The woman who allegedly used pepper spray on other shoppers at a Los Angeles area Walmart on Thursday night has turned herself into the police. About 20 people, including children, suffered what they described as minor skin and eye irritation, sore throats and minor cuts and bruises:
Police said Friday that they planned to examine surveillance video from the store and check receipts of Xbox purchases made around the time of the incident. The suspect was described as a Latina in her 30s, about 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds. She was wearing black pants and a black sweater at the time of the assault.
A woman who fit the description turned herself in to Los Angeles police around 8:30 p.m. Friday. She was released while police continue investigating the incident.
The pepper spray incident was just one instance of violence that marred Black Friday. In San Leandro, outside of Oakland, a man was shot and critically wounded while he and his family were walking to their car with their purchases from Walmart.
There were numerous other reports of violence around the country on Friday too. Calling the day “Black Friday” is starting to seem all toofitting, though in a very different sort of way. As Jacob Jacoby, an expert on consumer behavior at New York University, commented:
The idea of luring in customers with a few “doorbuster” deals has long been a staple of the post-Thanksgiving sales. But now stores are opening earlier, and those deals are getting more extreme, he said.
“There’s an awful lot of psychology going on here,” Jacoby said. “There’s the notion of scarcity — when something’s scarce it’s more valued. And a resource that can be very scarce is time: If you don’t get there in time, it’s going to be gone.”
Are companies and stores creating an inflated and even false sense of scarcity for such items as flat-screen TVs or certain styles of sneakers? Are coupon websites like Groupon and Living Social — “the online equivalents of doorbusters, which usually deliver a single, one-day offer with savings of up to 80 percent on museum tickets, photo portraits, yoga classes and the like” – only contributing to the “hurry hurry and buy it before it’s too late” frenzy?
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Photo of people waiting outside a Walmart to shop Black Friday sales by SportsAngle.com