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Black Friday: Top 5 Shopping Meltdowns

Black Friday: Top 5 Shopping Meltdowns

David Blackwell / Flickr

As if they're cheering us on like ravenous fans at a UFC fight, some retailers are kicking off the holiday shopping season not at midnight Friday, as is somewhat traditional, but on Thanksgiving Day itself.

People are calling it Gray Friday. Way to scale back the violence and put people ahead of profits, corporate America!

Here are five examples of what can go wrong when demented shoppers mix with deep Black Friday discounts:

5. Waffle iron riot: Shoppers at a Walmart in Little Rock, Arkansas, tussled over waffle-makers at a Black Friday event last year. WTF?!, you say.

Yeah, but consider the price: $2. We would charge through a line of Secret Service agents protecting the president for a $2 waffle-maker.

The lesson here? If retailers really want to curb Black Friday violence, all they have to do is raise their prices.

4. Toys R Us crazy lady: Nothing warms the heart like threatening to shoot your fellow shoppers as you cut in line. Cops say that happened in 2010 at a Toys R Us Black Friday event in Madison, Wisconsin, of all places. Authorities alleged that 21-year-old Lanessa L. Lattimore threatened to get a gun and open fire on shoppers who protested her jumping of the queue.

But maybe we shouldn't judge: She said she's not a violent person.

3. Cerritos mall shootout: You see, in L.A., we don't just talk about it, we be about it.

And so ... shoppers at Los Cerritos Center were reportedly treated to fighting and actual gunfire during its "Midnight Madness" celebration in 2010. Appropriate title, apparently. No one was hurt, but the food court was locked down like a high school during a gang fight in "the quad."

2. H&M hits and misses: Again, Black Friday L.A.-style is a little more gangsta, if you ask us. Outside the H&M at the Fox Hills mall in Culver City last year, actual fights broke out. Amazingly, no one was hurt and nobody was arrested.

1. Pepper spray lady: We saved the best for last. We always do.

Listen up people: This is how the pros do Black Friday. They don't push. They don't elbow. They don't shove. They just blast the targeted discount zone with pepper spray. Allegedly. That's what the LAPD said that 32-year-old Elizabeth Macias did at a Black Friday event at a Walmart in Porter Ranch last year. The source of her desire? Recently unveiled Xboxes, which drew crowds like cats to milk. Totally worth it.

Be careful out there.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]