Black Friday is here again, bringing with it an onslaught of ridiculous deals, impulse gift-buying and bulk packs of products you’d never normally bat an eyelid at.
Unfortunately, along with all those discounted microwaves and half-price electric toothbrushes, the world’s busiest shopping day also causes a lot of injuries, and even some fatalities, too.
In the last 11 years, 10 people have died as a direct result of Black Friday violence, and more than a hundred have sustained serious wounds in the shopping panic. So what exactly went down?
The very first death happened almost a decade ago – back when Black Friday was still a relatively young novelty.
A Walmart employee named Jdimytai Damour was trampled by approximately 200 people who had flooded into the store in order to snap up a seasonal bargain. One of Damour’s colleagues, who witnessed the scene, described the terrifying moment in which hundreds of aggressive shoppers hurtled into the unsuspecting man.
“They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me,” he said. “They took me down, too … I didn’t know if I was going to live through it. I literally had to fight people off my back.”
Dozens of more stampedes have happened since then, but this was the only one that resulted in a fatality. A similar incident in 2011 saw a 61-year-old man collapse in a Target store, but he died because of a pre-existing heart condition – not trampling. However, because of the Black Friday rush, other shoppers neglected to stop and help him, even going so far as to step over his body while he lay dying.
The most common cause of death in Black Friday incidents – perhaps unsurprisingly – is gun violence. Five people in total have been shot and killed in altercations sparked by shopping feuds. In 2008, two people sustained fatal gunshot wounds in a California Toys R Us; in 2016, one person was killed at a mall in Nevada while another was gunned down in New Jersey; and a final incident last year resulted in a death after one man was shot during an attempt to break up a fight between a man and a woman.
Two car crashes – one in 2012 and one in 2013 – caused a total of three deaths, and were tied to Black Friday because the drivers of the vehicles were exhausted from shopping.
Amongst the dozens of non-fatal accidents, perhaps the weirdest ones that stand out are a policeman getting stabbed in the neck, a number of pepper-spray attacks, and one incident of a half-naked guy using his belt to whip people that were getting in his way.
So, if you’re planning on hitting the sales this year, make sure you come prepared to get caught up in some rough crowds. If you want my advice, maybe pad yourself out with a few pillows or something. You know, just in case.
If you want to see the full list of incidents (along with a real-time count of deaths and injuries), you can find it here.