Extreme Black Friday / Cyber Monday: The Good, Bad And Ugly
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are perfect opportunities to find great deals. Of course, the money-savings deals also creates a chaotic, and even potentially dangerous, situation for the masses of people who are just looking for the best discounts.
Walmart Trampling: Long Island
Jdimytai Damour (Jimbo) was the victim of a Black Friday stampede in 2008. He was an overnight clerk at a Long Island Walmart, when he was tasked with holding back the 2,000 deal seekers. His tragic death made national headlines, but also instigated an investigation by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
That’s Not All…
Initial reports from the Long Island Walmart also indicated that a young pregnant woman had miscarried when she was pushed down. It was all part of the same Black Friday tragedy that claimed the Jimbo’s life, and the news quickly spread. Reports were later changed/updated to reflect that while a young woman (age 28) had been pushed down, she was taken to the hospital with the other injured shoppers. The injuries were apparently minor.
Safety Or Shoplifting: Buckeye, Arizona
On the night before Black Friday, in 2011, Jerald Allen Newman reportedly stuffed a video game in the waistband of his pants. His wife claimed that he’d put the video game there, so that he could protect his grandson, but the video went viral with claims of police brutality. Newman is seen in the video, bloody and apparently unconscious.
Toys “R” Us Shoot-Out: Palm Desert, CA
In 2008, Toys “R” Us was the site of the next great shoot-out, in Palm Desert, CA. The incident started with two women who fought in the electronics department, but the battle escalated when the men with the women took out their guns and started shooting at each other. Fortunately, no other shoppers were injured, but the men killed each other.
Pepper Spray: Los Angeles, CA
In 2011, a woman took her pepper spray with her when she went shopping at Walmart, and she apparently used it more than once, as part of her “competitive shopping” technique, according to the LA Times. More than 20 people were affected, with most of them complaining of skin irritation and sore throats.
Target Collapse: West Virginia
Walter Vance, 61, collapsed in a West Virginia Target in 2011, during a Black Friday sales event. While he lay in the aisle, shoppers reportedly walked around him and even stepped over him. A nurse finally noticed his condition, and attempted to assist him, with assistance from an off-duty paramedic. An ambulance was called, and he was taken to the hospital, but Vance died. He had known heart issues, but his family was still troubled by the way his collapse was ignored.
Sears Line-Cutter: San Antonio, TX
Shopping etiquette is apparently even more important on Black Friday! A Texas man, Alejandro Alex, apparently cut into the line at Sears and then punched Jose Alonzo Salame, who had who pulled out a gun. The crowd scattered, while Alex first hid and then ran out of the store. The gun-totting man was arrested, but not charged. He claimed he was defending himself, and he had a concealed-handgun license. Not surprisingly, shopping commenced a few minutes after the incident.
Black Friday Looting: New York City
Just when you think the reports couldn’t get any worse, there’s the case of the Hollister store in New York City. In 2011, the crowd of people mistakenly believed that the store opened at midnight and decided they didn’t want to wait any more, so they broke into the store and started making off with the store’s Black Friday merchandise.
Buffalo Trampling: New York
It’s not always thievery and guns that we have to worry about, though. Like the 2008 incident, a Target store in Buffalo, New York was the site of another old-fashioned trampling in 2010. This time, Keith Krantz was only injured when he joined the masses trying to enter the store for Black Friday savings at 4 am.
White Christmas = Free Car Black Friday Deal
Sometimes, it’s the freaky deals that really make the Black Friday maniacs come out in droves. In 2014, Chicago’s Bill Kay Buick GMC promised their first-ever White Friday sale. It’s not so unusual to bet on the weather, right? We do it all the time. I doubt we’ve heard of a car dealership that promised that any Black Friday deal-seekers who bought a car on Friday or Saturday would be eligible to get their money back if it snowed on Christmas (six inches, to be exact).
Gift Certificate Droppings: Torrence, CA
Some Black Friday store promotions appear to be poorly conceived from the outset. The idea of dropping gift certificates from the ceiling for the frantic masses to grab may have seemed like a great idea. After all, it keeps the store employees out of the fray, right? The promo plans didn’t appear to account for the injuries: 10 in all, including one person who was sent to the hospital.
Toys “R” Us Line-Cutter: Madison, WI
Lest we seem to suggest that men are the only ones responsible for gun-related incidents on Black Friday, there’s the case of Lanessa Lattimore, who attempted to cut in front of several hundred fellow Toys “R” Us shoppers. When other shoppers complained, she threatened to get a gun and shoot them. The police arrested her and took her to Dane County Jail.
Laptops Be Mine: Orlando, Florida
Walmart seems to be a recurrent hub for bizarre Black-Friday shopping problems, and the incident reported at the Orlando, Florida store, in 2005, is no different. It’s unclear who was tossing the laptops into air (as high as 20 feet), but shoppers fell all over each other to catch one.
