Walmart Shuts Down For 3 Hours After Shoppers Go Crazy

The Los Angeles Times says that a Walmart in Upland, California had to kick everyone out and shut down for 3 hours this morning, because shoppers lost their damned minds.

The store called police for help at around 2:44 a.m.:

Employees said customers began tearing into merchandise that had been shrink-wrapped and were supposed to be opened at 5 a.m.

[...]

Several officers were sent and stood by as shoppers were kicked out and the store closed down. The bargain hunters were told to line up in the parking lot.

Meanwhile, the carts were emptied and all the items returned to the shelves, employees said. But they said that outside, people began “yelling and screaming,” pounding on the glass doors and trying to sneak into the store through the lawn and garden section.


“Black Friday: Wal-Mart in Upland temporarily closes after ‘fighting inside’” [Los Angeles Times] (Thanks to Crazytree!)

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  1. Torchwood says:

    Sigh…. it’s acts like these that make me disgusted that I am a member of the human race.

    • Mr. TheShack says:

      You play Guild Wars?

      • Scatter says:

        God I hope this becomes the case. After all, who do retailers really doing a favor to by making both the customer and the associate get up at 4:00am to sell some crappy item? People line up at 4am because the dumb ass stores open at 4am. Customer get cranky and impatient because they had to get up so early and because they’re in a line at 4am. If the store would just open at a sane normal time like 8:00 or 9:00 people would still show up and they’d still sell out of their stuff but people may be a little less annoyed.

    • TVGenius says:

      Seriously, after reading stuff like this and hearing all the other things that still managed to go wrong at Walmart, I have to think that Black Friday is going to become too risky for stores, meaning the sales won’t be as good because they’re afraid of the riots. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the ‘doorbuster’ items start being almost exclusively online next year to prevent this crap.

  2. ConsumerWolf says:

    We’re all in a severe financial crunch, so BUY BUY BUY!

  3. dragonfire81 says:

    Pack mentality, pack mentality, pack mentality.

    It’s the same primal behavior that resulted in the death of the employee last year.

    I work just down the road from a wal-mart and upon driving to work this morning I saw the Wal-Mart parking lot was FULL (and think for a moment how big those lots are) as were two adjacent lots. Also some of the lots ACROSS THE STREET were partially full. It had to be Wal-mart traffic since none of the businesses that use those lots were even open yet.

    That’s a lot of people in a damned Wal-Mart, no wonder this crap happens all the time.

    • ConsumerWolf says:

      Walmart and their customers deserve each other.

      • dizzie386 says:

        That isn’t fair to say…There are PLENTY of places across the country where the only place to shop (for a reasonable price) is Wal-Mart. Sure, I could go spend an extra $2-$5 on cereal at Kroger, but why? The next closest grocery store is over an hour away…

    • glitch44 says:

      I’m not sure if I’d call it pack mentality. Don’t pack’s work to benefit the pack as a whole? I think it’s more scarcity mentality. “There are only X number of Y item and I have to get one before they run out!”

      • JiminyChristmas says:

        I think herd mentality rather than pack might be the most appropriate descriptor here. When I think ‘pack’ I think wolves, which are clever and guileful creatures. When I think ‘herd’ I think of cows and sheep, either of which might describe the typical Wal-Mart customer pretty well

    • ShadowFalls says:

      No, this is simply the inability of people being able to control themselves. Lines were created for a reason. If you showed up too late then you aren’t as deserving as the ones who showed up before you did. Come on people, be respectful and polite human beings.

  4. LESSTHANKIND says:

    No one NEEDS any of this crap enough to act like crazed animals over it. This ridiculous melodramatic behavior is encouraged by TV cameras always showing up to report the “story” of stores lowering prices a bit on one particular day. These idiots just act out to get on TV, you can see it in the imbecilic expressions on their faces as the camera records the unnecessary stampede when the doors open. They get excited at being part of a so-called news story. When it stops being “news,” people might stop their mugging-for-the-camera, attention-whore behavior.

    • glitch44 says:

      I disagree. The media’s not to blame on this one. People were trampling each other long before Black Friday became an event. I remember the tramplings and fights over Garbage Patch Kids dolls. People don’t need a camera on them to act like animals.

