Because Black Friday is traditionally celebrated by reading about people shanked over discount sheets — there’s even a website to track the death toll — we’re predisposed to believe that a woman would indeed snatch cookware from the hands of a small child in the leaden morning light of a department store sales rush. At least that’s the presumption of a video going viral as you read this, which claims to show a woman getting into a straight up wrestling match over a vegetable steamer. Before you weep for our lost humanity, know that there are a lot of reasons to believe this video is probably bullshit.
The video is the only upload from YouTube account BlackFriday Fight, who wrote: “Im posting anonymous because I don want 2b fired, but I work at this store in saginaw and this lady stole a veggie steamer from a KID on black friday! Shame.”
The clip has gotten a lot of attention as an example of consumerism gone mad, or from people who just get a thrill out of watching others brawling over hunks of 60 percent off crap and feeling superior.
It’s also very likely staged. Why would the robber steal the kid’s box when there are clearly unclaimed veggie steamers scattered all around her feet? What kind of sales display would have a random horse toy on top of it? Why would the thief come into frame from the right when everyone else is diving in from the left like they were just let into the store?
Perhaps most damning is the evidence caught by eagle-eyed Cleveland, Ohio, news editor Matt Skrajner, who’s analyzed this like it’s the Zapruder footage:
Put it all together, and in all likelihood you have a video made to capitalize on the expected search for Black Friday fight footage.
But not everyone is not convinced. This shirtless dude has questions.
To get answers, Inverse emailed the YouTube account requesting an interview. We’ll update when we hear back.
It doesn’t look good, though. Walmart managers in both Saginaw, Texas, and Saginaw, Michigan, told Inverse the same thing: Neither store had veggie steamers on sale for Black Friday. Meaning the person who uploaded the video was either wrong about the merch their own store was selling and that they were filming or, more likely, this is just nonsense.
But nonsense of what sort? It’s hard to say. No one really stands to benefit from this type of mistruth, but no one seems likely to be seriously injured by it. The internet may make Black Friday a bit more civilized, draining malls of the craziest shoppers, but it breeds its own variety of bad behavior.