Video Of Black Friday shoppers trampled At Target store

From Sociological Images: "In this video we see people trampled at a 4am opening of a North Buffalo Target on the Friday after Thanksgiving."


    1. Yay America!

      You must be an American.

      People get trampled the world over by unthinking mobs, but most Americans are too up on events that happen outside of the country’s borders, so they thing a lot of things are American phenomena that really aren’t.

      Lots of pet theories are getting some fresh air on this thread. We’ve had political party bashing, poor bashing, country bashing, economic theory bashing….

      I’m a bit surprised that there hasn’t been any of the standard BB Libertarian bashing (“hey, that’s what the free market produces”) or Christian bashing (“hey, look at this ‘religious’ holiday!). Yet.

      1. So, BB thread-bashing then? I mean, really, what is a blog thread for? Yeah, we’re armchair theorists. It does little good for society as a whole but it’s a form of venting I suppose. When it comes to Christian-bashing, it wouldn’t really apply here. Even the most athiestic amongst us would probably agree that this has nothing to do with Christianity. (Remember what Linus says…).

        As for libertarian-bashing, c’mon. They just set themselves up so nicely for mockery.

  1. Most of them are probably poor and the money that they’ll save means they have to risk getting trampled. The section of American society that’s wrong is the Republicans who have destroyed the middle class.

    1. That was probably the most ignorant comment on here so far. If you believe there is a difference between politicians you are as ignorant as they want you to be. The left and the right are both destroying this country in their own special way.

      1. If you want to see truly mind-boggling ignorance, check out some of my comments on other posts. Imagine a palm slapping a human face — forever.

      2. Not that Mark isn’t capable of defending his own statement, but your false equivilancy is just too glaring to pass without comment. The Republican Party, as it exists today, is brazenly opposed to the poor and middle class. Their unilateral opposition to health care reform, renewable energy policy, science-based education, and financial sector reform is well-documented.

        The truly sad part is, all of those issues were once non-partisan. Look at Eisenhower-era Republicanism (which embraced ideas like infrastructure investment and entitlements as well as a sound and limited military policy) today it would be labeled “socialist” and decried by the greek chorus of ignorance in the right-wing media.

        The Republican Party sold it’s soul to the southern strategy, and now, as America moves from a nation of a majority to a nation of many minorities, the panic in the air is palpable.

        While I’m on the left, I have many good friends and family members who are moderate Republicans. They are baffled by a party that seems more interested in assuring the welfare of billionaires than in building roads and sound governance.

        The Democrats might be prone to circular firing squads, but they are nowhere near as terrifying as the void that seems to dwell at the heart of the modern GOP.

        My apologies for getting wildly off-topic.

      3. Stores actively and passively encourage this behavior by offering exhausted people the opportunity to *physically* compete for a very small number of loss-leader items.

        And I’m disappointed with some of the comments…like the people competing for these trinkets *deserve* to be crushed.

    2. What makes you believe that they’re all poor?

      We have a consumer culture. We’re bombarded with advertising that aims to make us behave exactly like this. Some of us resist better than others. The ads leading up to Black Friday were intolerably depressing: Spend! Spend! Spend! DEALS! Spend on DEALS! Get STUFF! SPEND!

      And then you have a mob to make it worse.

      I think it’s condescending to conclude that the only people who would behave like this are poor and trying to get products that otherwise they couldn’t afford. The middle class is just as capable of going crazy for the opportunity to get something for cheaper. (And judging by my own experience, more likely to be free on that Friday in the first place.)

      1. I resonate with this. A couple years ago I got a surprisingly good job and a good break. I’m not whining, I’ve had some good luck. But before that for many years I was extremely poor, and I grew up in a family that didn’t have much. I, or we, never did things like this. We knew we couldn’t afford that shit. Even on discount I couldn’t afford it.

        This is a consumer culture problem. Those people don’t need the shit they’re trampling each other to buy, and if they have to kill each other over it… they can’t afford it.

        “And judging by my own experience, more likely to be free on that Friday in the first place”

        This is true. Back then, on black friday… I was at work.

    3. Come on Mark. Poor is starving refugees waiting for a bag of flour.

      These are greedy, overfed Americans fighting with each other to buy new toys because they buy into the artificial scarcity created by manufacturers.

    4. Agreeing with Mark. Also, I’m pretty sure that the corporate honchos who set up these asinine sales are as much to blame.

    5. I wish somebody would wake these people up and teach them how to make things (on a personal scale). I was pretty broke last Christmas, so I dug into my yarn stash and knitted everybody some snazzy custom hats.

      Unfortunately, I doubt the average American would appreciate a home-made item that much these days. Like theawesomerobot said, for a lot of people, if they don’t get the hottest brand name item, Christmas will be ruined.

    6. How could the Republicans (and Democrats) resist the urge of treating the general populace like cattle when they so willingly and enthusiastically behave like livestock? I blame society, man.

    7. Yeah, I’m poor, too, so therefore I didn’t run out on Friday to buy a smartphone or big screen TV. btw, I’m generally a liberal, so I do understand the remarks about the decline of the middle class, but nothing excuses the lack of common decency and respect for other people.

    8. I’m sorry, but do you not see some kind of connection between: (1) not having a lot of money, and (2) being such a dedicated, crass consumer that you trample people to buy electronics you can’t afford?

      This isn’t a run on a UN food wagon. It’s a bunch of assholes purposefully putting themselves and others in a potentially lethal situation. And why are they doing it? To save 30% on an oversized TV, so their $100 a month cable looks a little better.

      The actual downtrodden, I’d be willing to bet, have better things to do than act like animalistic jackasses: like getting some sleep, if they actually have the holiday off.

  2. Makes me glad I don’t do that at all. If I want to get trampled, I would rather it be in the afternoon.


    Agreed…but they are probably the same people who vote Republican cause they are scared of the “black man” in the White House who is trying to destroy America.

