Holiday shoppers
Jeff Roberson  /  AP file
The streets of Chicago were crowded with shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.
updated 12/17/2003 5:46:06 PM ET 2003-12-17T22:46:06

The holiday season has always been known as a stressful time, but what happens when people start taking stress out on each other while shopping?

In San Francisco, there was a melee at a toy store.  Police say 39-year-old Tonita Wiemels whacked another customer in the face with a box of LEGOs,  pushed a second shopper and kicked a third at a popular toy store in Berkeley. 

It gets even worse:  When law enforcement intervened, Ms. Wiemels allegedly tried to mow down the cops, hitting one officer in the leg with her car. 

They replied by smashing her car window, removing her, and conducting the police equivalent of holiday gift-wrapping.  They restrained her with a device called “The Wrap.”  She faces two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and two misdemeanor counts of battery.

Case No. 2: A 47-year-old Pennsylvania woman in line at The Giant Food Store made the mistake of asking the cashier a question and it was if the transaction of the customer ahead of her was going to take much longer.  First, that customer, a Leann Barcavage became belligerent and screamed expletives at the person.  Then out in the parking lot, her husband, Mr. Barcavage, Eric, waited for the customer, shoved her, and knocked over her cart.  The customer has a swollen wrist.  He has a court date for assault, harassment, and disorderly conduct.

If confronted with either a slow and angry customer ahead or behind you at The Giant or by a LEGO-wielding toy shopper, what will you do?  What about peace on earth, good will toward men, we got Saddam Hussein?  Where’s the holiday spirit here?

This was the No. 1 story in the Dec. 16 edition of ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann.’  Click here to share your experiences with holiday shopping rage.

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