Black Friday violence erupted across the United Kingdom as Walmart-owned Asda stores promised huge savings on electronic goods and then limited purchases to one per family. This was not the only reason for the clashes between shoppers and staff at the retail outlets. Asda was offering up to 70 percent off on selected items and when the stores’ doors opened at 8 a.m. excited consumers stripped some shelves bare in two to three minutes.
One Asda store in the Southwest of Britain in Bristol saw a customer take on five members of staff when he learned that only one television could be bought per person. Leading up to the confrontation, the man filmed the store’s employees and continued to furiously argue his point. The fracas culminated in the troublesome consumer being brought to the ground by Asda staff and held until the police could come and cart the annoyed customer away.
Twitter was full of accounts of Black Friday violence that spread across the United Kingdom. Reports from Belfast, Ireland told of a woman who had her arm broken in a stampede of crazed shoppers. A pregnant woman was pushed down and trampled in another Asda store and reports of retired men and women being punched, pushed, and attacked were also relayed via tweets on the microblogging site.
Other Asda outlets told of shelves being emptied in literal seconds after their doors were opened. One Twitter user, Chris Fitzpatrick tweeted:
The appalling behaviour spread from city to city. Liverpool reported that a female shopper was punched so hard in the face that she required hospitalization during the sales rush. Shoppers who were not fighting to take advantage of the great savings said that the bargain hunters acted like a plague of locusts who decimated shelves full of the best deals in under 10 minutes.
In a North Tyneside Asda, shoppers “overran” the store clearing them of price slashed items in minutes. Online retailers are said to be gearing up for Cyber Monday where shoppers will get to take advantage of more slashed prices. Last year, online retailer Amazon reported a sales rate of 41 items per second and they believe that they will beat that record on this year’s Cyber Monday.
Other large retailers jumped onto the Black Friday sales train. John Lewis, the upmarket department store offered up to 50 percent off selected items. Unlike Asda, John Lewis had no reports of violence from their bargain hunters. Other smaller retailers also participated in the US themed event. Game advertised great savings on last generation games and Maternity brand Isabella Oliver started promoting their Black Friday savings early on Friday morning. The retailer reported an increase of 1,200 percent in their online sales traffic.
Asda, owned by the US retailer Walmart, hired extra security and sales staff for the day. Despite these “safety measures” fights broke out across the United Kingdom as bargain hunting shoppers took full advantage of the UK’s Black Friday sales. Police were called to several Asda stores as fights, assaults and stampeding customers threatened other shoppers safety. At least on Cyber Monday, the only “stampedes” will take place online.
By Michael Smith