“People were behaving like animals, it was horrible,” she said. “I only saw two security guards.”
Frustrated with not being able to buy a Blaupunkt 40” TV reduced from £299.99 to £149.99, Haggerty rushed to pick up a Dyson Animal Vac, down from £319.99 to £159.99. “I don’t even know how much it costs, I don’t know even know if I’m going to buy it. I just wanted something,” she said. “There are lads in there three, four, five tellies. It’s not fair.”
One of those lads was Andy Blackett, 30, an estate agent, who had two trolleys full of bargains. “I got two coffee makers, two tablets, two TVs and a stereo,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you the prices, but I know they’re bargains.”
But his mate Henry Fischer, a 19-year-old student, wasn’t as successful. “Someone snatched my telly from me – it’s cos I’m the smaller one.”
Blackett, Fischer and some mates had driven to Sainsbury’s at 12.45am after retreating from the “bedlam” of Tesco’s 24-hour Lea Valley store, where the Black Friday sale started at midnight. “Tesco was scary so we came here instead,” Blackett said.
More than a dozen police officers attended the Tesco store on Glover Drive, Upper Edmonton, as scuffles broke out between eager and frustrated shoppers. Customers were seen tearing down cardboard hoardings put in place to hold back sale items until the stroke of midnight.
Tesco delayed the sale of its most popular sale items – TVs – for almost an hour until police brought the situation under control. One officer was overheard criticising the manager for failing to ensure adequate security and suggested the sale should be suspended altogether.
The Tesco store is across the road from an Ikea that was the scene of riots when it opened with a midnight sale in 2005.
Police intervened at other stores including Tesco in Willesden and Surrey Quays, and an Asda in Capital Way, Edgeware, just before the doors opened at midnight.
If your going to Tesco Silverburn, don’t bother. Police have shut it down due to fighting over #BlackFriday sales.
— Craig Lin (@CraigLin) November 28, 2014One of the first purchasers of a flatscreen TV, when TV sales began just before 1am, was James Alled, 30, a businessman, who bought two and was already negotiating to sell one of them to someone further down the queue. “I bought them for £250, I’ll sell it to you for £350, £300 cash,” he said.
Further back in the queue Christine Ball, 62, wasn’t impressed. “I got here at 10.15pm and I’m further back now than when I got here” she said. “None of that lot know what a queue is.”
Ball, who like most of the shoppers had not heard of the US-inspired Black Friday sales until this year, said she had come out especially to buy her grandson a TV for Christmas. “Not one of those massive ones, just a normal one at £100 or so,” she said.
In her basket was a pint of semi-skimmed and a loaf of bread. “Telly, milk and bread – the necessities,” she said.
Mel Mehmet, 23, had been to Black Friday sales last year and had expected queues, but said the atmosphere in Tesco scared her this time. “It’s crazy really having it a midnight – the police must have more important things to do at night than be called to sales.
“We’re going to PC World first thing, their sale starts at 8am.”