February 14, 2016

9 Most Insane Black Friday Riots and Stampedes

BLACK FRIDAY RIOTS and stampedes
Well, Thanksgiving is finally here, and you know what that means: tomorrow is Black Friday.

Now, we all know that, officially, the day gets its name from the idea that this is the day retailers go from being “in the red” to being “in the black”—meaning it’s the day stores start to turn a profit. However, in recent years, the term “Black Friday” has taken on a different connotation. That’s because, every year, stores somehow manage to whip the masses into a rabid shopping frenzy and incite near-riots (and some actual riots) all across the country. And of course, some of these bargain-seeking riots end in tragedy.

Today, we take a look at this insane phenomenon in which ordinary human beings turn into vicious animals over $200 Dynex televisions. So without further ado, here’s a list of the most insane Black Friday riots and stampedes in recent memory.

9. Product-Snatching at Walmart in Texas (2006)

Here’s a little video of Red Cross workers handing out bottled water and sacks of rice to drought victims in the Sudan. Oh, no, wait. That’s not what this is. It’s a video of idiots waiting around to snatch up a pallet of $20 coffee makers at a freaking Walmart on the day after Thanksgiving.

You could see how I might be confused, though.

8. Prize-Drop Gone Wrong in Torrence, CA (2006)
balloon prize drop
To the management at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrence, California, it sounded like a good idea at the time. “Hey, Jim, let’s cram a couple thousand people into the mall, then drop 500 prize-filled balloons on them. They’ll love it!”

And they did love it. But of course there was also a stampede that left 10 people injured, including one elderly shopper.

At least this incident taught the retail world a valuable lesson: the only thing worse than wheeling a pallet of cheap goods into the middle of a frenzied crowd is dropping free shit from the ceiling.

7. Best Buy Beating in Roanoke, VA (2006)
best buy black friday
In 2006, things got a little heated at a Best Buy in Roanoke, Virginia. Just after the doors opened at 5 a.m., a local TV station caught a man on video hitting another customer…over, and over, and over. Sadly, the TV station no longer has the video available on their website, so we can’t show it to you. But feel free to use your imagination.


6. Walmart Lockdown in Upland, CA (2009)
black friday chaos at walmart
In 2009, the managers at a Walmart outside Los Angeles called the cops when the bargain-seeking hoards were getting a little too unruly. Even though people would not be allowed to purchase anything until 5 a.m., customers were allowed to gather inside the store in the middle of the night in order to avoid a stampede come morning. Of course, all that meant was that fights broke out, and people began tearing into the shrink-wrapped pallets containing the special bargains. When the local law enforcement arrived, they made the decision to shutterdown. (Because it was obviously a stupid idea to have people hang out all night in Walmart to begin with.)


5. “Toys For Tots” Guy Stabbed at Best Buy in Augusta, GA (2010)
marine stabbed at best buy on black friday
Last year, at a Best Buy in Augusta, Georgia, store security scouring the store with surveillance cameras noticed a shifty guy shove a laptop under his coat. When store employees confronted him, he became irate, whipped out a knife, shoved the store employees, then took off for the door. However, it just so happened that right by the door were four Marines collecting toys for needy children. So the guy didn’t get away, but he did manage to stab one of the Marines in the back. Fortunately, the injury was not serious.

All in a day’s work if your collecting toys at a Best Buy on Black Friday, I guess.


4. Pregnant Woman Taken Down at Walmart Stampede in Grand Rapids, MI (2005)

I’m torn on this one. On the one hand, it’s pretty ruthless to push down and trample a pregnant woman. On the other hand, what the hell is a pregnant woman doing at the front of a Black Friday lineup at Walmart, right?

3. Target Stampede in Buffalo, NY (2010)

I thought it was just the people of Walmart who stampeded on Black Friday. Turns out the more uppity Target shoppers can get out of control, too.

This incident occurred just last year in Buffalo, NY. I guess these folks really needed some overpriced-but-stylish laundry baskets and a new set of Riedel stemless wine glasses.

2. Toys ‘R’ Us Shooting in Palm Desert, CA (2008)

A couple years ago, two smart guys shot and killed each other on Black Friday at a Toys ‘R’ Us in Palm Desert, California. Police said it appeared that the two were “from rival groups”—i.e., gangs—and that the shootings were not related to shopping.

I beg to differ, and I think the other shoppers who were there (and were scared shitless) would too. If a shooting happens in a store, it’s related to shopping—or are you trying to tell me that gang members have a habit of dueling at toy stores?

1. Walmart Stampede Death in Valley Stream, NY (2008)

If this doesn’t keep you out of stores tomorrow, nothing will. This tragic event from 2008 underscores the full extent of the insanity that has grown around all this Black Friday nonsense. And, sadly, I’m kind of surprised there haven’t been more incidents of people getting trampled to death.