      • LESSTHANKIND says:

        Yes, but now it’s a sport. They show up actually looking forward to there being a stampede, because it looks like such fun on TV to be part of the story. It doesn’t just “happen” now, like it did before. Now it’s something people specifically plan to do, and when the TV cameras are there to record it all, the glee on their faces is all too obvious. They’re doing it on purpose. If they know the local news will be there, they’re darn sure going to give them a show.

        • Shadowfax says:

          Oh please. The media has plenty of faults, but are you seriously suggesting that if I’m a photographer, and a bunch of morons decides to act like idiots in front of my camera, it’s my fault? Give me a break.

          Besides, this story pokes a big old hole in your “blame the media” theory. Namely, the media wasn’t there, and people still went nuts. How do you explain that, hmm?

  5. B1663R says:

    mob mentality is so damn fun isn’t it?

  6. DaveBoy says:

    Just like New Orleans in ’05. We want to think we are better but the truth is we are nothing but animals and it doesn’t take much to bring it out.

    • GadgetsAlwaysFit says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing as I was reading this story. After 2005, I am no longer shocked at humans horrific behavior. Still disappointed though. Maybe that too will wear off as the disappointment becomes stayed.

    • Skunky says:

      Actually I AM better than that, as I didn’t go to a Wal-Mart at all today. :)

  7. MsFab says:

    *sigh* Is it EVER that serious? Why are ppl going so crazy over the opportunity to BUY stuff? Its not like it was free…

  8. Stages says:

    I went to Wal-mart around 4:30 this morning. Maybe it’s because we live in a small town, and Wal-mart is the largest store, but there were no less than 10 police officers standing around the high-demand areas. My Mother-in-Law got a ticket for one of the “blitz” things she wanted, stood in a roped off line by an officer, and got it no problem. It was as painless as Black Friday can get.

    • Coles_Law says:

      Now that sounds like a smart way to do it. Do you know if Walmart was paying for the officers to be there? Even if they weren’t, it’s probably cheaper (and safer) for them to be there than it would be if they had to mount a response to something like this.

    • dizzie386 says:

      In my town (it’s smallish with only about 50,000 and most of them being college students), Wal-Mart is the biggest store (we have that, Office Depot and Kroger…) and there have never been cops around because they just have never been needed. This year was no exception. It is usually about as easy as black Friday can get. :)

  9. umbriago says:

    Remember the Henrico County $50 Mac sale a few years ago? No? I WILL DIE FOR A BARGAIN. not me, personally.

  10. StrangeTikiGod says:

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

  11. sonneillon says:

    At least nobody was trampled to death this year. I suppose the provisions they put into place and the extra training was successful.

  12. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    I think WOOT said it best….

    “Better get back out there, sport. Looks like the mob is starting to pry the demos off the WHOA! Did you see that lady just shiv a guy in the neck and snatch his netbook right out of his cart?! Clean up on aisle AWESOME! You know, on second thought, maybe you should just stick with me. No need to make your wife a widow just before the Holidays.”

  13. Esquire99 says:

    Why is it that people are willing to disregard any sense of decency, decorum, respect, responsibility, etc. just to get a cheap TV, DVD player, toy, etc.? When did it become OK to act like a damned animal just because something is a “good deal?” Like some others, these kinds of stories make me lose faith in humanity.

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      Although I would like to point out that my dog happily shares her toys with other dogs and people and immediately cedes her food dish to my cat. So, I think as an animal she has a little more decency and decorum than Black Friday mob people.

      • Esquire99 says:

        Perhaps I should have said “wild animals,” as you are correct in observing that domesticated animals clearly have more of everything I described than some humans.

    • That's Consumer007 to you says:

      Because corporations tell us what to do now. You are not to have any independent thought, you are to be a good little consumer and BUY BUY BUY, never questioning built in obsolescence, deceptive ever present marketing you can’t EVER escape, the quality of the product made by slave labor in another country, or anything else. The more brainless, desperate and committed you are to put aside anything and everything to buy as you are told the more the absolute goals of our current brand of capitalism are realized: Remove humanity, insert purchase NOW.

