A violent but successful Black Friday

Monday, November 28, 2011

While Cape Girardeau remained relatively calm, there were several reports from across the country of Black Friday shopping violence this year.

With stores opening earlier, many at midnight, it seems shoppers were short-tempered and sleep-deprived in their quest for the best Black Friday bargains.

In California, a woman allegedly pepper-sprayed 20 other customers at a Los Angeles Walmart in an attempt to get at a crate of Xbox video game consoles. In Kinston, N.C., a security guard also pepper-sprayed customers seeking electronics before the start of a midnight sale.

In New York, crowds reportedly looted a clothing store in Soho. At a Walmart near Phoenix, a man was bloodied while being subdued by a police officer on suspicion of shoplifting a video game. There was a shooting outside a store in San Leandro, Calif., shots fired at a mall in Fayetteville, N.C. and a stabbing outside a store in Sacramento, N.Y.

Black Friday, named so because it puts retailers "in the black," may soon be synonymous with black eyes.

According to a National Retail Federation survey conducted over the weekend, traffic and spending hit historic heights both online and in stores.

According to the survey, a record 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 212 million last year. The average holiday shopper spent $398.62 this weekend, up from $365.34 last year. Total spending reached an estimated $52.4 billion.

In its second year, a new shopping movement known as Small Business Saturday appealed to those turned off by crowded big box stores. Many Cape Girardeau businesses offered special sales and promoted Small Business Saturday on their websites and Facebook pages. For shoppers who missed Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, today is Cyber Monday, when online retailers offer deep discounts.

* A Business Continuity and Emergency Preparedness Seminar will be held Wednesday at the Drury Lodge in Cape Girardeau. Joplin Chamber of Commerce president Rob O'Brian will discuss the response of Joplin's business community to its devastating May tornado. Agenda topics include FEMA response plans, business continuity and emergency plans, building safety, CERT teams and working with the media during an emergency. The conference is co-hosted by the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, Jackson Chamber of Commerce, Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce and Perryville Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call 335-3312.

* Saint Francis Medical Center has been recognized as a Platinum-Level Start! Fit-Friendly Company by the American Heart Association's Start! Initiative for helping employees eat better and move more. To qualify as a platinum-level employer, Saint Francis offers employees physical activity options in the workplace; increases healthy eating options at the worksite; promotes a wellness culture in the workplace; implements at least nine criteria outlined by the American Heart Association in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and culture; and demonstrates measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness. For more information about the Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program and how it is helping to improve the health of Americans by focusing on an activity that is convenient, free and easy, call 618-983-3234 or visit startwalkingnow.org.

Southeast Missourian business editor Melissa Miller may be contacted at 388-3646 or mmiller@semissourian.com.

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