Brawling bargain hunters turned Black Friday into black eye Friday as they scrapped in the aisles in the £1 billion sale of the century.
Fists flew in unprecedented scenes of violence at a major grocery chain and one man was arrested as Britain was swept away in a buying frenzy that saw shelves cleared of cut-price items in minutes.
Asda was at the centre of the biggest bust-ups as shoppers battled to grab half a million gadgets, toys and tellies at knock down prices.
There were reports of shoppers raiding trollies for smartphones when backs were turned and rushing to the checkout to pay for them before being found out.
One furious customer who tried to bag two bargain 60 inch TVs for £598 each an Asda store in Bristol, was wrestled to the ground by five security staff following an argument with a member of staff.
With a strict one gadget or electrical item per person, tempers frayed as the shopper was told to put one product back and in a scuffle, an employee suffered a cut to the face.
The male shopper was frogmarched out of the Cribbs Causeway store and arrested by police as thousands of sales goers carried on shopping.
An Avon and Somerset Police spokesperson said: “We were called to Asda to reports a security guard had been assaulted. A 35-year-old man was detained and remains in custody.”
And in Belfast a woman was taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm after a stampede over cut-price televisions.
There were also claims that a heavily pregnant woman was pushed and shoved and pensioners were knocked to the ground by frantic shoppers battling to get their hands on Christmas deals at the chain’s West Belfast supermarket.
And they cleaned out the chain in minutes as Blu-ray players were slashed to £49, Samsung Mini smartphones were a giveaway £99, TVs were up for grabs from £99, laptops for £199 and hairdryers and straighteners £15.
One of the most popular items were £49 Cyclone Explorer tablets with 11,400 sold in the first hour.
The bargains bonanza saw frenzied shoppers race down the aisles in the snatch of the day, grabbing armloads of products that were not restricted to one each with pallets that were piled high with goods from bikes and to toys stripped bare within two minutes.
Asda’s Benton store in Newcastle descended into chaos within seconds as shoppers pushed and shoved each other to load trolleys with cut price booty.
Electrical items vanished in 60 seconds and shopper Margaret Green, 55, described how crazed consumers desperate to cash in caused “mayhem”.
She said: “It was bedlam, chaos. It was absolutely jam-packed. People grabbed what they could. There was no ticketing system – the queue just fell apart.
“There were big fights at the tablets and the phones. It was horrific. It was like a pack of savages looking for a bargain. I was ashamed to be English to be honest.
“I saw one person take a phone out of somebody else’s basket. There was lots of screaming and shouting.
“I’m surprised there weren’t people on the floor. I found it disgusting.
Asda defended its decision to stage Britain’s biggest ever one-day sale.
In a statement it said: “This is the first time Black Friday has been done on this scale in stores across the UK and our customers were eager to take advantage of the great offers available to them.
“We planned for high demand and the half a million Black Friday products on offer to our customers have been selling quickly since 8am.
“Throughout the event the safety of our customers is of vital importance and to ensure our stores can cope with the extra footfall we have full security teams in our stores and extra colleagues to help assist customers in the aisles.
It is the first time Asda, along with department store John Lewis, has jumped on the Black Friday bandwagon which rolled into Britain from America three years ago, courtesy of online giant Amazon.
Shopping centres joined in with Meadowhall, Sheffield reporting the busiest day of the year with 200,000 packing the mall and similar numbers expected over the weekend as designer brand like Armani lopped prices by up to 30%.
Source : mirror