  14. Thorzdad says:

    Ah, the consumption-based society. What could go wrong?

  15. Gorbachev says:

    In Soviet US, lines form you.

    What the hell is wrong with people? Is buying cheap crap really that important? People really bought into the whole consumerism thing, eh? Gotta have more cheap crap.

  16. downturnliving says:

    I’m telling you it’s the terrorists, or the liberals, or the conservatives or healthcare or something that’s causing all this bad behavior. There must be someone or some group to blame this on!

    • That's Consumer007 to you says:

      You left the corporate neocon war-starting shills out of your list. The obvious choice.

  17. techphets says:

    Isn’t it beautiful when the Christmas season switches the emphasis in our lives from getting stuff for ourselves to giving things to other people?

    People are sheep, easily led to a slaughter. Walmart is guilty of allowing this sort of thing to happen but who can blame them when they’re not held accountable by us?

    It is downright scary that people get this excited about saving at most a few hundred dollars on a CHEAP item. These are the same people who will resist using coupons and filling out rebates throughout the rest of the year even though they can easily save thousands that way.

    I agree with other posters- the media is a guilty party here too.

  18. Trai_Dep says:

    So it looks like Wal-Mart changed policies from last year, and this resulted in no instances of Wal-Mart deaths for 2009. Yay!
    But.
    Doesn’t this suggest that last year’s fiasco was, in fact, at least partially responsible for that poor guy getting trampled to death?
    Don’t get me wrong: it’s great that Wal-Mart changed its policies. But this suggests culpability for their failed policies of last year.

  19. TailsToo says:

    I had to go get some cold medicine this morning about 11am. Based on the traffic from the mall down the road, you would think that things were given away.

    It really is sad that shopping has become such a huge part of our culture. It seems the holidays are now more about getting and giving crap rather than a time to appreciate your friends and family.

  20. misterfweem says:

    While it’s too bad that this happened, don’t give up your faith in humanity yet. This is just like reporting on a plane crash when hundreds of other planes land successfully; only the bad behavior gets the press. My wife and I were at Wal-Mart this morning and didn’t run into any unpleasantness. Rather, we found a lot of people pretty much like us, having fun and helping each other find the stuff we were interested in.

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      Agreed, we had an OK time at Target ourselves yesterday morning. Of course, we headed there late (about 9 AM).

  21. flugennock says:

    Jesus. H. CHRIST.

    What the hell is this, a new Christmas tradition or something?

    I remember first seeing this kind of shit go down on “Black Friday”, 2003; at the very top of the show on NBC Today, the opening shot of the top story was a shot of people stampeding into a Wal-Mart, just as the store opened — no doubt to coincide with the beginning of the Today Show; the event was shot from inside the store, by a camera at the far end of the space in front of the entrance, so that the view was of a mob bursting through the doors and charging at the camera. As it seemed as if the crazed pack of “consumers” was about to trample the cameraman, NBC cut to a shot of people pushing and shoving each other at an electronics counter, presumably fighting over PlayStation 3′s or something — while, over all this horrifying melee, Matt Lauer is intoning some upbeat rap about how “consumers” are buying, buying, buying, with the implied message being “why aren’t you in this mob? Do your duty, get out there and buy some shit!” Then, they finish off the top-of-the-show segment with an interview with some smarmy prick from the Retailers Association pissing and moaning about how shopping mall store owners might not make their Christmas sales targets. Ewww.

    The entire half hour of the early-morning local news on the local NBC affiliate, prior to the Today Show, was peppered with what was obviously advertising for Best Buy and Wal-Mart, very poorly disguised as news, read to us with a straight face by the anchors. One “news” report featured a remote “stand-up” telecast from in front of a Best Buy where, in the background behind the “reporter”, I could see the beginnings of a fight breaking out in the line. It was positively sickening, and it’s only gotten worse — and I really do think the mainstream media have willingly played a large part in this.

    • StanTheManDean says:

      Well Said.

      Well Said.

      Now take a valium and do a bit of relaxing before you go out to join the crowds.

