Thursday-Night Openings Spark Brawls at Stores

The busiest day of the Christmas shopping season started earlier than ever this year, as eager buyers pursued bargains

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Paul J. Richards / AFP / Getty Images

Shoppers looking for a bargains shop during the Thanksgiving holiday on November 28, 2013, at the Toys-R-Us store in Fairfax, Virginia

Black Friday, usually the biggest shopping day of the year, came a day earlier this year as several large chains opened their doors on Thanksgiving day, despite worker protests. Macy’s opened on the holiday for the first time in their 155-year history. Toys “R” Us, Gap and Target — among other retailers — followed suit. It’s no surprise that shoppers, full of turkey and a hankering for bargains, turned some early openings into chaos.

A man in Virginia was stabbed during a squabble over a parking space next to a Walmart around 7 p.m. Thursday night, NBC reported. Two men were arrested after the incident. And a New Jersey man was arrested Thursday in a Walmart store, charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and disorderly conduct after arguing with a store employee over a TV, according to NBC. At a Walmart in Southern California, a police officer was injured trying to break up a melee after a manager decided to open his doors early.

A police officer answering an alleged shoplifting call at a Chicago area department store on Thanksgiving night shot a man who was dragging another police officer with his car, the Associated Press reports.

Romeoville Police Chief Mark Turvey says the police were called a Kohls store shortly after 10 p.m. “As the officers approached the front door, one of the two subjects ran out the door into the parking lot,” he says. The officer chased the man to his car. “The officer was struggling with the subject as he got into the car, and then the car started to move as the officer was partially inside the car. The officer was dragged quite some distance. He couldn’t get out.”

A backup officer fired two or three shots near the driver when he refused to stop, striking him once in the shoulder, authorities say. Both the officer and the driver are being treated at the hospital for shoulder injuries. Police arrested the driver, the passenger in the car and a third person still inside the store.

Despite injuries, the strategy of opening Thursday night appears to be a boon to retailers. About 15,000 shoppers lined up at Macy’s Herald Square location in New York City before the doors opened Thanksgiving eve, said Terry Lundgren, the CEO, president and chairman of the department store. Last year, the store only counted 11,000 customers who lined up before the standard Black Friday opening schedule.

It’s no surprise. As big-box stores like Walmart and Target have adopted Thursday openings over the past few years, sales routinely took a bite out of Black Friday profits. Thanksgiving Day purchases totaled $810 million last year, an increase of 55 percent from the past year, according to Chicago research firm ShopperTrak. But sales dropped 1.8 percent to $11.2 billion on Black Friday, even though it still was the biggest shopping day last year.

And customers don’t seem to mind shopping on the holiday. “Honestly if I can get a good deal, I do not mind,” Theresa Alcantaro, a 35-year-old woman waiting at a Target in Brooklyn with her son to buy an Xbox One on Thursday night told the Associated Press. “I see my family every day. They understand.” Alcantaro said she was missing a dinner that included 40 family members but that she’d meet up with them after shopping.

Green Bryant, the first in line at Toys “R” Us in Manhattan at 10 a.m. said that she planned to go home and cook Thanksgiving dinner that night after buying a dollhouse, Barbie doll and LeapFrog learning system on sale for her two children.

But several groups of workers have petitions on Change.org to protest against stores like Target and Best Buy forcing their employees to work the holiday and beginning sales earlier than usual, placing greater demands on workers. The Retail Action Project, a labor-based group of retail workers, says they plan on visiting stores like Gap and Victoria’s Secret in Manhattan on Black Friday to educate customers about the demands on workers.

[AP]

18 comments
Not-JelloBiafra
Not-JelloBiafra

The scariest part about the VS brawl is the size of the women fighting over tiny underwear.

pantheonoutcast
pantheonoutcast

Ah the Paradox of Thrift and Conspicuous consumption.

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.


victoria123
victoria123

How is a cheap TV really worth not only not spending a holiday with your family or at least relaxing but getting into brawls? It is a really sad commentary of our country that so many people go absolutely nuts over saving a few hundred dollars.

LizMay
LizMay

Lots of people have always had to work holidays. I have been one of them and am married to one, so I know it is a fact people need their stuff on holidays. That being said, the hype over Gray Thursday and Black Friday is ridiculous and I do not know why anyone wants to ruin their own holiday in pursuit of more stuff. People are sheep. They do not have to show up and shop just because someone says so.

Karl
Karl

Laws against business openings on holidays should be re-enacted. Black Friday , decades ago, was about crowds downtown during normal working hours, the queuing and offering incentives to violence to grab one of the 100 TVs sold for half off to the first buyers are an invitation to mayhem and someone's death or paralysis directly caused by store policies to whip up a frenzy will cost some store dearly, and soon. This is not a sustainable strategy by vendors. It is desperate. 

LizMay
LizMay

I was going to reply to Openminded1??? (Really?) but why even go there? He is exactly what he purports to be: the opposite of an open mind.

