Big crowds, big mischief on Black Friday (and Thursday, too)
Black Friday shoppers enter Macy's in New York shortly after midnight.
November 25th, 2011
02:10 PM ET

Big crowds, big mischief on Black Friday (and Thursday, too)

With more big-box stores starting their Black Friday sales at midnight and even pulling them into Thanksgiving Day, the kickoff to the holiday shopping season – and the scattered reports of scuffles and mischief that inevitably come with it – was in high gear early.

Some stores opened earlier than ever: Toys R Us opened at 9 p.m. Thursday, with Walmart opening at 10 p.m. and Target, Kohl’s, Best Buy and Macy’s opening at midnight. And some reported longer lines than usual, according to CNNMoney.

The early openings didn’t make everyone happy, as employees with Target and Best Buy signed online petitions complaining that they had to sacrifice too much of their Thanksgiving. But shoppers seemed to be motivated for one of the biggest sales days of year. About 23% of Americans say they plan to go shopping on Black Friday, up from 19% in 2006, according to a CNN/ORC International poll.

Violence for Black Friday shoppers: Gunfire, fisticuffs and pepper spray

With Black Friday’s massive crowds and long lines come a few reports of short tempers, fights and robberies, and this year has been no exception.

In California on Thursday night, one woman doused fellow shoppers with pepper spray in a bid to snag a discounted video game console at Walmart in Los Angeles’ Porter Ranch area, police said. Ten people were treated at the scene for exposure to the spray, police said.

The woman was trying to get an Xbox video game console, CNN affiliate KABC reported, citing police. She was able to pay for her purchases and leave the store before police arrived, Chavira said.

Other incidents:

- One man was in custody and another was hospitalized after a 1:45 a.m. shooting and robbery attempt in the parking lot of Walmart in San Leandro, California, police said. Officers found a person with a gunshot wound and his family members detaining a suspect, police said, according to CNN affiliate KGO.

- In Kinston, North Carolina, an off-duty officer working security at a Walmart sprayed shoppers with pepper spray in an effort to stop a disturbance there, WITN reported, citing police Sgt. Roland Davis.

- Police in Florence, Alabama, said they had to use a stun gun - twice - on a Walmart customer, CNN affiliate WAFF reported. The 22-year-old man was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest around 11 p.m. Thursday night, about an hour after the store opened its doors for Black Friday, WAFF reported, citing police.

- 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 about 1 a.m., CNN affiliate Central Florida News 13 reported.

- In Rome, New York, a brawl broke out in the electronics department at a Walmart just after midnight, and two people were treated for injuries, CNN affiliate WSTM reported, citing the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office.

- In Fayetteville, North Carolina, shots were fired after a fight outside a mall entrance about 2 a.m. Friday as shoppers were gathering for holiday sales, authorities said. No injuries were reported; authorities said they were looking for the people who were involved, according to CNN affiliate WTVD.

- In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, police said two people were injured in an apparent armed robbery attempt after they left Walmart, according to CNN affiliate WMBF.

Camping out for hours

Getting to Black Friday sales isn’t enough for some shoppers. Many show up well before the doors open – sometimes days ahead – to ensure that they’re in prime position to score a deal before they’re all snapped up.

Time reporter Brad Tuttle has a roundup of several instances in which shoppers arrived days ahead of time, including a Florida couple who started camping out in front of Best Buy 12 days before Black Friday.

Greg Reese, a CNN iReporter, didn’t partake in Black Friday shopping, but he did visit a Cincinnati Best Buy and interview some of the first people in line on Thanksgiving. The first man, he said, had been there for 48 hours.

Shopping? Send us photos, video

TV sales among big draws

Deep discounts are one of the main reasons people flock to stores on Black Friday. Many shoppers seem especially motivated by unusually low prices on LCD TVs, such as $199.99 for a 42-inch set and $298 for a 46-inch TV, CNNMoney reported.

Holiday shopping strategies

CNNMoney reported earlier that Black Friday prices for LCD TVs would hit all-time lows, including 55- and 60-inch LCD TVs below $1,000.

CNN iReporter Matt McNelley was at Walmart in Mountain Home, Arkansas, on Thursday night in search of a HDTV and a Blu-Ray home theater for his parents.

“There were some outstanding deals online and in-store, so I did as much of my shopping online as possible, but two deals convinced me to go out to Walmart at 10 p.m. and stay through midnight to get the best deal,” he said.

He had to brave a massive crowd to get the deal, he said.

“The store itself was packed with people and moving around the store was difficult," McNelley said. "When products were made available, there was a sudden swarm at each product stack, and almost silence other than people grabbing boxes (and) items to put in their carts, followed by cheers when people got their items and backed out to let others in."

An iReporter who asked that his name not be revealed recorded video of shoppers who were at a Target store near Chicago after midnight. He said that the deals were good, "but I think we have crossed a line we won't turn back from by opening stores at midnight."

"I don't like what Thanksgiving weekend has turned into because of this," he said.

soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. weary of trolls

    I've been reading both news and marquee blogs and notice hardy any trolls on news blog. Anyone have advise on how to deal with trolls on marquee blog? Any suggestion will be appreciated. Thanks!

    November 26, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Dobby

      I would that thou summons the spirit of The Dark Lord Voldemort against these wicked trolls.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. **cosmicvox *

    @Steveo, Haah, good one!!

    November 26, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. kim

    I did my shopping later that evening and still find bargains. Who doesn't want to pay a discounted price? OH I FORGOT. THE REPUBLICAN THINK WE. ARE ALL RICH OR UNDESERVING OF A DISCOUNT. Whatever I like bargains and I feel I have the rights to get the BEST price out there.

    November 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brownstain

    Sheeple

    November 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Glob

    Looking in the mirror again, Brownstain?

    November 26, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dott

    I am ashamed to live in the same nation as these idiots. I thought there was a problem with our economy. Obviously not. There is absolutely nothing that would make me fall into the same catagory as these fools. Grow up people!

    November 26, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. WE ARE THE MELTING POT

    OFF YOUR LAZY AZZ'S

    November 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Eazy E

    I bring my gun, and get all da bomb bargains.

    November 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tapestryguy

    Very nice, Thank you
    Beatles towels

    November 28, 2011 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
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