  22. That's Consumer007 to you says:

    Several thoughts occur to me here:

    1. They reap what they sew – trailer trash store attracts trailer trash shoppers (of all colors). It is truly shameful that people are salivating like rabid pit bulls to shop at a place that uses slave labor to make most of their products and “cheat” to pay getting essentially something for nothing, and doing massive economic damage in the process to American workers.

    2. Clearly WM secretly loves this and many WM stores learned nothing from the previous tragedy where a store employee died, and clearly weren’t ready with security ALREADY at the store. What can be better for business than people savagely killing each other to jump in line just to buy their products?

    3. Why weren’t each of the troublemakers, intruders arrested or at least told to get off the property for good? They are a danger to other shoppers and employees. I saw in another WM story they just taunted police at another store after rushing in before opening and being told to leave.

    4. I’m glad to be fair they did at least call the police and “do over” this time with no deaths to employees or shoppers.

    5. I wonder if the receipt nazis will use the same amount of savagery in checking receipts this season.

  23. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    And we wonder why the rest of the world hate us.

    • TinaBringMeTheAx says:

      Addendum: I was at Macy’s Herald Square at around 8am today. It was crowded, but not at all unruly, and they were very, very well staffed with experienced, professional and helpful people. Some lines were long, but I saw no “cutting” and people seemed, in general, to be happy to be getting some nice bargains.

      …I got this electric blanket I’d been eying for a while at 60% off, and some $45 all cotton button-downs for $19.99.

    • That's Consumer007 to you says:

      Well, to be fair, probably nothing compared to the riot at the Israeli-Palestine WalMart…

    • hypnotik_jello says:

      even the ones that hate us secretly wish to emulate us.

  24. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    This is why the only gift I ever wish for is the power to decide who lives and who dies.

  25. zimmi88 says:

    Yikes… really? I too am losing my faith in humanity. =/

    Ya know, they should have just told those people pounding on the windows and trying to sneak in to go bugger off… NO DEALS FOR YOU! Come back when you can be a mature, responsible being.

    • lim says:

      What I’d do is hang pretty bunting all over the front of the windows and lots and lots on the doors. Then douse it all in chloroform. Now those who feel the need to get up close and personal with the doors get to go back to sleep. Obviously they have forgotten how to be mature and responsible because they are sleep deprived from getting up so early. They probably have also forgoten to brush their teeth, so once the rest of the crowd goes in I’d stick a trial sized Scopeâ„¢ in their pocket, but I’m generous like that.

      Option 2-Electric shock doors!

  26. humphrmi says:

    It sounds like it was a 24-hour Wal-Mart that had a doorbuster sale starting at 5AM, so customers got to hang out inside the store waiting for the deals.

    I always wondered what 24 hour wal-marts do in this case. Sounds like they didn’t have it well planned – of course everyone in the store at 2:30 AM are there to jockey for position for the HDTV’s, Blu-Ray players, and notebooks.

    It occurs to me that since it was a wal-mart that had the horrible trampling death last year, that they would have really, really made sure that they had this planned out – customers *outside*, given tickets for the high-demand items, waiting in well guarded lines. Not inside, allowed to mingle around the doorbuster items.

    • richtergasse says:

      A family friend went to our local 24-hour Wal-Mart for doorbusters this morning. There was no loitering around pallets of goods – all the big-ticket items had numbered passes handed out, and those passes were redeemed at a counter. The pallets of cheap DVDs and toys were out, but for the most part people who were there hours in advance were there for some shiny electronic widget and didn’t care about tearing into boxes of children’s pajamas.

  27. StanTheManDean says:

    The McD’s across the street from me did a good job to prevent the Dollar Crap Store overflow. They closed the store for walk-ins and then prohibited cars from being parked.

    I just locked the farking gate and dared the Dollar Crap Store vermin from even trying to park in my lot.

    PS: I am 3 blocks from the Dollar Crap Store. 3 blocks. From the flashing lights it appears the local PD was having to direct traffic in and out of the Dollar Crap Store parking lot.

  28. The Marionette says:

    Some people just can’t control themselves. It seems a bit childish for the majority of the customers to be acting the way they are. The main thought going around is “I have to get (insert item) before someone else does.” and because of that people stampede into the store, people get hurt and at the end of the day when all is said and done you just get people who are going to be upset regardless if they get what they wanted because either someone else was rude to them or they got physically hurt somehow.