  3. Nobody’s mentioned it yet but I did not see one thin person in that whole video! Has America really become that fat? Is this the only exercise they get all year? I guess there really are “buffaloes” in Buffalo!

    1. An interesting comment. Do you know that research indicates that people “see” things that they relate to, despite the existence of other things that do not.

      In this case, you are either 1) a “buffalo” yourself, or 2) you feel like a buffalo despite the fact that you are thin.

      I saw several “thin” people in this video. Perhaps you just need new glasses.

  4. I really don’t understand these people. I doesn’t make sense to me. here’s a video I took of the line in front of old navy at midnight.

    there were so many people!

  5. Fills me with the holiday spirit!

    And yes,imposing a two-party dialectic on the discussion isn’t the best way of going about understanding what’s happening and where things are going.

    And yes, they’re all pretty fat (and I imagine not too bright). You can apply any theory you want on why these people exists — regardless, they exist (and at this point they are probably the majority, so they should be considered the normal ones).

    Videos of the future!

    1. That’s the first thing I noticed also–the stats put about 50% of Americans as overweight but here in Chicago you mostly see the hipsters in their skinny jeans—clearly the region has an effect on weight. My cousin is actually an epidemiologist who works on this kind of thing—-she uses satellite images and a lot of it has to do with the availability of sidewalks, public transit and the like. It’s amazing to see the difference in this image though.

  6. Yes, that is why it is a waste to bail out the descending middle class. God, they overeat when they don’t have enough money, they act uncivilized with the least little prompting from advertising, and the shop at Target which imports goods from evil China.

    Thank god we can bail out the corporate executives who can buy tasteful $23,000 shower curtains. It’s gonna trickle down eventually. Be patient!

    1. by ‘them’ do you mean black or poor.. lots of surprising ignorant comments here.

      Badly organised opening of a shop offering massive discounts… could and does happen anywhere… People get crushed at the opening sale of the upmarket store Harrods in London.

  7. here’s the solution: you don’t let a line form close to the entrance and you only let in one small group at a time, like a roller coaster cue.

    i hope Target gets sued royally because this video plays out every year.

  8. At first I thought about why people would act that way, and the ‘poor’ angle that some folks mentioned.

    Then I saw how folks just didn’t care – and kept rushing through and looking / fixating on deals. This isn’t about caste , this is about class — not economic but manners. There’s a term for people who don’t care they’re trampling others – much less those who don’t stop to lend a hand to someone : fucking assholes. All these folks cared about was a cheaper TV, and their greedy little minds don’t care about anything else.

    The fact that they’re all obese too? Figures. If someone doesn’t care about their own bodies, or how they feed their own children — how can you expect them to be even semi-decent to strangers ?

    1. I’d take my chances being helped by a fat person any day, compared to someone so prejudiced they think someone’s weight has to do with their empathy.

  9. I like how eventually people realized that the trampling was causing the entry to be clogged, so they didn’t have to hurry as much.

  10. hmmm. My first thought was the Target should have forseen this. But then again, other posters have correctly identified that the fatness of the members of crowd is reasonable evidence that there is a general problem with impulse control.

    This brings it back to politics. What these folks are doing (in this case with extra money from across the board tax cuts) is basically doing what we are all doing in America and the rest of the hyper-capitalist world: asserting our “freedom” in the form of an entropy debt that is pushed off into the future. Energy debt, pollution, clogged arteries, health problems and no theory of how we will pay.

  11. I spend Thanksgving in Buffalo every year and, um, have family members who go to Target/Wal Mart/etc. at 4AM. They are not poor. Repeat, THEY ARE NOT POOR. They just like buying shit. Lot’s of shit. Because it’s “cheap” and they are getting “deals”. They will buy DVD’s regardless of the content, if the price is $1.99.

    I sleep at 4AM. They go out and buy shit they don’t need. They have these huge DVD collections. Easily 1/3’rd of them have never been opened.

    1. Are you actually from the Buffalo area? If not, you may think you’re in Buffalo but probably are actually in the suburbs. Especially if you’re in Amherst, you may not realize how bad things are directly in and around Buffalo itself. There are plenty of people who live closer to or in the city that aren’t poor. But, most *are* poor.

      I know which Target store this is. There are closer and nicer ones to where my parents live (and where I grew up) so I never go there… but also, it’s in a crappier area.

      Anyway, I don’t watch the local news myself, but my parents do and while I’ve been at home the past couple months (unemployed) I’ve caught the news most days. As far as I can tell, this was never mentioned locally.

  12. And yet, BB commenters trample each other to prove who has the least empathy and compassion. Which crowd is worse?

    1. That’s a fair comment but I do have to wonder of empathy and compassion are what’s necessary here. I don’t agree with Frauenfelder that this is strictly an issue of the poor in the absence of a stable middle class. Black Friday has been an ongoing and progressively worse event since I believe the 1980s, through good times and bad. That the middle class is being gutted I think is a separate issue. As others have said, these buyers are often the middle-class and lower middle-class looking for cheap electronics. Yes, there are poor people amongst all that and I’m sure there are more poor people than ever scrambling.

      What is probably more likely is that this is a reminder of how base our consumerist tendencies have become. We’re all prone to this. We can sneer at these people and still line up for hours to be the first for an iPhone or to see some crappy expensive film. I’m sure a much more nuanced reading of all this could be done but I just think this is sad. If that makes me seem without compassion or empathy, so be it. I’m trying not to be smug because I do stupid things too, often involving spending money. If you saw my credit rating you’d have very little empathy for me either.

      1. The post refers to “people trampled” and yet none of the comments mention them. When all the commenters are too busy reviling the tramplers to say anything about the tramplees, I’m reminded of Mark’s phrase, “If you’re the sort of person who likes to get angry…”

        1. Huh? Every post mentions them. If by now you don’t know that being one of the first 100 people in line at Target on Black Friday means there is a chance you will get trampled….. well, nobody can save your from yourself I guess.

