Britain today received another unwelcome foreign immigrant – it’s called Black Friday and this alien influence comes from the US of A. In the US, the Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday – Black Friday – has been the biggest shopping day of the year since 2001. Consumers in the UK have been becoming more aware of the US tradition, and UK retailers have been investing in Black Friday promotions.
So, true to the All American original, scenes of violence and chaos broke out across the UK today as millions of customers behaving ‘like animals’ flooded shops and supermarkets to try and get their hands on cut-price goods during the Black Friday sales. Police were called to dozens of supermarkets as the midnight sales descended into chaos, with shoppers resorting to wrestling one another on the shop floor as they competed for TVs discounted by as little as £60.
One Tesco store in Manchester had to be closed just 36 minutes after opening due to fighting, while another customer was arrested on suspicion of assault in the Salford branch after allegedly telling staff member that he would ‘smash their face in’. The chaos in Manchester – described by one shopper as ‘a warzone at midnight’ – even led to one woman being injured by a falling TV, while a fight broke out when a teenage girl starting throwing advent calendars around a store.
— Laurence Topham (@loztopham) November 28, 2014
As the discounting frenzy reached fever pitch, there were also reports of staff being left in tears in Cardiff, while another female staff member was apparently given a black eye following a melée in Stretford. At a Tesco store in Eastville, Bristol, four determined customers were captured on camera grappling over a 50inch Blaunpunkt TV, reduced from £399 to £249, which had just arrived in a fresh batch of deliveries – which the shop assistant barely had time to open.
— G M Police (@gmpolice) November 28, 2014
A senior police officer has now hit out at the supermarkets for failing to have adequate security in the run-up to the Black Friday sales. Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Sir Peter Fahy said the mayhem which broke out overnight were ‘totally predictable’ but that stores did not have enough staff on duty in the run-up to the manic sales. He said: ‘The events of last night were totally predictable and I am disappointed that stores did not have sufficient security staff on duty. This created situations where we had to deal with crushing, disorder and disputes between customers. It does not help that this was in the early hours when police resources are already stretched.’
Good to see the celebrations of how we are overcharged 364 days a year went so well.