    Although I do blame walmart for this matter as well. If they’re going to have black friday sales, at least have something that’ll line up the customers. Walmart has plenty of money and I’m very positive that they can come up with some method of making the whole ordeal more orderly.

  29. Vipersfate says:

    God this is retarded. People really need to stop being so cannibalistic when it comes to stuff like this. They are items for a lower price, not free. I hope these people feel like assholes now.

  30. Steele says:

    This nearly happened at a WalMart in Las Vegas. We arrived at 4am to find all the main aisles blocked between the pallets of wrapped goods and people lining the aisles with the secondary aisles blocked with carts. The big ticket items, such as the tvs, were roped off with people standing in line.

    Around 430am, we heard yelling and a ruckus towards ahead of us, and quickly moved away. One man decided he wasn’t going to wait until 5am, tore off the wrapping on the RockBand, and began taking two boxes out. That was all it took and everyone in the entire store went nuts over all the items that were in the aisles. The store went nuts and we promptly found a safe area to stand back and just watch.

    There was a fist fight between two women in the toys area. In another part of the store around the same time, a woman fainted and the EMS came. And the store called the police to stand around the big ticket items, which the store decided were not going to be given out until 5am.

    This was our first Black Friday WalMart experience, and will be our last. It is neither worth fighting over, nor putting your well being in danger over material goods.

    • grimJack says:

      Nobody fought in any store I was in today :(

      I wish I was there.

    • etoilegyrl says:

      Something similar happened at the Walmart I was at in Salt Lake City. Some guy decided he couldn’t wait twenty more minutes and grabbed a copy of Rock Band (pretty much the only non-ticketed thing with more shoppers than copies) which caused a chain reaction of chaos throughout the store.

  31. DAK says:

    I used to live in the area and have been to this Walmart before. None of this surprises me, at all.

  32. treefrog says:

    The networks are missing a great concept for a reality show: Black Friday. Watch as 100 crazed shoppers fight, claw and kill to grab and remove 5 free big screen TVs from an arena. No holds barred, weapons provided. Once a month is Mega-Black Friday when up to a thousand slavering numbskulls are turned loose to battle for 3 cars. Mayhem! Consumerism! FUN AND RATINGS!

  33. LoadStar says:

    This isn’t the only story I’ve heard of people tearing the plastic wrap off the piles at Wal-Mart early, although the only one where I heard that they went and closed the store up to try and return the items to the piles.

    If they’re going to leave the merchandise out in the aisles, why don’t they do like most other sane retailers and use merchandise lockers? I mean, when the only thing keeping the customers from grabbing the merchandise early is a flimsy piece of stretch wrap, why are they surprised when customers tear it open early? Or better yet, do like everyone else has done and just hand out tickets instead of leaving the merchandise out. Every year it seems like Wal-Mart does this stupid crap.. then afterwords, they act all surprised and give all these arguments how they’ll do better next year.

    • LadyTL says:

      The problem with that is that there is literally no room in the back for all this merchandise. I unfortunatly work for a walmart and know this first hand.

  34. TVGenius says:

    Some lady got arrested at one of our Walmarts at about 4am for throwing a crock pot at an employee…

  35. Crazytree says:
  36. soj4life says:

    I swear people are getting crazier about this every year. Take a look back at the situation. Stores have to hire police officers, give out tickets and only let so many people into a store at once. Why go through with chaos every year? If Wal-Mart stopped their doorburster black friday sales, every other store would follow suit.

    • Rachacha says:

      Three Words “Cabbage Patch Kids”
      Back in the 1980′s this stuff was going on, but rather than the doorbuster sales, it was going on for a few hot toys with parents getting into fist fights and hair pulling to get the coveted toy.

  37. Sestos says:

    Why do people buy into the Black Friday sales? Unless the sale is a % off the entire store minus certain items (but not the majority of goods) then its a “real” sale. Most of the stuff that is sold at a discount on Black Friday is items that people would not normally buy anyway, not because it was too expensive before but its stuff they know they do not need.