        2. Is there a difference? Were the people trampled pushing in there to buy donations for their local charities? The only difference I can think of is that some of them stayed vertical.

      2. That the middle class is being gutted I think is a separate issue.

        How many of the items sold that morning do you suppose were made by American workers?

  13. I generally avoid shopping on Black Friday, since I hate my fellow man. But when I do go, I find it perfectly civilized. After 1 PM, that is. The limited-quantity deals are all gone by then, but they’re never worth my dignity. These people think otherwise. They are not trampling each other for food. They are trampling each other for a discount on a flat screen TV. Whatever their tax bracket, they deserve contempt, deep withering utter contempt for that.

  14. This makes me angry on so many levels. And I’m tired so the focus goes away towards the end.

    Given that most of us live in this materialistic, post-industrial society, we are all in some way complicit in this shit. Either we support Target (or Walmart, or BestBuy, whatever) with our dollars at other points in the year. Or: we work for a company that produces a product sold there. Or: we review or promote those products on our blogs. Basically: if you are not 100% off the grid (ergo not reading this rant), growing your own food, living in a yurt, you are tied to this somehow; its just a matter of degrees.

    Does anyone NEED these goods, no. Are there better ways to get these goods, yes. But imagine for a minute that you (or your kids) don’t have a computer. Now imagine a BigBox store is selling a $200 computer. Sure its probs a crap computer and you could get one/build one better from parts on-line. But you don’t know that b/c you don’t have a computer!

    Part of this is about access to a high-tech, middle-class culture that is predicated on access to goods. “Certain sections of American society” are stuck on the very-broad, oft-ignored margins.

    Stop thinking that you’re better than these people.

  15. Many of the comments may be true, but Target has seriously cheap diapers.

    They also donate $ to rather conservative causes. But again, they can just paper this over with diapers.

  16. A few years back I had the joy of working a holiday season at a Target in Milwaukee. The official word from the security staff was that they didn’t have any official line for entrance. This was after Walmart was successfully sued over a trampling at one of their stores. I was supposed to report for work at 5:45 with the doors opening at 6am. So naturally I strolled in right at 6 and a woman grabbed me by the jacket and screamed in my ear, “There’s a line!” Luckily there was a security guy nearby to let her know I was a worker, she looked ready to kill.

  17. I generally avoid shopping on Black Friday, since I hate my fellow man. But when I do go, I find it perfectly civilized. After 1 PM, that is. The limited-quantity deals are all gone by then, but they’re never worth my dignity. These people think otherwise. They are not trampling each other for food. They are trampling each other for a discount on a flat screen TV. Whatever their tax bracket, they deserve contempt, deep withering utter contempt for that.

  18. I don’t think this is at all about money, or even getting particularly good deals. It’s a cultural thing. I think shopping the morning after thanksgiving is a tradition for some people. They are supposed to be excited about it, that’s the social expectation. Sure they may be competing for deals, but I’d be very surprised if the same deals offered any other day of the year would generate the same crowds or mob mentality.

    And remember, before we put down people or politicans: people of all social and intellectual backgrounds can form mobs/demonstrate social apathy and diffusion of responsibility.

  19. This tendency towards impulsive and excessive consumption is not unique to the US and emerging economies expect to do the same. When China and India become as profligate with energy and other resources as the US is, the the world really will be in real trouble.

    The almost exclusive biz model for the Web is advertising, and you’re likely to see plenty of product placement in the latest movie. Believe me, if the advertising didn’t work, it wouldn’t be used.

    Be grateful for the little stimulus these folks are supplying to this stagnant economy.

  20. Is saving money a factor? Yes. Is winning that “deal” a factor? Yes.

    But really, it’s about a group/mob of people who woke up early because they’re excited about something. Once a group gets excited and the doors open, there’s always a push from the back to get to where they’re excited to be going. I say: blame humanity’s tendency to lack forethought, and blame the advertising agencies that convince people that consumer goods are the nearest thing to heaven.

    1. blame the advertising agencies that convince people that consumer goods are the nearest thing to heaven.

      Given that very few BBers believe in heaven, they would probably agree that consumer goods are better than heaven, but hopefully they don’t trample folks while waiting in line for the new iThing.

      So I don’t blame the advertisers, but I think your other comments about human nature are apropos. If it weren’t for human nature, advertising wouldn’t work and it would be a non-issue.

  21. Mark’s comment is fine. The problem is folks are only now barely seeing how Republican bullshit has really decimated this country.

    Funny timing on this post for me. I just got back from a trip to visit the old neighborhood I grew up in in Brooklyn, NY. The neighborhood has changed, and I am fine with that. But what horrified me are the piles of insta-condos with “For Rent” and “For Sale” signs. Piles of ugly, ugly pieces of crap. And what freaked me out is these are all in a part of a neighborhood filled with small one-time family homes. I say “one time” since the buildings are still there, falling apart, clearly SROs and squeezed between these crazy insta-condos. It was truly shocking. Who would pay $300,000 and up to live in a condo next to a drug house? The only reason these were built was the housing boom that thankfully died. But this crap is still there.

    Also as far as middle class goes, a lot of these one-time family homes are now SROs for workers who work in the main strip. It’s horrifying. The neighborhood was always rough, but at least folks could work—let’s say—as a grocer on the main strip of stores and then own a home nearby. Now? Tons of foreign workers and junkies moving in/out of these one-time homes. Basically just living/existing to work for crap and for what? Can they get a life out of that.

    In that context, I completely understand a trampling at 4:00am. Humans are put in a position where they have no choice and have to fight like this.

    But will also say this: Target and Wal-Mart have these huge stores but never seem to have enough doors.

