November 29, 2013 10:01 am -

walmart-brawl-coloradoFollowing half a week of fawning, buying-season-worshipping news reports on how absolutely wonderful it would be with some major retailers were opening on Thanksgiving Day, it’s no surprise that early reports from the ground via Twitter (and compiled by the good folks at HuffPo) reveal that things at Walmart did not go well late yesterday:

@myrandanikole reported:

Jamie Coogan saw this:

A Brawl broke out at a Rialto Walmart:


A fight broke out in the parking lot of a Walmart in San Bernardino County Thursday night as shoppers jostled in line to take advantage of Black Friday door buster deals.

Tensions were high at the retail giant’s Rialto location because shoppers were cutting in line, said Sgt. Nicholas Borchard, with the Rialto Police Department.

At least three people were involved in the brawl and two have been taken into custody, Borchard said. A police officer suffered a minor, unknown injury.

The incident happened at a Walmart located at 1610 Riverside Ave., according to a Walmart spokeswoman.

The spokeswoman could confirm no other details, saying only that police responded quickly and customer safety is the store’s top priority.

And then there’s this, courtesy Business Insider:

Naturally, Walmart’s corporate honchos are now freaking out:

At 6:30am on Black Friday, Walmart’s US CEO Bill Simon started the morning talk show rounds, first appearing on CNN’s New Day then breakfast juggernaut The Today Show a half hour later.

He defended the big box giant’s decision to kick off its Black Friday sales bonanza at 6pm on Thanksgiving day. “We’re opening a little earlier, because that’s what the industry is heading towards,” he told Today’s anchors.

As Simon prepped for TV, a Walmart press release hit media inboxes announcing a record-breaking Thanksgiving day of sales: 10 million cash register transactions between 6pm and 10pm Thursday alone, the retailer said. Simon described the store chain’s early Black Friday sales as “bigger, better, faster, cheaper and safer than ever.”

Twitter users could be forgiven for contesting that final descriptor. Overnight, the hashtag #WalmartFights started trending across the U.S., according to social media tracker TrendsMapUSA. Shoppers at Walmart stores in a handful of states uploaded photos as well as YouTube and Vine videos showing violence, injuries and arrests during the retailer’s first few hours of sales.

By Black Friday morning, as Simon carried out his televised charm offensive, Twitter users were sharing videos of a battle for discount electronics in Fort Worth, Texas, a scrum over flatscreen TVs that saw shoppers in handcuffs and a fight in North Carolina featuring shrieks of “Oh, my god” in the background.

New York filmmaker Brian Spain was heading back to his hotel after eating Thanksgiving dinner with family when he shot the latter footage in Elkin, N.C. just after 8pm on Thursday. He reportedly got the boot for trying to film the melee.

“I saw the crazy full parking lot at Walmart, so I decided to go in and interview people about why they were there, how they felt about it taking away from the holiday and also how they felt about Walmart wages,” Spain told Forbes.

For sure, nothing reflects the media-engineered “spirit” of the holiday season like pre-black Friday at Walmart. More here.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.