    Yes, you can get a deal on a TV, but chances are while its 50″ its also the entry model with limited inputs, its an HDTV but not 1080P etc.. and may even be last years model, or a model made just for the store and sold no where else.

    The person talking about mob mentality was correct, no one would buy it normally but if you put up a 2 for 1 Sale, people will buy sweaters even if they live in the topics.

  38. WynneSea lion says:

    This kind of thing is unheard of in other countries… what’s wrong with you people?

  39. saltyoak says:

    wow…just wow

    PURE evil, slaves at that. Pretty sure there is a lot of credit cards used as well. I was hoping this was the year we did not feel compelled to show up.

    If you are one in a million, then there 300 just like you, real close by. Think, people, they are us.

  40. Corinthos says:

    A friend at work said there was an employee guarding the GPS and wouldn’t let anyone touch the table they were on and people kept trying to sneak around him. There were 100 there and not even 100 people waiting for them yet. She said they were grab his arm and trying to push him out of the way and calling him names. Thats when I wish these stores weren’t so PC and a manager and LP walk up to someone pushing him and take there picture and tell them to get the hell out of the store and don’t come back.

  41. rockosolido says:

    Shocking! Letting people into a store five hours before Black Friday deals take effect was such a genius idea, who could have possibly thought it would backfire, blowing up in WalMart’s face? On one hand, I have no sympathy for the type of people that behave that way on Black Friday but on the other hand, I have no sympathy for WalMart.

    Really, this is a win-win scenario for me; WalMart looks incompetent and the customers look like greedy children.

  42. Rachacha says:

    It is this attitude that is driving me to making most of my purchases online. Sure, WalMart may be selling a laptop for $200, but it is 8 year old technology. Walmart did have a LCD television on sale for a couple of dollars less than the one that I bought online, but theirs was a no-name 720p, mine was an LG 1080i, but more importantly, I did not need to wait in line for 5 hours in the rain to save $5. I was able to sleep in and purchase while in my jammies.

  43. katia802 says:

    Wahoo! Just won a massage from hubby dearest, he didn’t think Wallyworld would have any problems on black friday. He he he, always bet on the human race to act horribly.

  44. uber_mensch says:

    It’s a page out of ‘The Magic Christian’.

  45. Thora says:

    I was actually right in the middle of the insanity here in Norman, OK. This may be a smaller town but I could not believe how packed the store was. I only went in in the first place just to get a 4 gig thumb drive for $8, nothing else, and it took me about 10-15 minutes just to navigate through the herd of carts & pushy people to get out of electronics. I was mercifully able to check out in jewelry, and I probably saved about 2-3 hours of waiting in line.

    I hate black friday. It is the STUPIDEST thing ever. I fail to understand the mindset behind stores having a huge sale for just a few hours on ONE day of the year. Why not just have moderately lowered prices for like a week or something? One year I went to CompUSA for a $5 SD card & had to wait in line for 3 hours. 3 HOURS.

  46. markmark says:

    The Walmart in my area had 4 police cars outside and 6 officers inside at the doors.
    The Target had one security guard and one officer on a bike.
    I wouldn’t have gone to Walmart if I wasn’t saving $100.

  47. dvdchris says:

    It was not like this at every Walmart in the country. My brother went to one early afternoon on BF and there was a power aisle of doorbusters left. A stack of 75 of those $78 Blu-ray players; 15 $798 Sony Bravia 46″ 1080p TVs; 11 $598 Sanyo 50″ plasma TVs; 14 $448 Emerson 42″ plasma TVs; among other stuff.

  48. Winteridge2 says:

    Isn’t that what Black Friday is all about? Why would the store kick them out? Just toss a few more tvs into the pile and let them go at it! WOO-HOO!

  49. mariospants says:

    Ha, deals this good only come once in a lifetime. Right?

  50. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I would argue that the people who do this on Black Friday act like idiots all of the time. Black Friday just causes more of those idiots to be in the store at one time and carries the implication that their normal level of ridiculousness is socially acceptable.

  51. UrIt says:

    I’m just happy that the Walmart had the gumption to do something about it and keep their employees safe (who knows what it could have ended)