The 4 a.m. alarm goes off. Your gut is still gurgling – it’s that extra slice of pumpkin pie mixing with all of that gravy. You should be excited about Black Friday, but instead you’re wracked with indecision. You’ve got a bad feeling about November 23, 2012, a feeling that makes you think the Mayans were off by about a month. The world will end on this day, you’ve decided. Maybe it’s the manic laugh of Tickle Me Elmo that haunted your dreams last night. Maybe all of those ads have finally made you crack. Or maybe you’re right. Maybe something bad is going to happen.
Your mind’s already gone, but before you lose your life over those early bird specials, take a minute to reflect upon these five true Black Friday horror stories.
1. Trampled to Death Over a Bunch of Toys. On 2008’s Black Friday, 34-year-old temporary holiday employee Jdimytai Damour suffered a tragic death under the feet of an unmanageable crowd of holiday shoppers at a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, NY. Don’t let the mob mentality of Black Friday get to you. You don’t want to end up with manslaughter on your record and a death forever on your conscience.
2. Miscarriage in Aisle 3. At the same New York Wal-Mart in 2008, a 28-year-old woman miscarried after being pushed to the ground during the rush into the store. Before you and your baby bump head out to score that amazingly cheap flat-screen TV, think about the danger that surrounds this insane celebration of American consumerism. You’re better off reading books to your kid, anyway.
3. Death Threats ‘R’ Us. In 2010, a Madison, WI woman decided to skip ahead of hundreds of other shoppers at a local Toys ‘R’ Us. She didn’t get to the front with pleases and thank-yous, though. Instead, she threatened to shoot those who stood in her way. If you’re trying to come up with a scheme to get ahead in line on Black Friday, please don’t terrify your fellow shoppers with gun threats. It’s not polite.
4. Blinded by Bargains. Last year, at a Wal-Mart in Los Angeles, a woman pepper-sprayed a crowd of shoppers – either because the store’s video game sale was just that exciting or because it would have cost her precious seconds to flip through to her machine pistol. Ten unlucky customers received treatment from firefighters for their burning eyes. In this season of peace and joy, remember: don’t blind other people.
5. Watch Out, Shoplifters – Black Friday Police Brutality. Also last year, police in Buckeye, AZ beat an elderly man who was suspected of shoplifting on Black Friday. The man, who was attempting to free his hands to pick up his fallen grandson, fell face-first into the ground after an officer tripped him. Upsetting video footage of the cops handcuffing the bleeding and unconscious man shows the dark side of Black Friday shopping. So if you think you can swipe a few gifts without getting caught during all the chaos, watch this video and think again.
This Black Friday, you might want to trust your gut feeling when that early morning alarm starts ringing. Maybe you don’t really need that gaming console. With all of the insanity that surrounds Black Friday, you’re better off staying in bed. The odds that you’ll end your Black Friday in a casket or a hospital bed rather than on your couch are greater than you’d think.