It’s Black Friday, and in keeping with the Holiday weekend tradition, media commentator Mark Dice traveled to Wal-Marts and other stores to document the “zombie apocalypse” of half-awake consumers hell-bent on elbowing past their peers so they can be sure to get the best deals on electronics, books, video games, clothes and any number of other popular holiday gift items. Of course, as Dice points out, many of the same deals can also be found on a little website called Amazon.com without the hassle of pushing through crowds.
After last year’s disappointing sales totals, retail analysts expect holiday weekend spending to come roaring back this year: According to Fox Business, spending per capita is expected to climb 47% compared with last year’s holiday weekend, up from $505 to $743. An estimated 164 million people are planning to shop or are considering shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. In a rare, positive piece of news for America's beleagured retailers, Americans had already spent $1.52 billion, which is a 17% increase from last year. The warm autumn means fashion sellers are looking to offload masses of unsold coats, boots and woollens.
But for everyone who isn’t participating in the retail madness, plenty of videos and images have already emerged on social media of brawls, fistfights and stampedes in the US and around the world as the traditional Black Friday hysteria sets in.
The Riverchase Galleria in Alabama, a group of shoppers shouted and pounded one another with their fists while an unlucky few were trampled.
Meanwhile, a midnight brawl broke out at one California mall as two shoppers brutally pummeled each other.
Of course, the carnage wasn’t limited to the US. One video circulating on Twitter depicted a mass of shoppers swarming a game store in Cape Town, South Africa.
Black Friday on Flakka Level. pic.twitter.com/1oBQ9xScLD
— Sandile ???????? (@SirVincent_M) November 24, 2017
…and a multiperson brawl erupted outside the Eastgate Shopping Center in Johannesburg.
— Sharlene Rood (@ssharim) November 24, 2017
At another American all, a scuffle broke out over…toilet paper?
— Kachi Sam A (@samonyeoo) November 24, 2017
One radical feminist protester hijacked Black Friday sales at a Kiev sweet shop by throwing items around topless. The protester identified with the Femen movement, which has staged many similar protests in Russian and Ukraine.
The shop – owned by Roshen – was named after former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, whose family famously owned a chocolate empire, as the Daily Mail pointed out.
At a shop in Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, huge crowds can be seen struggling to get hold of huge Samsung TVs.
In another of the images, a worker climbed a stack of electronics and attempted to marshal the chaos by using a vuvuzela horn. But his efforts failed to stem the swarming crowds.
According to local media reports quoted by the Mail, at least 68% of the Brazilians bought something during Black Friday, a number that compared with the 61% of last year and shows a slow increase of the economy.
Even in Athens, where the shaky Greek economy has only recently returned to growth, shoppers lined up in search of deals. Photos taken show some happy customers carrying away TVs.
In the UK, where Black Friday isn’t as chaotic as it is in other parts of the world, shoppers are expected to spend nearly £8 billion this weekend. In New York City, Macy's Herald Square finally opened its doors at 5pm on Thanksgiving Day for thousands of early Black Friday shoppers in search of amazing sales, door buster deals, and limited-time-offers. Macy's CEO Jeffrey Gennnette has said that spending so far on Black Friday is already slightly better than it was last year.
But the day is still young, and as the hours pass, we imagine more outrageous stories of brawls, shootings and other shocking behavior will emerge on social media…
…and we'll be here to chronicle all of it.