Twitter erupted Thursday night when users started posting pictures and videos to the popular social media site, under the hashtag #walmartfights. The pictures and videos posted were taken at Black Friday shopping events at Walmart stores across the U.S. Many fights between shoppers had erupted in the aisles while bystanders took pictures and videos and posted them to their Twitter accounts.
One Twitter user that goes by the moniker, brianspain, tweeted from his account @soidecidedto, that he was kicked out of Walmart for taking the video of shoppers ripping boxes and packages from other shopper’s hands. The video was posted to his YouTube account under his name “So IDecidedTo.” The video went viral and recorded over 800,000-views in just a few hours.
Other pictures and videos surfaced on social media, depicting ambulances and police vehicles in the Walmart store parking lots. In some videos, police tried to break-up the madness while the shopping chaos erupted into fights. The officers at the locations were highly outnumbered by the Black Friday deal-shoppers.
Some locations reporting fights were: Johnson City, Tennessee; Jordan Creek, Iowa; Rialto, California; and Beaumont, Texas.
A Walmart parking lot in Claypool Hill, Virginia, appeared to be the location of a stabbing. In an interview with WVVA,Tazewell County Sherriff, Brian Hieatt, said that two men, 35-year-old Christopher Jackson and 61-year-old Ronnie Sharp had a disagreement over a parking space in the Walmart’s parking lot. The argument escalated when Sharp pulled a knife and stabbed Jackson in the arm, slicing him to the bone. Sharp was charged by police malicious wounding. Police also confiscated a rifle from Sharp and charged him with brandishing a firearm.
Walmart spokesperson, Brooke Buchanan, told the Huffington Post, that the reported fights on Twitter did not accurately depict what she called a successful Black Friday sale for the retailer. Buchanan said that they received great feedback from customers and associates from across the U.S. Buchanan said that what was posted on Twitter, did not actually occur at all 4,600 stores across the nation.
Retailers regularly make up 20-40 percent of their annual sales between Thanksgiving day, Black Friday weekend, and right up to the holiday season. This year saw many store workers and fed-up shoppers protesting on Facebook and signing petitions complaining about the year’s biggest sale events. The petitions that were signed complained that modern consumerism at holiday time has wrecked the holidays for many, as this time of year was once meant to be reserved for spending time with their families. Other social media post criticized retail companies for forcing their workers to work on the Thanksgiving and other holidays.
Black Friday has been known to cause violence to erupt at stores in past years. Walmart is just one of many stores that opened their doors Thursday night. Some shoppers have decided to fore-go the Thanksgiving weekend shopping spree, and decided to do their deal-shopping online.
Black Friday sale events are scheduled at many retailers right through the holiday weekend, all across the U.S. and beyond.
By Brent Matsalla