  22. There are some normal sized people in there…but its Buffalo…in the winter. The people are all dressed for the cold, and it makes some look larger than they are.

  23. And no one checks on the guy who was trampled. And the last thing you hear on the video is a woman saying “… terrifying!” But she is still going to shop.

  24. i saw this a week or two ago – a friend of mine recognized the target in question. he says it’s near the canadian border and a large percentage of these customers are actually canadians who cross the border to pick up bargains {{citation needed}}

  25. I’m in the rather-be-shot-than-be-there camp, but I do think that in a lot of ways Black Friday is an example of the dwindling sense of community we have in this country. People don’t engage in civic life as much as they used to, and so these sorts of activities – based around consumerism – become the de facto place people interact with others. It’s crazy, but I can see the appeal.

    Also, why are we still talking about obesity as if it were moral failing? How is that productive? Something is seriously wrong with our food supply, but instead of taking action against the farm subsidies that have resulted in poor people having few choices besides the high calorie/low nutrient food that litter the grocery aisles, we just blame them for their “lack of willpower.” Yawn.

    And finally, does being fat mean they deserve to be trampled to death in a poorly-controlled, badly managed line at Target?

  26. Too bad Target didn’t hire Great White’s pyrotechnics guy to work the event. THEN you would’ve had a video!

  27. “Most of them are probably poor and the money that they’ll save means they have to risk getting trampled”

    There is so much wrong with that idea that I had to come back. Real, crushing, 120-hour-a-week manual labor, always-hungry, open-sewer desperate poverty actually exists in the world, and statements like this divert our attention and empathy where it really serves no purpose.


    I understand our economy runs on this kind of behavior, albeit usually on a less intense scale, but it’s so unnecessary. I’ve had a decent income, and I’ve been unemployed with three kids. Never once did I consider degrading myself like this. I’m not perfect, but as far as this goes, I am better. Opting out IS a choice, and you can still participate in modern life without being a fool. It’s not about political team-cheering, not about rich or poor, not about class. It’s dignity and decency. These people chose to give it up, that’s why the disgust in the comments.

  28. Fortunately, evolution is providing Americans with obesity that not only allows them to survive being trampled in store doorways, but also enables them to shoplift items hidden in the folds of flab. This is nature’s miracle at work.

  29. This is the reason why I prefer to shop online for Black Friday. That said, I would love to go to one just for the experience, but the total disregard for other people’s well being really angers me and deters me from ever going.

    I guess it really, REALLY, irks me because I love moshing, and the second I see someone fall my first reaction is to pick them up or try to stop anyone from trampling them.

    It doesn’t even take more than a few seconds for someone to be picked up if everyone around you pitches in to help.

    OH, and the fact that people STILL kept pouring in, even after hearing the man screaming in pain, and people telling them to stop…

    I don’t know man…

    Sometimes I really hate people.

    You can blame politics, advertising or whatever…
    but when it comes down to it, that individual had the option of stopping and helping, and he/she didn’t.

  30. You know, since this has been going on for years now, and that it is allowed by the retailers, which is unconscionable, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that the retailers love it. It sends their message; Shopping for Christmas is awesome! Shopping is worth treating others humans like dirt! Shopping trumps all human ethical systems, so any behavior is acceptable!

    That this continues year after year, including people actually dying from the humans turned rampaging herd (this has happened folks, remember?) only says to me that retailers look at this as desirable and intend for it to continue, and if the horror escalates, well, then the better the message gets ingrained.

    We might want to let as many people as possible hear what the rest of us think of these disgusting events and attitudes.

    And I didn’t need to resort to blaming either political party even once!

  31. on the topic of fat, i would claim that the reason is not the amount of food but the type of food. Basically, while we where hunter-gather, or even early farmers, fat, sugar and salt where hard to come by (hell, salt was considered so valuable that it acted as a early currency). As such, the older parts of our brains, the instincts part, is keyed to foods that contains high amounts of these substances. These days however, it is easy to make cheap food out of just these substances (with trace amounts of others for flavoring).

    Still, there are stories of $1 meals that would come in at 10 or 20 dollars elsewhere…

  32. Wow, there sure is a metric buttload of baggage present in the comments. Maybe it’s a way of insulating ourselves from a pretty horrific scene or something. Let’s clarify a few things here:

    1) The question of whether or not they’re “poor” is no longer very clear-cut. There are people who have six-figure incomes who are deep underwater on their mortgages and have mountains of home-equity and credit card debt; there are people who have plenty of extra cash because they’ve stopped paying their mortgages and don’t have to worry about being evicted because the foreclosure mill that holds their note has been shut down.

    The real impulse that governs Black Friday mania, IMO, isn’t economic need, it’s the idea that someone may be getting a better deal than you (the driving force behind a lot of the mid-term election results, e.g. the phenomenon of people on various forms of public aid wanting Big Government out of their lives) plus the excitement of taking part in something big; these people aren’t necessarily any more poor than the people who used to camp out for Springsteen tickets or Star Wars sequels.

    2)Someone else has already said this, but FFS people, they’re not all fat, they’re wearing parkas, it’s late November in Buffalo, morons! (And even if they are, I’d have thought that we all already knew about economic and nutritional inequality driving people on a tight budget to empty calories. Pay attention!)

    1. that’s funny, I was going to say ‘fuck America’, but decided on

      WE SUCK

      instead. Sis boom BAH Humbug >: [

  33. So this is all about buying stuff? My mistake. I thought it was a race to see which obese moron could nail down the last Darwin Awards nomination.

  34. Just to add some fuel to the fire here… obesity is NOT just a sign these people are well fed… it is a sign they are probably too poor to eat anything but crap, since food that is bad for you is also the cheapest food available in the USA, due to government subsidies of corn and whatnot. And such.

    Because that’s how we roll.

  35. Some people get trampled at Mecca during the Hajj. Americans get trampled at Target and Wal-Mart during Black Friday. Both are fairly pointless and stupid reasons to die.

