Black Friday: 5 Misadventures in Bargain Shopping

From the use of pepper spray, stabbings, to online petitions, the day of deals can bring out the crazy in people.
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It’s the day after Thanksgiving and the official kick off of the gift-giving season. Black Friday inspires shoppers with a ninja grip on their gift list to stand in line for hours the night before. And with an expected 152 million people scrambling to these sales, it’s a day when otherwise sane people are driven to do insane things in their bid to get the best prices and cross those names off their list.

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From online petitions to unnecessary violence, here are five of the strangest, awe-inspiring, and maniacal stories of Black Friday 2011.

1. Was pepper spray on sale? The best phrase used on this Black Friday? “Competitive shopping.” That’s what police call what a woman was doing when she decided to whip out her pepper spray in the video game aisle in a San Fernando Valley Wal-Mart. What would inspire such an offensive? Video gaming consoles. Another report out of a Kinston, N.C. Wal-Mart involved a police officer using pepper spray on a group of fighting shoppers in the electronics section! The cop’s use of pepper spray has been referred to as an “overreaction.” You think? [Los Angeles Times, ABC News]

2. I.D., check. Credit card, check. Knife, check. Let’s go shopping! Why would someone bring a knife to go shopping? At a Sacramento mall, shoppers got into a fight in the wee hours of the morning in front of Macy’s. In the scuffle, a man was stabbed in the midsection and police were called to the scene. His stab wound was “non-life threatening,” but I’m sure it hurt a hell of a lot. [CBS News]

3. Shopper survives Black Friday, gets shot going to his car. First, I want to say this isn’t funny at all. But, imagine surviving the lines, the hordes of shoppers, and believing the coast is clear while walking to your car only to be robbed at gunpoint? That’s what went down at a San Leandro, Calif. Wal-Mart. A man was shot after armed robbers tried to steal his newly purchased goods in the parking lot. He’s in critical, but stable condition at the hospital and the police are in the process of identifying the assailants. Pepper spray suddenly seems humane in comparison. [The Washington Post]

4. Retail worker launches petition to roll back Black Friday opening. I worked retail during both my undergrad and grad school days, so I know how much it sucks to work with Black Friday’s insane shoppers and crazy hours. But, Omaha resident Anthony Hardwick took his frustration to the masses. He works two jobs to make ends meet in this sagging economy at Target and OfficeMax. And when he found out that he had to report to Target at 11 p.m. Thanksgiving night, he wasn’t having it – especially since he also had to work at OfficeMax at 5 a.m. the next morning. So, he created a petition on Change.org arguing that time with family during the holidays shouldn’t be something only the “elite of this nation” should enjoy. Fist bump, Anthony! [New York Times]

5. Canadians claim Black Friday superiority over U.S. They’ve got universal healthcare and now a more peaceful Black Friday. Whoop dee do. A few Canadians are waving their finger at the U.S. as news of our Black Friday violence crosses over their borders. Eh, they can have Black Friday… and universal healthcare. We still have better education. Wait… [Reuters]

Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro