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Shoppers let loose on Black Friday
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Shoppers let loose on Black Friday

Woman pepper sprays riva in Calif. Walmart

  • Shoppers crowd a Walmart in Porter Ranch, Calif., on Thursday. A woman used pepper spray on rival shoppers at the store.
    Deciple87 screengrabShoppers crowd a Walmart in Porter Ranch, Calif., on Thursday. A woman used pepper spray on rival shoppers at the store.

In an annual orgy of shopping, Americans rushed into stores on Black Friday 2011 to take advantage of promotional deals at the start of the pre-Christmas shopping season.

Stores opened their doors hours earlier than usual on this year's Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving. Thousands of shoppers lined up and elbowed through crowds to try and land the best deals of the year.

CBS News reported on several incidents of violence Friday, but the day of shopping was largely peaceful. 

Across the United States, there were other reports of gunfire, pepper spray being used on unruly shoppers, and several punching incidents and fights between competing shoppers.

Twenty people, including children, were hurt at a San Fernando Valley Walmart when a woman used mace against other customers in what was described as a "competitive shopping" incident.

At a Walmart near Oakland, one person remains in critical but stable condition after a shooting and attempted robbery in the parking lot, CBS reported.

Police are also investigating a stabbing outside a Macy's store. The stabbing reportedly followed a verbal fight between two groups of shoppers, CBS said.

The National Retail Federation expects 152 million people to hit the shops this weekend, the Guardian said, an increase of 10.1 percent on 2010.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

Video

Ruthless shopper uses pepper spray

L.A. police are searching for a woman who allegedly pepper sprayed rival shoppers at a Black Friday sale in a local Walmart, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Around 20 customers were reported hurt, including children, in what authorities described as an extreme instance of "competitive shopping."

"This was customer-versus-customer 'shopping rage,'" Los Angeles Police Lt. Abel Parga told the Associated Press. "Somehow she was trying to use [pepper spray] to gain an upper hand."

The incident occured as the Porter Ranch branch of Walmart began its sale 10 Thursday night.

The store was packed with shoppers waiting for the whistle that would signal the start of the sale, witnesses told the Times' L.A. Now blog.

Around 100 people were thronging around the video games aisle when over-excited shoppers began ripping the covers off consoles, shopper Alejandra Seminario said:

"People started screaming, pulling and pushing each other, and then the whole area filled up with pepper spray. I guess what triggered it was people started pulling the plastic off the pallets and then shoving and bombarding the display of games. It started with people pushing and screaming because they were getting shoved onto the boxes."

Fire officials were called and the store temporarily evacuated. Several customers were treated for minor injuries including skin and eye irritation and sore throats, the Times said, though firefighters told local TV that some of the injuries were caused by shoppers pushing and shoving as they attempted to flee.

Some shoppers said the store had been overcrowded to begin with, describing bargain-hunters tearing down display signs and trampling on fallen merchandise.

The Walmart remained open for the rest of the night.

The National Retail Federation expects 152 million people to hit the shops this weekend, the Guardian said, an increase of 10.1 percent on 2010.

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