SACRAMENTO — Unruly crowds clamoring for Black Friday electronics deals at a Sacramento Wal-Mart prompted an evacuation at the store early Friday morning.
Sacramento County sheriff's deputies were called to the store at 4:56 a.m. after crowds began pushing and shoving, said sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran.
"There was no violence, no looting if you will," he said. "The crowd was just a little unruly and the Wal-Mart staff wasn't prepared for the rush."
Three off-duty sheriff's deputies who had been hired for the event, private security and the responding deputies helped evacuate the building.
Wal-Mart staff developed a plan and issued shoppers wristbands to let them back into the store in an orderly fashion, he said.
"Everything was fine after that," he said.
Wal-Mart employees downplayed the incident, saying it wasn't as bad as it sounded.
"It was kind of like how a concert is, just a bunch of people in one area and they couldn't control it that well, that's why they evacuated," said a 24-year-old employee who asked that his name not be used. "It wasn't that bad."
Another Wal-Mart employee, who spoke while shopping at the store on her break, said the evacuation was short-lived, and people near registers were able to leave their full carts and return to them upon re-entering the store.
Shoppers rushed into stores throughout the nation as Black Friday events started earlier than in previous years.
In South Florida, sale-seekers stampeded into the Dolphin Mall when the clock struck midnight Friday, pouring through seven entrances for eight minutes straight. Read the story at MiamiHerald.com.
In Charlotte, N.C., the parking lots were filled to capacity before dawn and the roads were jammed. Read the story at CharlotteObserver.com.
And in Texas, many retailers didn't even wait till Friday. The Toys R Us in Hurst, near Fort Worth, opened its doors at 10 p.m. Thursday. Read the story at star-telegram.com.