Black Friday. You either love it or you hate it. There's not much middle ground when it comes to the much beloved/feared day of the holiday season. Personally, I can be found locked away in my apartment, maybe perusing the web for online deals... but you won't find me anywhere near an actual, physical store. And can you blame me? Shopping on Black Friday can be dangerous. In recent years, Black Friday shopping has been taken to a whole new level, and a violent one at that. Trampling, gun shots, and being pepper sprayed are no joke, and they are all things that have happened to shoppers in the past six years. That is absolutely,100 percent, without doubt, utterly terrifying.
So like I said, while I'm all about finding a good discount, I just won't be found among the herds of shoppers at any store on the morning after Thanksgiving. Whether or not you choose to brave the chaos (and score the discount) is up to you, but you should be informed on where and how violence has hit in the past. So now that I've totally dampened your Black Friday spirits, let's take a look at some past injuries and incidents.
- A Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death in 2008 after a stampede of customers came running into the Long Island store after doors opened on Black Friday. While Wal-Mart may offer some crazy discounts (and vouchers for when they run out of items in stock), it also has a rather violent history when it comes to Black Friday. In addition to the trampling, there have also been reported incidents of pepper sprayings, stabbings, and shootings in the past few years.
- A store that specializes in selling children's toys seems like the last place you'd run across any violence, and it is on most days... but not on Black Friday. In 2008, a shooting left two people dead after gunfire was exchanged inside a Palm Desert store. While officers later said there was no evidence to suggest the violence was over a toy, with crowds of people blocking the store's exit, there weren't many places to run once the guns involved were revealed to shoppers.
- In 2009, Toys "R" Us opened its doors at midnight, but sadly for one shopper, injury ensued before she could even step foot inside. When the Clarksville store's doors were momentarily opened, a line of shoppers rushed forward with their carts, trampling the woman in the process.
- When it comes to Black Friday sales, Best Buy has some of the best, especially considering how expensive their electronic items can normally be. However, in 2010 a man was reportedly stabbed in the store by a shoplifter trying to make his escape. Thankfully, though, the injury was minor, and he survived.
- While thankfully no one was hurt during this incident, an Urban Outfitters in Thousand Oaks Mall had its metal detectors knocked over when massive crowds rushed the store in 2011.
- An off-duty officer was hired to help with security at a North Carolina Wal-Mart during 2011's Black Friday sales. When chaos ensued and it appeared as though a fight had broken out (it was later rumored that it was actually a customer accidentally falling over a display), the officer sprayed a puff of pepper spray into the crowd, allegedly injuring 20 shoppers.
- In 2012, two Wal-Mart shoppers were shot and wounded in the store's parking lot over what police believe was a dispute for a parking space. Fortunately, both victims pulled through, but it was a terrifying experience none the less.
- Just last year, a police officer began shooting at an alleged shoplifter in the parking lot of a Chicago-area shopping center after he began to drive away with another police officer being dragged by the vehicle. Luckily enough, no bystanders were hurt in the shooting.