It‚Äôs Black Friday, the biggest day of discount shopping in the U.S., and horror stories are pouring in from across the country. Amid all of the ruckus on Black Friday one video that has caught the attention of the nation was uploaded to Twitter (check out the similar video from YouTube above).
The video shows dozens of people in a Walmart near Little Rock, Arkansas, fighting over a limited supply of a two-portion waffle maker. The $2 version of the waffle maker is a machine that only produces two waffles at a time. Walmart has another 4-waffle version with a much higher price per waffle.
In the video, the fighting goes on for some time. The original video (see it on Mashable here) was uploaded by a young woman named Ms. Clark. A search throughout her photos and profiles reveals she is from the Little Rock area.
After the video went viral, sites all across the web began to offer their commentary. Gawker wrote that the video embodies everything that’s “awesome” about America, including the “horrible economy, aggressive consumerism, mindless violence and a complete lack of concern for one’s fellow human beings.”
However, there’s even more disturbing, than ‘Fight Over $2 Waffle Makers at Walmart’ incident. A woman at a Los Angeles-area Walmart sprayed her fellow customers several times last night, in what police deemed an act of ‘competitive shopping,’ the LA Times reports. “She was trying to use it to gain an upper hand,‚ÄĚ one police lieutenant said. Twenty people suffered minor injuries, according to the AP, and police are still looking for the sprayer.
Matthew Lopez went to the Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch on Thursday night for the Black Friday sale but instead was caught in a pepper-spray attack.¬†Lopez described a chaotic scene in the San Fernando Valley store among shoppers looking for video games soon after the sale began.
“I heard screaming and I heard yelling,” said Lopez, 18. “Moments later, my throat stung. I was coughing really bad and watering up.” Lopez said customers were already in the store when a whistle signaled the start of the Black Friday sale at 10 p.m., sending shoppers hurtling in search of deeply discounted items.
Lopez said that by the time he arrived at the video games, the display had been torn down. Employees attempted to hold back the scrum of shoppers and pick up merchandise even as customers trampled the video games and DVDs strewn on the floor. “It was absolutely crazy,” he said.
Another customer¬†Alejandra Seminario, 24, said she was waiting in line to grab some toys at the store around 9:55 p.m. when people the next aisle over started shouting and ripping at the plastic wrap encasing gaming consoles, which was supposed to be opened at 10 p.m.
“People started screaming, pulling and pushing each other, and then the whole area filled up with pepper spray,” the Sylmar resident said. “I guess what triggered it was people started pulling the plastic off the pallets and then shoving and bombarding the display of games. It started with people pushing and screaming because they were getting shoved onto the boxes.”
The pepper spray wafted through the air, Seminario said, and she breathed some in and started coughing. Her face also started itching. “I did not want to get involved. I was too scared. I just stayed in the toy aisle,” she said.
By the time she and her husband, 27-year-old Cesar Seminario, got to the cash register 20 minutes later with a Wii gaming console and some Barbie dolls, the air was still smelling of pepper spray, she said.
Wal-Mart employees were taking statements near the front of the store from about eight customers who had been pepper-sprayed, Seminario said. “After we paid, we saw five that were in really bad shape,” she said. “They had been sprayed in the face, it looked like, and they had swelling of the face, really extreme swelling of face, redness, coughing.”
Joseph Poulose, who said he was hit with the spray near the DVD and video games display, criticized the store for failing to control the crowds. “There were way too many people in a building that size. Every aisle was full,” he said.
Customers were stomping on photo frames and other items on the floor, said Poulose, who tried to protect his pregnant wife from the throng of shoppers inside. “It was definitely the worst Black Friday I‚Äôve ever experienced,” he said.