  36. I’ve ventured into Target to buy Nerf guns and it is indeed a SCARY place 0_0 I didn’t feel safe even with a cart full of full auto nerf guns… *Watches Idiocracy again- yeh the future of America? 0_0 Wait the future is now?!

  37. I don’t think that this video is especially revealing about a certain section of American people or people in general. Stampedes happen with uncontrolled crowds, all over the globisphere.

    It’s a simple problem of the store being stingy with staff and/or the staff not wanting to do crowd control in freezing weather at 4 am, which is understandable.

    Everyone’s been bitten by the IGottaHaveIt bug at one time or another. What if they had 10 white iPhones to sell?

  38. “A lot of people live among people all their lives and never find out this one simple thing about people: human beings cease to be human when they congregate, and a mob is a monster. If you think of a mob as a living thing and you want to get its I.Q., take the average intelligence of the people there and divide it by the number of people there. Which means that a mob of fifty has somewhat less intelligence than an earthworm. No one person could sink to its level of cruelty and lack of principle. It thinks that anything that is different is dangerous, and it thinks it’s protecting itself by tearing anything that’s different to small bloody bits. The difference-which-is-dangerous changes with the times. Men have been mob-murdered for wearing beards, and for not wearing beards. For saying the right series of words in what the mob thinks is the wrong order. For wearing or not wearing this or that article of clothing ,or tattoo, or piece of skin.”

    –From “Affair with a Green Monkey” by Theodore Sturgeon

    (A short story that I highly recommend to Boing Boing readers. And pretty much everything else Theodore Sturgeon wrote).

  39. Stampedes like this are caused by the _fear_ that if you do not jump on or over the trampled and push the people in front of you, all to keep yourself going forward and staying upright, you become one of the trampled yourself. This is what is generally called a _panic_. These people, for a very brief moment, experience fear and cause panic.

    Greed has nothing to do with it. Or politics, or religion. (Oddly enough, no comment before mentions the words “fear” and “panic” in their usual context.)

  40. Scientists who study stampedes call this kind of behavior a “craze” — a rush toward something believed to be gratifying. It’s not unique to the US. In one of the worst-ever stampedes, 1389 people died at a coronation ceremony for Tsar Alexander II of Russia when a rumor circulated through the crowd that souvenirs were in short supply, causing people to rush forward en masse.
    There’s more about the psychology of stampedes here:

  41. Side note: If you find yourself responding to a situation like this (as the security in the video was called upon to do) don’t waste your time yelling “Back up.” They can’t back up. That’s the point. Instead, if there is another possible entrance (like the one to the right in the video) open that entrance to relieve the crush.

    Or better yet, stagger the entrance in the first place, e.g. “One, two, three, four, five… you five, go. One, two, three, four, five… next five, go.”

    Bottom line: This kind of shit doesn’t have to happen.

  42. I’ve often thought there is a variant on the Godwin’s Law that would state something like this:
    “Any discussion thread that invokes political partisanship into any discussion outside politics will immediately result in a threadjack, and divide subsequent commenters into three camps:
    1. Those who fight the partisan comment with counter-partisanship
    2. Those who fight the threadjack
    3. Those who attempt to invoke some deeper partisanship to show that both sides are wrong.”

    We see this on Fark, BB, CNN, USAToday, Doonsbury Cartoon threads, and The Economist. Usually, the patterns about each site conform to stereotypes:
    fark: mostly pattern 2, usually solved with a picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head
    BB: mostly pattern 3. I’m actually surprised that Mark went so early on this, and that people actually responded.
    CNN: pattern 1 dominant. Comments echo the bobbleheads on the TV
    USAToday: pattern 1, but less intelligent, more spelling and grammatical errors
    Doonsbury: also pattern 1, with some pattern 2 taking the form “Guys! it’s a carTOON!!” mostly pattern 3, with poor grammar because of non-English speakers.

  43. Yay lets all pick on the fat people!

    Cause after all in America it’s how you look that’s most important!

    *golf clap*

  44. Basic case study on poor crowd management: when a mania or panic ensues within a queue at overcapacity, and you have one way traffic, things always end up bad.

    You see similar seething, trampled herds in football stadiums in Europe or festivals throughout:

  45. I’ve been in a crowd crush like this, not racing to get into a store but at an outdoor festival venue (first year…they hadn’t worked out the kinks yet). People panic, and there are so many people screaming that unless you’re right next to the person who’s down you don’t know what the screaming is about — and if you’re that close, there’s nothing you can do, because all your effort is being put towards staying vertical and not getting crushed yourself.

    So many people are pointing out how overweight some of the shoppers are, but the way the weight issue struck me was that the situation was so dangerous that even big, strong men were being crushed. That one man in the foreground by the end, so obviously in pain, was heart-wrenching to witness.

    It’s yet another example of how critical thinking is crucial as a life skill. There are other ways to get great presents for your family than risk death at the front door of a Target. People who don’t know that are the same ones who don’t know how to evaluate anything else they hear on the news, either.

  46. “Black Friday” is, and has always been, a fabrication, endlessly repeated by “news” “reporters” as either the biggest shopping day of the year or the day when retailers post their first profits for the year.
    Both are lies.
    But in a corporate world, marketing and profits overwhelm truth and mob violence is the price we pay.
    All this for what once was a religious holiday.
    Greed is good.

  47. this video made me cry. Can we rememeber for a second why we even celebrate christmas?

    cant you just buy your cheap chinese goods online?

    1. Obviously because they’re all rich and can afford to eat the highest quality food all of the time.

  48. Probably most of you gave up on Saturday Night Live years ago, but they did a Black Friday commercial last week that was hilarious:

  49. and it’s because of crap like this we can’t have nice things….

    more confucianism
    less cheap crap for sale, please.

    this, I believe, is precisely what happens when materialism predominates, false gods rule and justin bieber has more views on youtube than lady gaga.

    for some cheap lulz, I forwarded this vid to some canadians I know…canadians who believe america is a scary, scary country. now, more than ever, they believe america is a scary, scary country.

