Black Friday Carnage: Officer Suffers Broken Wrist
The holiday shopping season kicked off much earlier this year, as several retailers opened their stores on Thanksgiving Day. Many shoppers didn't like that, but went out anyway. The sales continued through Friday. Things were mostly calm, though there were scattered reports of fights and other problems.
The day after Thanksgiving, called Black Friday, is typically the biggest shopping day of the year. For a decade, it had been considered the official start of the holiday buying season. But in the past few years, retailers have pushed opening times into Thanksgiving night. They've also pushed up discounting that used to be reserved for Black Friday into early November, which has led retail experts to question whether the Thanksgiving openings will steal some of Black Friday's thunder.
The holiday openings came despite threatened protests from workers' rights groups, which are opposed to employees working on the holiday instead of spending the day with family.
Overall, the National Retail Federation expects retail sales to be up 4 percent to $602 billion during the last two months of the year. That's higher than last year's 3.5 percent growth, but below the 6 percent pace seen before the recession.
Analysts expect sales to be generated at the expense of profits, as retailers will likely have to do more discounting to get people into stores.
Here's how the start of the holiday shopping season is playing out. All times are EST, unless otherwise specified.
- Friday, 9:15 a.m.: Police officer suffers broken wrist breaking up fight
Authorities say a police officer suffered a broken wrist as he broke up a brawl between two men waiting in line for Black Friday shopping deals at a Southern California Wal-Mart store.
The San Bernardino Sun says the fight occurred about 7 p.m. Thanksgiving night when store managers decided to open the doors early to accommodate more than 3,000 waiting people. The doors were originally scheduled to open at 8 p.m.
Police say there were three fights at the store in Realto. Two of them were inside over merchandise; the third was outside, when the officer got injured.
One of the men involved in the fight outside was arrested for suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. Police allege that he was kicking the other man in the head when he was down on the ground.
- Friday, 9:05 a.m.: Online shopper joins sister for Black Friday retail frenzy
Jill Teal said she does most of her shopping online, but she was out at Kohl's department store in Clifton Park with her sister, Judy Espey. Their shopping trip started at 4 a.m.
Espey, the mother of three children ages 12 to 16, said her purchases included the Beats line of headphones and speakers.
She actually began her shopping Thursday night, when she ducked out after having dinner with her family to buy a 50-inch flat-screen television at Wal-Mart for $288. But said she's not thrilled that stores now open on Thanksgiving, believing that it takes away from the fun of shopping with friends on Black Friday.
"I don't really dig the Thanksgiving night thing. I feel bad for the workers," Espey said. "They've ruined Black Friday."
- Chris Carola, Associated Press, Clifton Park, N.Y.
- Friday, 8:50 a.m.: Promises, promises - deal guarantee falls through in Florida.
Crowds waiting for vouchers for a deal on televisions walked away empty-handed after an in-stock guarantee fell through at a Wal-Mart store near Tampa, Fla.
Wal-Mart had promised that shoppers can get a voucher to buy the product later if a store is sold out, as long as the shopper is inside the store within one hour of a doorbuster sales event. At the store in Lutz, Fla., that meant either a television or a voucher for anyone in line before 7 p.m. Thursday.
Customers told Bay News 9 that by 7:15 p.m., they were told that all the televisions - and vouchers - were gone.
Pasco County Sheriff's deputies who were already working at the store were asked for assistance. The crowd didn't get unruly, but customers told the television station they were upset.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Danit Marquardt said the company is looking into the situation.
"It is always our goal to take care of our customers - especially on an important shopping day like Black Friday."
- Friday, 6:50 a.m.: Two hurt as police respond to shoplifting call
Authorities say a police officer answering a call of alleged shoplifting at a Chicago area department store shot the driver of a car that was dragging a fellow officer.
The wounded driver of the car and the dragged officer were both taken for hospital treatment of non-life-threatening shoulder injuries, police say. Three people were arrested.
Mark Turvey, police chief in Romeoville, Ill., said police got a call shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday of two people allegedly shoplifting clothes from a Kohl's store in the southwest Chicago suburb.
"As officers approached the front door, one of the two subjects ran out the door into the parking lot" and the officer chased him to a waiting car, Turvey said.
"The officer was struggling with the subject as he got into the car and then the car started to move as the officer was partially inside the car. The officer was dragged quite some distance. He couldn't get out," Turvey said.
The police chief said a backup officer fired two or three shots toward the driver when he refused orders to stop, striking him once in the shoulder.
There were no reports of any injuries to shoppers hunting for deals ahead of Black Friday.
A store manager contacted early Friday said he had no further information and referred The Associated Press to a corporate spokeswoman, who didn't immediately return a message Friday.