Black Friday Camp-Out: Orlando, FL
In the annals of Black Friday mania, the story of Kevin Sutton stands out! He camped outside Best Buy for 33 days, and his story made national news, though probably not for the reason(s) you might think. Sutton’s marathon camp-out was part of his mission to raise awareness to homelessness, while simultaneously collecting toys for children in need. Ok, maybe (just maybe) the crazy Black Friday chaos can be used to give voice to important social messages.
When it comes to Black Friday news and bizarre behavior, you just can’t believe everything you read and see. One of the most infamous episodes of Black Friday violence involves veggie steamers and a little girl. Some sources now claim that the volatile episode was staged. Based on how quickly the “real-life” violent incidents go viral, we should probably be surprised that there aren’t even more fakes circulating (or, maybe, there are and we just don’t know it yet).
Toys For Tots Stabbing: Augusta, GA
When a burglar is trying to make off with merchandise, it’s just logical that you run after him and even get stabbed for your courage, right? Cpl. Phillip Duggan really did get stabbed by an attacker on Black Friday, but he was also not alone. He and a group of other Marines were collecting donations for Toys for Tots when the incident took place. Snopes also clarifies about some of the more bizarre reports surrounding the case, namely the “two broken arms, a broken leg, possible broken ribs, assorted lacerations and bruises”. Duggan just needed three stitches.
Pepper-Sprayed: Kinston, NC
Here, again, there’s some disagreement about what actually happened at the Walmart in Kinston, North Carolina. An off-duty cop, Gordon Jackson, apparently used pepper-spray in a crowd of Black-Friday shoppers. He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Jackson claimed it was just a little “puff,” but 20 people were affected.
Trampled Girl: Boston, MA
Among all the incidents reported at stores for Black Friday, the injury of an unnamed 11-year-old girl has inspired the fastest response. The police responded within five minutes of the first reports that she was injured, and she was immediately transported to the hospital with minor injuries. The response is remarkably different than some of the other Black Friday incidents.
Toddler Endangerment: Springfield, MA
Anthony Perry of Springfield, Massachusetts had the brilliant idea of leaving his girlfriend’s two-year-old son sleeping in the car while he went shopping at Kmart for a big screen TV. He even managed to buy the TV and transport it home, all while the little boy was left in the car. For his part, Perry just claimed that he’d lost the kid, freaked out and got a ride home. He won’t be winning a “Parent of the Year” award, that’s for sure. Instead, he was charged with child endangerment.
Parking-Lot Attack: Jackson, TN
Violence in the lines and in the stores quickly spills over into the parking lot and around the store entrance, with incidents like the attack of Akasha Adonis, a transgender woman who was attacked outside Kohl’s Department Store. This incident, once again, demonstrates how frightfully easy it appears to be for shoppers to be seriously injured.
Parking Lot Stabbing: Claypool Hill, VA
A disagreement about a Walmart parking space quickly escalated into an all-out battle, with firearm and knife brandished. The incident involved Ronnie Sharp and Christopher Jackson, and the fight reached a point where Sharp used the knife to stab Jackson in the arm. The wound was serious, slicing all the way down to the bone. It just goes to reinforce the danger that surrounds everything related to Black Friday!
Black Friday Brawl: Louisville, KY
The photo is blurry and hard to distinguish, because it’s from a video that went viral. The story is intriguing not only because of the brawl though, but also because the police appear uncertain whether the fight was legit, or just for show. Whether it was real or faked, this Black Friday incident did provide entertainment, albeit violent entertainment, to the thousands of shoppers at Mall St. Matthews, in Louisville, Kentucky. What’s more, that’s not the only incident of mall brawls in Louisville. Just look at the one from December:
We’ve all been told: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, right?” So, when Jerry Leon Poe discovered that the stereo for his grandson was sold out at one store, he headed to the next store. Unfortunately, his sold-out angst spilled over into road rage and even weapon charges with his erratic behavior toward a female driver. In his eagerness to find the gift for his grandson, he didn’t notice that her husband (Sgt. Michael Butcher) was following her. So, not only did he not get the deal he was after, he was charged with “aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.” Not a great way to end his Black Friday!
Killing Black Friday!
Let’s face it: Black Friday kills. The death toll during 2014 was seven, with the injury count at 98. And, that doesn’t even include all the cases from last year. One media outlet even termed it: “Black-Eye Friday.” So, why is so much death and destruction? For good or bad, there appear to be a number of states more prone to violence, including: Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, and Missouri.
Black Friday Origins
“Black Friday” was first used in 1869 to refer to the horrible stock market crashes. The first violent, even deadly connotations of Black Friday lends itself to a certain irony in the modern Black Friday. We like to think that Black Friday is a time of savings, deals and wonderful treasure troves, but experience tells us that the day has more in common with the Panic and loss of bygone days.
Before “Black Friday” ever became so widely known, “black” was part of superstition, particularly black cats and crows, demons and witches. Given the growing number of dark (even violent) Black Friday incidents, the happy hype of great deals on Black Friday is overshadowed by serious bad luck and even tragedy.
In The Black
“Black Friday” may also represent the first time all year when retailers are “in the black”, at least that’s what it used to mean. With so many other options now available for finding deals online, Black Friday is probably more about the “biggest shopping day of the year” hype than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, though. It still hurts if a retailer fails to see the projected rate of return from their Black Friday deals and promos. It may just not be THE DAY, like it once was.
