Police were last night reportedly called to a number of incidents involving disturbances as people queued for Black Friday store openings.
The BBC reports that Greater Manchester Police made at least two arrests” while one Trafford store was closed following some scuffles. Three London Asda stores had to call in police as well as Tesco stores in London, Bristol, Glasgow, Dundee and South Wales.
Some of the problems were linked simply to overcrowding while others involved threats of violence or people taking goods from the hands of fellow shoppers.
People were behaving like animals, it was horrible. I only saw two security guards,” 56 year-old Louise Haggerty told The Guardian of her trip to Sainsbury’s in Harringay, North London.
It was mental in there. It was crazy… absolutely disgusting. So many people pushed in the queue we didn’t have a chance. The poor woman who was second in the queue was pushed out by the crowd of youths, she didn’t get anything. There are lads in there three, four, five tellies. It’s not fair.
I got a Dyson but I don’t even know if I want it. I just picked it up. I don’t even know how much it costs, I don’t know even know if I’m going to buy it. I just wanted something."
30 year-old estate agent Andy Blackett, who had ventured to Sainsbury’s after giving up on the "bedlam" at Tesco’s Lea Valley store, added: I got two coffee makers, two tablets, two TVs and a stereo. I couldn’t tell you the prices, but I know they’re bargains."
Meanwhile, those staying off the High Street have faced problems of a different kind with the websites of many leading retailers buckling under the pressure of high traffic.
Tesco Direct and GAME’s website have been down for long periods while there has also reportedly been issues accessing the likes of Argos and Asda, although they appear to be up and running as of right now.
Predictions suggest that as many as 8.5m transactions totalling some 518m will take place across the country today representing a year-on-year increase of nearly a quarter.