  50. again, all people looking for deals trample. I worked a warehouse sale once selling high end china, tableware, crystal etc. and this happened with middle-aged suburban white housewives (Canadian even).

  51. Guy at 0:57 :”Go on without me! I’ll be ok!I can still breathe. Just get that Play Station! Get the GODDAMNED Play Station!!!!”

  52. Crowd control is serious business: all this tells us is that perhaps we all need to be more aware of it, and managers of in-demand stores should take it into account on big shopping days.

    It’s funny that here we are on a website renowned for reviewing cool gadgets, condemning people for being in a rush to get gadgets.

    None of us is one little bit better than a single person in that video. It could happen to you, anywhere you go where there are more than a dozen or so people.

    1. Rubbish, you can say that all you want, but see how often it happens in other countries, I think you’ll notice some countries it never happens.

      Don’t presume just because everyone you know is rude and pushy that it’s international.

      1. I have not noticed that “some countries it never happens.” at all. Here is a totally non-exhaustive list of countries which have had crowd crush incidents, summarized off Wikipedia.

        South Africa
        Hong Kong
        Saudi Arabia
        Democratic Republic of Congo
        Ivory Coast

        Again, that’s a totally non-complete list. So no, I have not noticed that there are countries where they “never” happen.

        Ever since people started gathering in large groups, these kinds of things have been happening. You’re no different than any of those people.

  53. You know, people sometimes criticise New Zealand as a country of queueing, but you know what, when everyone lines up in a queue 1 person wide this kind of crap doesn’t happen, why entire countries of people think everybody standing in a huge swarm and then whoever pushes in rudely the fastest gets in first is a good system is beyond me.

    also when it’s a queue the security guard at the front can let in 5 people at at time with pauses so there are gaps between inrushes of people.

    Whilst we do have these kinds of sales in New Zealand nobody is ever trampled because we are just more polite and less pushy and self entitled, the one thing I noticed about these people is they are rude.

  54. All I know is, I went to the midnight release of Call of Duty: Black Ops at a tiny little Gamestop in midtown Atlanta and everyone lined up calmly and chatted jovially while we were let into the tiny store 5 at a time and allowed to claim our pre-purchased copies. Maybe this isn’t the same, but it was a heavily marketed game and there were about 600 people waiting to get into a store that could fit maybe 30 at most. Nobody got hurt, everyone enjoyed it.

    Of course if they had twenty special copies for $.99 cents a piece for the first people to claim them I’m sure it would have been a bit more intense.

  55. Wow, there are some seriously hateful comments in here. Fat people are in actual fact human beings deserving of respect, and fat people are not actually all greedy lazy shoplifting slobs who don’t care about themselves or their children. Obesity is a socioeconomic issue about having access to healthy food, money to afford it, and time to prepare it. Agreed on the lack of compassion shown here. This thread makes me sad.

  56. Did no one else notice the woman in the khaki jacket, who comes through the door at 0:11, realizes something is wrong by 0:13, has turned and is running back to the door at 0:14, at 0:18 is pushing people back, and at 0:26 is dragging someone who fell out of the way?

    Or does her fatness make that small act of heroism completely invisible?

    1. “Or does her fatness make that small act of heroism completely invisible?”


      Does the action bolster negative stereotypes about fat people. If so, then it it is valid.

      If not… well she’s still fat.

  57. I saw what Target’s corporate crisis management people did to prepare for this. Every store had crowd management plans in place, with people queued outside and things kept orderly. Store employees tried to keep the people in the lines happy. Many passed out bottles of water to those waiting. Of all the Target stores, only this one got out of control, and the video shows security was on the bad situation in under 40 seconds.

    With millions of people shopping that day, keeping order was first on everyone’s minds. A handful of random people in one location got out of line, and you’re all instantly condemning America, Republicans, Democrats, religious people, atheists, fat people, poor people, and Canadians. In other words, a blacklist of everyone you all hate. How about a little perspective instead, and realize it was the individual decisions of the people involved in this one store where they lost it, and that you know nothing about them, or why they acted this way?

  58. I think it’s near time for BB to get an upvote/downvote commenting system.

    Mainly to deal with people who violate Will Wheaton’s “Don’t be a dick” advice.

    This thread seems to have the dick cancer.

    1. I worked on a urology floor with patients who really had dick cancer, and what’s going on here is far more horrifying.

  59. This is sad.
    Awful for so many reasons.

    On “Black Friday” I was cleaning out my Aunt’s house. She died, her house sold.

    And after donating eight truckloads of usable items, I threw 12 truckloads into a dumpster. A lifetimes worth of purchases into a dumpster.

    Think about that next time you see something on sale.

  60. The true meaning of this yuletide is about getting past the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, and hoping for the light to return.

    Right after 9/11, many NYC’ers had a different perspective about each other. Sometimes enlightenment requires a shared tragedy.

    Especially this year, we have to hope that videos like this don’t portend the near future. Choosing up sides, and judging the relative worth of certain tribes of people, is a lot scarier then the violence you see in this video.

  61. A few things to note:

    * North Buffalo is actually a fairly well-off part of Buffalo. It’s certainly not poor. However, the Target store is the closest to some not-so-well-off sections of the West Side (west of Richmond Street), and some gritty blue-collar neighborhoods like Black Rock and Riverside.

    * Blue-collar Buffalonians are definitely on the big side. Compare the queue at the Tim Hortons locations in well-off suburbs like Amherst, East Aurora or Orchard Park to those in solidly blue-collar Cheektowaga or Depew, and you’ll see a big difference. Fat people are oddities in Williamsville or the Elmwood Village neighborhood, but go to an old-school, working-class ethnic neighborhood, and it’s the norm.