Openminded1
Openminded1

Further investigation into the above story reveals that in all the cities and states mentioned In NJ, Chicago, Va and Calf, all the issues of crime assault on a police officer, stabbing a man for taking a parking space , shop lifting all committed by a Blacks. I am sure a nation wide check will find 90% of black Friday crime was committed by blacks how ironic.

trisquel
trisquel

@Karl It's called capitalism......Wake up and smell the coffee. Stop being a shill for Obummer !!!!!

Openminded1
Openminded1

@LizMay The name is meant to be ironic, I am a realist. I researched the article little lady. They where all black suspects. That is real not racist. You must only date black men, that is fine understand the attraction, I am black .

Karl
Karl

@LizMay You don't seem to have an open mind to me, I didn't want to go there but but hey why not.

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

@Openminded1 The only thing ironic is how you turned something about shopping into a racist diatribe against African-Americans.  "Black" Friday has nothing to do with African Americans and every thing about businesses being in the "Black" (i.e. making profits).  The ironic thing is, it is the only time in our Euro-Centric culture that the term "Black" is something positive.  I know you claim to be half-Black, but I have to wonder about your self-hatred. As far as the research you did regarding the crimes cited in the article, did you bother to check out the racial demographics of the cities/area where the stories were reported?  Did you check out the socio-economic circumstances of the people involved?  I would be willing to bet that everyone involved had an income of less than $50,000 per year.  Should I infer that only poor people commit crime on "Black" Friday?

Yet you make the stupid claim that "90% of black Friday crime was committed by blacks".  Hey, can you back that up with statistics?

Sorry but even crime statistics don't due justice to the issue.  Considering that African Americans used drugs in the same ratio as they are in the U.S. population (14%), why do they account for 33% of drug arrests and 50% of drug incarceration?  Do you think that is simply a coincidence?  I have practiced as an attorney.  I can tell you that my White clients get breaks that my Black clients do not.  I have an attorney friend, a White guy, from a small town, very conservative and very Christian.  He told me he never believed in the "Driving While Black" until he actually started to practice law.

So the irony is your self-hatred and self deception about crime and that anyone would think about "Black" Friday had anything to do with race.

Karl
Karl

@Openminded1 It's not ironic It is outrageous that the Zeitgeist in the USA is pretty much what it was in Mississippi in 1955 but what was on the bottom is now on top in media eyes and elitist mainstream eyes. Crime is still punished equally, the jails are disproportionately full of Black men, but not because of racism, but because crime shouldn't pay This media double standard supported by a spirit or mood of the times that does not see Black racism toward non-Blacks. It is not supposed to exist and so there are stories about whether the PUNCH OUT GAME is a real phenomenon, despite three deaths already, not why Black youths and Black men feel empowered by the culture to enjoy a laugh by sucker punching a non-Black man, Asian, White Hispanic or White. Queen Victoria didn't believe that women felt sexual pleasure (another age) and so there were never laws against lesbianism in the British Empire. If you refuse to see something then it isn't there and in the media's view now Like the notion that women were created by God without the ability to feel evil carnal pleasure (a male thing until the sexual revolution) this color blindness will continue for decades if not a century, or depending on how empowered Back thugs feel and what they do with their new  media invisibility cloak, it could end overnight. Physical safety is a dangerous thing for any identifiable group of people to start playing with. It could be called playing with fire

Karl
Karl

No, you are using a word that covers a million behaviors and economic models as an ignorant (I'm sure it's not because you know what you are talking about) smokescreen for indecent, immoral public behavior. If you think this has anything to do with the federal government it just shows how ignorant you are, this is an area of state powers, whether businesses are allowed to open or not. Bars close in many states at 2am. In some states, maybe not, and in some counties they never open. My dad was born in one and my mother lives in a different one. And what this has to with our constantly targeted Colored President? I don't know, are you off your meds?

Openminded1
Openminded1

@fhmadvocat @Openminded1 Well what a number of points you hit on. First let me enlighten your liberal pompous ass, I have no self hate. I am how ever  a realist who happens to be black and white like your man in the Oval office. The difference is I do not lie about the black community. After 30 years as a cop I not only know the black community, I worked the streets of a major black community. I am also aware of what black Friday really is moron. My comment was meant to show the coincidence of being called black friday and the suspects actually where black. You maybe an attorney and I assume black based on your book that you have written here and your comments. I can assure you I have spent more time in Criminal courts then you and i am aware of black drug issues and by all means demographics . I have driven while black for some 47 years of my 63 years of life. I have been stopped prior to becoming a law enforcement officer and after i carried a badge. Attitude my attorney friend is what makes the difference. Are there racist cops sure, but black cops are racist too and so are Hispanic cops, they are harder on their own then most go figure. You are and sound like an intelligent man, but you are a bit naive and in denial. The real world counselor is not all the stats you think it is. You keep doing your best for the young bloods out there they need the help.


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