Every year Americans give thanks for the important things in life - friends, family and health.
Then, immediately after, they pile into their cars and camp out on pavements in front of the shops to get their hands on a bargain. Any bargain. No matter what the cost.
The Friday after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, is American's shopping day and it has been estimated that sales rose 3.8 per cent to US$11.4 billion (NZ$13.8 billion) this year. It's also ended badly for many a bargain hunter.
And it's no wonder with the enormity of the hordes flocking to the stores. New York department store Macy's opened to more than 11,000 shoppers at midnight local time alone.
Here is a look back at the past four years of the bargain basement shopping tradition at its most brutal.
November 24, 2012
Two people were shot outside a Florida Walmart while one man in San Antonio pulled a gun on another person who tried to cut the line.
According to ABC, the shooting took place just after midday in Tallahassee after a fight over a parking space escalated, leaving two with non life-threatening injuries.
The Huffington Post also reported a shopper allegedly pulled a gun on a man who punched him in the face while in line at a Sears store at the South Park Mall in San Antonio, Texas.
November 25, 2011
An incident in which a Porter Ranch, California woman opened fire on Walmart shoppers with a can of pepper spray has gone down in YouTube history. A mother of three was arrested after using pepper spray to hold back shoppers from the X-Box her son so badly wanted. Up to 20 people were injured in the attack.
Another shopper posted this video of shoppers going crazy over $2 waffle irons.
And at a Walmart in Arizona a 54-year-old grandfather, who was caught shoplifting, suffered injuries to his face while resisting arrest. Jerald Newman spent Black Friday night in prison after he was caught stuffing an X-Box game underneath his shirt. He was thrown to the ground by police and suffered a serious nose-bleed. Police were required to investigate their own handling of the matter.
November 26, 2010
A Madison, Wisconsin woman was arrested outside of a Toys 'R' Us store after cutting in line, and threatening to shoot other shoppers who tried to object. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that while no gun was found, she instead found herself spending her money to post bail.
November 27, 2008
A Walmart worker in Valley Stream, New York was trampled to death by more than 2000 shoppers as they broke the door down and stampeded into the store. The crowd refused to stop surging forward and 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour was killed. Staff could not get to him in time to pull him from the frenzied crowd.
- © Fairfax NZ News