A woman was trampled at a Clinton, Utah Wal-Mart Thursday night as a mob of deal seekers headed for a table of tablet devices. In the process the woman was knocked over and stepped on. The woman was unhurt and no one was apprehended.
In another incident, at a yet to be identified Wal-Mart, and uploaded to YouTube, uniformed security officers handcuffed a woman after a fight broke out over a television.
In a conference call with reporters today, Bill Simon, CEO of Wal-Mart’s U.S. division said: “Any time you get more than 22 million people together you’re going to have some behavior you’re not proud of.” He also said “the number of incidents” was down from last year and that it’s “hard to tell what happened in any individual incident.”
In what seems to be the most violent of the Black Friday incidents so far, after buying a big screen TV, a Las Vegas shopper was shot Thursday as he tried to take his purchase home by a shoplifter.
An estimated 140 million Americans are predicted to shop this weekend and Black Friday, often cited as the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S., is renowned for its shopping related deaths and injuries. In 2008, a Wal-Mart worker was trampled to death.
In an attempt to curb shopping violence, The National Retail Federation issued crowd management guidelines this year in order to get retailers prepared for flash mobs and long lines. This year, Wal-Mart gave out wristbands for its shopping special events on Thanksgiving Day. Those with wristbands were allowed return two hours after to pick up their purchases. Best Buy held dress rehearsals for its staff to get them prepared, and at Target stores, security was instructed to ride around parking lots on Segways to increase their presence.
Retailers were forced to amp up security even earlier this year as many stores including Target, Toys R US, and Macy’s opened up their doors on Thanksgiving day. According to The National Retail Federation, nearly 33 million people planned to shop on Thanksgiving this year.
What exactly is all the commotion over? Staples is offering $179 HP Pavillion Chromebooks, Best Buy is offering $150 off all MacBook Airs, and Target is selling $229 Element 50” LED HDTVs. Sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday will increase 2.2 percent to $40.5 billion, IBISWorld Inc. predicted.