For many Americans, this Thursday will be a day of thankful reflection over a meal the size of which a third-world family has never seen. But according to the National Retail Federation, about 152 million of those folks (that's about half the population) can be expected to line the cold shopping plazas of America in search of the perfect deal before they even digest their stuffing.
Black Friday has come to represent a day for the 99% to get whatever they want, even if they have to punch their neighbor in the face to get it. As prices lower across our great land, so too does the bar on moral behavior, and casual shopping starts to look more like a contact sport.
In honor of all you soldiers of the sale, we're taking time this season to reflect on the craziest commercial manias of recent years, and the lengths we go to get what we want.
5. #Occupy Best Buy
Before the rush and frenzy of doors opening to hundreds, there's the
calm of patient customers staking their place in line by literally
camping in front of the store for days. There's certainly nothing crazy
about hanging out in a Best Buy parking lot, sleeping on cement for
weeks if it means you get a cheap LCD television and external hard
Just ask Sean Keeley of Fort Myers, who started camping with his
family last Friday, or Tito Hernandez of St. Petersburg, who's been
living in front of his local Best Buy for a week. These guys know you
can't be over-prepareded when it comes to the best sales in the
nation. The early bird catches the worm, and the family that camps
together on a storefront for a week is probably out of their minds.
4. Please form a line - or a riot. California Best Buy, 2006
After all the waiting comes the main event, and finally, all that
anticipation and frustration turns into a mad scene of fighting to be
the first tired douche bag to get a PS3. Like back in 2006, when police
had to put the restless geeks into check at a California Best Buy.
Anxious gamers started pummeling each other for the chance to grab the
then-new console first, and people were just tossed around all over the
place. Watch how these kids climb over each other in sheer Mountain
3. Wild Beasts of Walmart Stampede
Unfortunately, not all riot-level door rushes come with happy endings.
The grisly tale of the Walmart maintenance worker trampled to death by
impatient customers back in 2008 is still fresh in shopper's minds.
Jdimytai Damour was readying the store to open when deal-seekers
literally busted the doors down. The onslaught of more than 2,000 people
left Damour pronounced dead by 6 a.m., only an hour after the sale
began. I hope the $2 DVD copies of Rush Hour 2 were worth it.
2. Showdown in Toys "R" Us's Aisle 12
You'd think shopping for toys would be a light-hearted occasion, but even kid stores get ugly on Black Friday. In 2009, families of shoppers at a Toys "R" Us in California were
rattled by gunshots. Two men got into some sort of scrap and pulled guns
on one another. Both men shot, and both men wound up dead.
But investigators didn't think the fight was over some toy. Instead,
they thought the shooting was gang related. Because a crowded toy store
on the craziest shopping day in American is a great place to settle turf
1. Smash and Grabs
But even if you manage to get there early enough, survive the madness
inside and make it out the door with your new computer, there's no
promise you're going to get it home.
Last year, two women at a Palm Beach Best Buy were the first in line and
stored their purchases in the car before heading to JC Penney. When
they got back to the car, they found its windows smashed and $1,000 of
So what can we take away from Black Fridays of yore? Well, if you have
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to shop at Best Buy this Friday, be extra cautious. And honestly, if you
have to shop at all, just do it online.
-- Kat Bein