If this were fiction, I would pan it as being ridiculous and unbelievable. Alas, it is true…
A melee at a Kmart store in Wauwatosa [Wisconsin] Saturday morning was started by a computer glitch.
The store was running a promotion in which it would give away $10 to anyone applying for its credit card, but the computer glitch led to everyone’s application being granted — bestowing up to $4,000 in instant credit to anyone who applied even if they shouldn’t have qualified.
Once word started to spread about the so-called “free money” Saturday, witnesses said things got pretty nuts inside the Wauwatosa store.
Nearly a dozen Wauwatosa squad cars responded to the call just before 11 a.m. Saturday for what was called a large fight in progress.
“It was a nice brawl. It came from inside to outside. If you go up there, you’ll see hair, earrings, all pulled out on the ground,” Wilson said.
What started as a fight between two women in the crowded store evolved when several men intervened.
A store employee got punched in the nose and crashed through a glass display case. He was treated for a broken nose and various cuts.
Let’s be clear about a couple of things. The credit application problem was almost certainly caused by a software bug of some kind (a bit more accurate than the imprecise and somewhat generic “computer glitch”). But the fracas was caused by the mob mentality of a group of people lacking both personal moral control and common sense.
To paraphrase a favorite mantra of the NRA, “Computer glitches don’t throw people through display cases — people do.”