    * Some of the crowd might be Canadian, but I doubt it. Canadian cross-border shoppers — and there are a lot of them in Buffalo — tend to stick to the Niagara Falls Boulevard, Transit Road/Sheridan Drive and Walden Galleria areas, close to suburban hotels

  62. There’s nothing wrong with the American food supply. Or and Western food suppy. Food is plentiful and good.

    The real factors are knowledge (how to cook) and *perceived* time. Perceived, because lots of people would actually *have* the time to cook for themselves if they wouldn’t grossly overestimate the amount of time needed to cook and underestimate the time they waste – yes, waste – on TV and the internet.

    1. “The real factors are knowledge (how to cook) and *perceived* time. Perceived, because lots of people would actually *have* the time to cook for themselves if they wouldn’t grossly overestimate the amount of time needed to cook….”

      ITA with this. Most everyday meals I make take not much more time than microwaving preprocessed food, and it’s mostly easy time: a few minutes’ preparation followed by baking in an oven or simmering on the stove.

      The most time-consuming aspect is usually chopping vegetables, which can be done while talking with your kids about their day (or their homework). Even better when they’re helping.

      But, you have to know A LOT about nutrition and cooking to do it cheaply, easily, and well. What staples to have on hand, planning meals and what to do with leftovers in advance, making extra to freeze for another time, how to substitute when necessary, spices and cooking tricks to make the food as tasty as possible, etc. It’s not taught in school, and increasingly it’s not taught at home.

      1. Yep, that’s why I put “knowledge” first. Cooking isn’t actually rocket science, but (imho) it’snot something that’s easily self-taught unless you are an dedicated autodidact and enthusiast. A semester should cover the basic stuff, though.

        If sports is on the curriculum, cooking should be there, too.

  63. Crowds scare me and I never, ever run with them. I would have made a terrible buffalo. I would have always been going the wrong way.

  64. OMG, did you see that woman towards the end throw her elbow back? That was vicious. Are these people psychotic in some way? I mean, holy shit…

  65. OK, I went to one of these things two years ago… I just wanted to see what it was all about. Nobody got trampled, there were cops near the entrance letting us in in small groups. Here we go..

    Good times! I brought 9 friends, even though I was the only one who went in. We brought a tent. We drank. My friend got slapped by some lady because we had an ollie competition over her shopping cart.(hilarious) At about 3a, the crowd surged forward and broke rank. We had lined up almost all the way around Fry’s and the line became about half that size in 5 minutes. We honestly tried staying together, without success. we got let in, which was a little bit anti-climactic, because after 7 hours in line, you have only just begun. I was there for a t.v., due to the fact that i was expecting ankle surgery soon and knew I would want to watch some movies. I was on a cane, and pretty slow to get to the t.v. department, where there was an hour and a half long line to talk to a salesperson. They give you a slip for the screen you want and then you get in the merchandise line for about another hour to pick it up. This was where they would announce every so often when they ran out of something. If it was what your slip was for, you would have to get back in the sales line, lolz. Some people FREAKED out at that point. I met a kid in line and me and him got the last two of our particular set.. Then it was time.

    Time to get in the mother of all lines. The line that ate manhattan. To find the end of the checkout line, you look for the balloons some guy is holding clear across the store from the registers. In order to get to the balloons, you actually have to pass through the line seven or eight times, because it snakes its way throughout the entire store. Thorough almost every single section in frys, it would do tight s-curves up and down the aisles, like somebody just learning to snowboard. That line took about 2-3 hours i think. Me and that kid took turns getting coffee, bathroom breaks etc.. He was pretty cool, at one point a friend of his showed up with a shoebox full of cash for some reason. Somebody got arrested in the bathroom. I got offered drugs near the kitchen appliances. Checkout time, and I think my t.v. buddy’s credit card got declined. I got out of there to find the tattered remains of our tent with two gals sleeping on it, four in the car, and one guy found a dirty couch somewhere and pulled it up by the car and was crashed on that. Two were gone. On the way home, we all talked about the downfall of civilization and shit like that. I saved about a hundred bucks.

  66. I never go shopping on black Friday and I’m at the poverty level. I’m not going to fight with these people over game consoles for their kids–kids who are under the impression Mom and Dad are way more wealthy than they are.

    I get it. I grew up thinking I was middle-class because my parents hid how poor we were by maxing out their credit cards every December. They’ll realize when they’re 17 that their parents pissed away what could’ve been a college fund on junk they only used for 3 months.

    These people aren’t fighting for items for themselves, but gifts for other people who they think will think more highly of them if they get them a nicer gift.

  67. Roughly 127 comments in and nobody’s commented on the 2 things that got me the most in this vid:

    1. Title includes the words “Raw Video”, and we are treated to the spectacle of humanity, perhaps not at its very worst, but certainly panicked, unhealthy in many ways and violent. Okay, but the swearing is bleeped out? Huh? Footage of people being trampled is a-okay, but not naughty words? After all these years, I still do not understand the double standard: blood, guts and death = okay, but nudity or cussing = bad.