What To Wear For Black Friday?
There is strategy involved in planning what you’ll wear for your Black Friday shopping expedition. You’ll notice a lot of the same types of outfits: comfortable clothes, often layered, with walking (or running) shoes. The truth is, though, that many Black Friday enthusiasts have that slightly groggy, disheveled, just-rolled out of bed and still not fully dressed look. That’s because, many have just gotten out of bed. One Survival Guide recommends applying baby oil or Vaseline and wearing working gloves. Hrmph.
Shop ‘Til You Drop?
Every Black Friday shopping enthusiast knows that the best deals are usually found if you’re there right when the doors open. So, even the most tame among us are exhausted by noon, if not sooner. With so many great deals at stake, the most fanatical shoppers also fuel themselves with high-energy foods to help keep them going.
Not Just The US?
Believe it or not, the US is not the only place where Black Friday brings out masses of shoppers. The first big reports of the shopping-bonanza hitting the UK was in 2013, and it’s only escalated since then. Unfortunately, the spread of the holiday savings also carried with it some of the volatile side effects, as demonstrated by the 2014 stampede.
What About Cyber Monday?
With Black Friday historically holding the spot as the biggest (and best) shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday was inevitable. The day was first synthesized in 2005 by companies like Amazon and eBay, as a way to jump-start holiday eCommerce sales. Since then, it’s become another tradition, taking place the Monday following Black Friday and steadily growing in popularity, with billions of dollars in sales.
Cyber Monday Trending Mobile
Yes, our lives are more hectic. We’re constantly on the go, but 64% of Americans now own smartphones, which makes it easier than ever for us to take advantage of Cyber Monday deals. The most recent IBM study also shows that mobile devices are driving sales, particularly to retail sites.
Cyber Monday At Work
Many Black Friday shopping enthusiasts have the day off from work, since it’s the day after Thanksgiving, but Cyber Monday is a different matter. By the Monday after Thanksgiving, potential shoppers are back at work, so the bulk of the eCommerce retailers target shoppers who are at work. Still, sales continue to increase by an estimated $100 million every year.
Fired For Cyber Monday Shopping?
Since more than 30 percent of employers monitor the online activity of their workers, it’s not unreasonable to expect that your boss may know that you’re shopping for Cyber Monday. Your company may also have strict policies regarding online activity and inappropriate use of company computers. So, buyers beware! You could be fired for your Cyber Monday shopping.
Cyber Monday: Hacker’s Heaven
With billions of dollars at play, and thousands of deal-seeking prospects/targets willing to fall for some of their exploits, Cyber Monday is also a “hacker’s heaven”. The hype makes it relatively easy for hackers to tap into popular trends and search terms to bring willing victims right to their proverbial doorsteps.
Cyber Monday Phishing
Phishing is scary enough even under normal circumstances, but add to it the very real possibility that you’re encountering legit deals, mixed in with tons of spammish and phishing emails, and you’ve got an impossible situation. New scams and security vulnerabilities are also popping up every day. The Cyber Monday deals are particularly effective, since we all expect such great deals. Sometimes, though, if the deal sounds too good to be true, it’s best to just walk away.
Social Media: Beware
Increasingly, Cyber Monday also means that there’s a more-than-usual number of deal seekers hitting social media channels in search of money-saving offers. With clickbaiting and hashtag hijacking, you may see an great headline about a great deal, with an accompanying link. It may even include all the hashtags you’ve been following, but it could also really be too good to be true. Beware, you could be clicking into spam, malware or phishing links
Cyberbullying on Cyber Monday
Just as the sales bring out the worst in shoppers for Black Friday, some cyber-sleuthing also creates real monsters. Recent high-profile cases has made the issue of online harassment much more visible, but we still seem to believe that the cases are isolated, and that they mostly involve teenagers. Pew Research reports the shocking reality that 40% of adults have experienced online harassment, and that number jumps even higher to 60% when you examine the 18-29. That means, quite simply, there’s a very real likelihood that you’ll experience some form of harassment/cyberbullying while you search for your incredible Cyber Monday deals.
Small Business Saturday
In 2010, American Express launched a campaign encourage shoppers to support local stores. Yes, it’s a counterpoint to the Cyber Monday an Black Friday activities, but it also has accomplished much more than originally intended. It’s a way to highlight great local business, especially during the holidays, but it has also grown to become a weekly phenomenon, still using those original hashtags, #smallbusinesssaturday and #smallbizsaturday.
Black Friday is typically considered one of the biggest shopping days of the year, but there are now more deal opportunities this year than ever before. Every year, stores open their doors earlier to give customers access to the great deals. This year, Amazon has even launched their seasonal savings on November 1st!
As the possibilities for great deals continues to evolve, it’s no longer about taking advantage of just one day. Instead, it’s a season of savings. We all just need to determine where and when we can best take advantage. While you’re shopping out there, be sure to stay safe! With all the passionate (and violently intense) shoppers out there, getting the best deal can also quickly become deadly.