Travelers to Ireland used to be warned about the Troubles, and not to get involved in the fighting between the different factions, especially in the North. These days, those dangers have largely passed, but there may be a new one on the horizon, namely American shopping customs.
Northern Ireland’s first major Black Friday sale led to riot like scenes in two Belfast stores as retailer Asda slashed prices across a range of goods. One woman was taken to the hospital with a suspected broken arm at a shopping center in West Belfast. Another onlooker said angry shoppers came close to rioting when one Asda store announced it had not received any cut-price stock.
The Irish Times also reports on claims that a heavily pregnant woman was pushed and shoved and pensioners were knocked to the ground by frantic Christmas shoppers. A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service confirmed paramedics were called to the Westwood Centre.
Hundreds had lined up from the early hours of Friday morning, but became irate when the limited number of discounted televisions and tablet computers sold out within minutes. One woman at the West Belfast store told the paper: “It was just a free-for-all. It was frightening. People were getting trailed to the ground. People were arguing with people. Two of my friends were injured.”
The Asda chain later released a statement which described the response to its first Black Friday deal as phenomenal, saying “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." said the spokesperson, who continued, “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.”
So next trip to Ireland, don't worry too much about the political factions, who pretty much leave tourists alone. But take care in your shopping.