    2. The guy who leans on the counter in pain, having probably narrowly escaped death, looks up after a few seconds to see people moving past him into the store and exits the frame in a Quasimodo-like hunched up limp … Gotta. Get. TV. …

  68. At the moment, the biggest lack of respect here seems to me to be commenters regarding other people’s comments. This is a sick, sad ritual that is only getting worse every year. But there are so many factors leading into it, its arrogant to dismiss someone else’s opinion regarding the issue. It would be great if those of us who can watch a video like this and feel horrified would work together and consider all the aspects, instead of trying to compete in our own way. Nothing will change for the better if people who want it to change just bicker.
    Not to mention, debating the nature of these specific people in the video is rather pointless, considering this happens for Black Friday sales all over the US, in malls and shopping centres regardless of the surrounding area’s perceived affluence (or weight). My partner is a security guard at an “outlet mall” in an area that is seen as a fairly rich place (to be general, we’re in southern California). From his experience, he spent the night frantically bicycling from one fight to the next, and while he was breaking up that one, others were going on. People’s tyres were slashed for “stealing” someone else’s parking spot. A couple of years ago, people tried breaking the doors down of one store because it wasn’t opening fast enough, and ever since then they have forced the shoppers into strict queues, but even still, they need almost constant babysitting. And these are people lining up outside Calvin Klein, Coach, BCBG, and the like. This does not, however, mean Mr Frauenfelder’s comment should be discredited, it only means that the growing number of poor are part of a larger problem.
    We cannot read these people’s minds or hearts to find their motives for risking trampling, and even if we could, judging them for validity by our personal morals does not help this. These aren’t bad or good people by nature, they’re just people. Maybe they’re doing this so their kids will have more under the Christmas tree than just socks. Maybe they’re doing it so their child WILL have socks. Maybe they want to get their hands on the newest electronic gadget because Bill at work has one and man it’s cool. Maybe they’re doing it because the unicorn that lives in their wardrobe and goes away when they take medication told them they’d find God on aisle five. What we CAN tell is, they did it. And not many of them stopped to help the trampled people, once they themselves got to safety.
    People want cheap stuff. You can blame society, the government, marketing, the economy, and the flying spaghetti monster, and each could possibly be debated just fine, but wanting something that is perceivably within your means is not inherently harmful. Inherently harmful would be large groups of people, who time and time again have shown themselves to be a dangerous force, whether for a sale, a religious event, or even a protest intended to be peaceful. If there are going to be many people, it is in everyone’s best interests to have proper organisation and security/police to handle the crowd to at least ensure no one is a victim of trampling.
    And maybe in the meantime, people who wish to see the whole sorry system be demolished will simply not involve themselves and help others do the same by working against whatever they think is the root of the problem.
    (Disclaimer, I am supremely tired so I hope I made a marginal amount of sense)

  69. Nothing new here. It’s exactly like the hundreds in Asia that get trampled to death during religious observances.

    Different religion, same result.

  70. The guy leaning on the counter saw the video camera… hence the histrionics. He’ll get his HDTV, one way or another.

    And… Is it just me, or does that store actually have turnstiles? Are the Bill playing in that Target on Sunday? Who sets up a mad rush for cheap electronics and puts turnstiles in the way?

  71. “In every moment the only choice we make is between fear and love. Be still and observe your choice.”

  72. After commenting last night I reread to see what people added—can I just say the sound makes a huge difference in this footage—-heard that the second time, very distressing—probably would not have commented on the fat issue despite the interesting demographics—its all just really sad. Without the sound, it’s more like a ballet, it’s not clear what is happening, it looks more like people are out of breath from exertion than hurt. Anyways, hope this sheds some light on why the comments are so polarized.

  73. This could be footage from the next “28 Days Later” film. Seriously, though. It’s called the internet. There’s no waiting.

    1. This video would be much more awesome if simply retitled as “Video of panicked crowd fleeing zombie attack”

  74. Just when you have me convinced that cops with tasers are utter bastards, you show an example where it would have been appropriate. Maybe not helpful, but definitely deserved.

  75. We act all smug in our assertion that Americans are so much more base and shallow than others, but just last month, 339 Cambodians were trampled to death by other humans trying to watch a boat race. Is that really so much better?

    Let’s save the condescension and smugness for less tragic things.

    1. I feel your larger point, but the “boat race” (see what ya did there) you’re talking about is a massive water festival that drew 4 million people to this river in Phnom Penh. It’s hardly comparable to a bunch of consumers trampling over each other to buy consumer goods. There’s also speculation that police sparked it by turning a water canon on the crowd to get them to disperse and move along.

    2. We act all smug in our assertion that Americans are so much more base and shallow than others, but just last month, 339 Cambodians were trampled to death by other humans trying to watch a boat race. Is that really so much better?

      The Cambodian crowd panicked because rumor spread that the bridge they were on was unstable. It was a classic example of yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre.

      If the above video was showing people running over each other because they thought they were escaping death, I’m sure the response to it would be more sympathetic.

  76. “When all the commenters are too busy reviling the tramplers to say anything about the tramplees”

    The tramplees are simply the less lucky of the potential trampelers. Those poor SOB’s on the ground would have walked over someone else if only they had been given the chance, so any compassion for their being trampled is glaringly misplaced.

    1. I honestly cannot find much fault with that video.

      Yes, it is consumerism of the most stupid kind to brave a mob just to get a “better deal”, but when I look at that video, I don’t see people trampling other people to get that deal.

      Someone fell and a crowd pushes from behind – and it’s not like people try right away to fix the problem.

      This could happen everywhere, anywhere, were lots of people come together.

  77. My mom and sister went out on Black Friday (to very specific locations, for very specific things). We stopped into Aeropostal to check on a hoodie for mt niece. They had them advertised for $10. The sales gal said they had sold out of them by 2:00AM. They had opened at midnight.

    I weep for our nation.

  78. No, we’re not poor in the eating dirt fighting of cholera, slapping at mosquitoes, wondering if we’ll survive the night sort of way. But we’re pretty poor people. It’s pretty sad that modern man has de-evolved into a cud chewing herd animal. Such wasted promise.

  79. Hey, most of you have it all wrong. This video shows the ‘can-do”, “pull yourself up by the boot straps” Americanism that has made this the greatest county in the world.

    Watch the guy who finally gets away and stands near the camera with a possible broken collar bone or broken ribs…he is my hero. Does he hang around and complain? Hell no. Once he catches his breath he hits the pavement and goes for it.

    Now that’s real pioneer spirit. Woot!

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