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Christmas Gift Guide
Culture

Watch the mall brawls that suddenly adorned holiday shopping

Commentary: It used to be that fighting was an exclusively a Black Friday affair. No longer. And police say at least one brawl was organized on social media.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


In one mall, a brawl and someone ready to film it.

ABC News screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The morning after Thanksgiving, I'm always excited.

What gadgets, I wonder, have Americans been fighting over at Walmart and various shopping malls?

Which YouTube videos have the best fisticuffs, the finest hair-pulling and most elaborate security interventions?

This year, I was disappointed. There appeared to be relatively little action. It seems, though, that the Christmas holiday shopping extravaganza has taken the place of Black Friday.

YouTube is suddenly adorned with several videos from around America that feature humans brawling over, well, it's not always clear.

In New Jersey, for example, Christmas Eve aroused a brouhaha at the Newport Mall. Security staff leaped in to separate the frustrated.

In Gurnee, Illinois, a chair was brandished, as another mall dispute descended into rancor. In Montgomery, Alabama, shoppers tore at each other's hair and fists flew, as more than one fight was reported.

But there's another aspect to all this. Police are increasingly suspicious that some of these mall brawls are organized affairs, with the organization happening on social media.

In Beachwood, Ohio, for example, police said on Facebook that a brawl at a local mall on Monday was "loosely organized on social media." A police department spokesman told me that police "believe [the brawl] was caused by pockets of individuals that may have heard about it through others around the country."

He added: "Detectives are looking into some potential leads but investigations involving social media outlets are not easy."

In at least one case, reports ABC News, police in riot gear were called.

ABC says that a dozen mall brawls were reported across America. In Tennessee, mall mayhem was reportedly caused by someone letting off fireworks in a store. In this case, police are also said to be investigated whether the whole scene was instigated on social media.

In Aurora, Colorado, a social media post reportedly suggested there would be a mall fight there too.

If malls are to become such dangerous battlegrounds, it can surely only further enhance the online shopping experience. At Thanksgiving, 10 million more American shopped online than in stores.

Events such as the ones depicted in so many of these videos make the physical shopping experience seem ever more daunting.

Unless you're fond of a festive fight, that is.

Updated 11.58 a.m. PT: adds comment from Beachwood Police.