new gaming console. According to a police report, the pepper-sprayer managed to get her Xbox, pay for it, and left the store. The next day she turned herself in. Police have not yet decided if she'll be charged.
3. Video games and police brutality
Things got bloody at a Walmart in Arizona when police arrested Jared Newman, 54, late Thursday night. According to Newman's grandson, he had grabbed a video game and tucked it under his arm to guard it from the swarming masses when police pulled him out of the crowd. A CNN citizen iReporter, David Chadd, says Newman appeared to be cooperating when an officer suddenly slammed Newman face first into the floor, knocking the man out. "It was like a bowling ball hitting the ground, that's how bad it was," says Chadd, who reports that Newman was left lying unconscious in a pool of his own blood for about 10 minutes. Police have charged Newman with shoplifting and resisting arrest. Newman is still recovering from incident. "He is emotionally and mentally a wreck," his daughter says.
4. Parking lot shootings
Black Friday shoppers were held up at gunpoint in Walmart parking lots from coast to coast. In San Leandro, Calif., a man and his family were crossing a store parking lot between 1 and 2 a.m. when a group approached and demanded they fork over their purchases. A fight ensued when the family refused and, according to police, one of the suspects pulled out a gun and shot the man, critically injuring him. In Myrtle Beach, S.C., a woman was shot outside a Walmart in an apparent robbery attempt.
5. The smartphone smack down
At a Walmart in Rome, N.Y., two women were taken to the hospital for injuries they sustained while trying to get a $35 smartphone deal. "I was shoved down and... kicked in the face," says one of the woman, who sustained bruises and cuts on her face, arms, and hand. "It was just like a stampede. All you heard was just like a herd of animals coming through there."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 of the scariest spiders in existence
- 4 things NASA can teach you about a good night's sleep
- Why isn't 'Arkansas' pronounced like 'Kansas'?
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- Welcome to the age of ambivalent feminism
- This 1,600-year-old Viking war game is still awesome
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The best online movies to watch this weekend
Subscribe to the Week