Videos posted on social media late Thursday and early Friday showed shoppers brawling in malls as they jostled to get the best deals at the start of the holiday shopping season.
One video purportedly shows a brawl between two groups of teens at a mall in Florence, Kentucky, according to the New York Daily News. At least seven people could be seen in the video trading punches outside a Forever 21 store. The video was posted on Twitter early Friday morning.
Elsewhere in Kentucky, in Louisville, a fist-fight broke out between two unidentified men at the Mall St. Matthews on Thanksgiving night as a crowd looked on.
A woman who was trying to avoid the dispute was knocked to the floor before two other men joined the fray. The fight eventually was broken up by a mall security officer and one of the men was led away from the area by members of the crowd. It was not immediately clear if anyone involved will face charges.
Outside a Best Buy store in Springfield, Virginia, a woman was arrested Wednesday for attacking a fellow shopper who was waiting in line for the store to open, police said.
Ahmad Shukrey told Fox 5 that he showed up to take his place in line at noon on Wednesday, but was challenged by a woman who put down a chair and left the area.
The woman reportedly became irate when she returned to the store at 9 p.m.
“She was angry, and I was telling her, ‘No, you’re not getting in the front of the line. I’ve been here since 12,” Shukrey said. “And she proceeds to attack me with the chair, pushing into my friend, knocking me over and twisting my ankle.”'
A witness and the second person in the line, Steven Boone, told the station that the woman refused to calm down and was later arrested by police.
“And she started resisting arrest and while she was resisting arrest, she actually hit an officer,” he told Fox 5.
Fairfax County police confirmed the reports.
Early numbers aren't out yet on how many shoppers headed to stores on Thanksgiving, but it's expected that more than three times the number of people will venture out to shop on Black Friday.
Sabrina Rajkumar, 36, a writer from New York, started shopping with her stepmom at Macy's at 7:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving and was just wrapping up at 5:30 a.m. Friday. She found a $50 bedding set and a dress for her niece marked down to $25 from $74 and Godiva chocolates for $8.
"I'm from New York and I've never done Black Friday before," she told The Associated Press. "We just wanted to experience the madness."
She said she didn't think she'd like it since she usually buys personalized gifts at places like Etsy, but she had fun. A highlight was free samples of espresso from machines on sale.
"It was crazy, not as crazy as I expected, but there were still a lot of folks there up to the wee hours," she said.
Overall, the National Retail Federation expected about 30 million people to shop on Thanksgiving, compared with 99.7 million on Black Friday. Overall, the trade group estimates about 135.8 million people will be shopping during the four-day weekend, compared with 133.7 million last year. And it expects sales overall for November and December to rise 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion compared with the same period last year.
But people may not be in the mood to shop much this year. Unemployment has settled into a healthy 5 percent rate, but shoppers still grapple with stagnant wages that are not keeping pace with rising daily costs like rent. And years later, they still insist on the deep discounts they got used to retailers offering during the recession.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.