Man punches shop assistant in row over 41 cents

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Marks and Spencer trolley

A shop assistant in Lakewood, California, was stunned after a customer flew into a rage over being refused a cigar, and punched her in the face. The man had tried to buy the cigar, but was 41 cents short, so the petrol station assistant refused to give it to him. He responded with a punch so hard that it knocked her glasses off and injured her eye.

Police are appealing for help in tracking him down, but this isn't the first time a customer has shown a shocking outburst of rage.


Bizarre

In one strange incident in 2011, a Cardiff woman did £400 worth of damage in the Sugarswirlz cake shop, after discovering they didn't have her favourite flavour. She even grabbed the sales assistant's hair.

The same year, an off-duty police officer assaulted two kebab-shop employees in Lydney, Gloucester, after they failed to give him any salad on his kebab. He had been out drinking and shocked them when in anger he stormed behind the counter, pushed one employee and punched the manager. He pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm and common assault.

Shocking

Some instances can have truly shocking consequences. One of the most notorious was in 2008, when a shopper accused a woman of queue-jumping in the Merton, West London, branch of Sainsbury's. The woman then phoned her boyfriend and told him about the altercation, so he stormed into the shop. He asked his girlfriend who had made the accusation, and mistakenly thought she had pointed at 57-year-old Kevin Tripp. He punched Tripp, who fell, suffered head injuries, and died. The woman and her boyfriend were jailed for manslaughter.

Last month there was a fight in a car park outside an Asda in Biggleswade in Bedfordshire. A 64-year-old man was pushed, and knocked to the ground. He was rushed to hospital but died shortly afterwards. A 65-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and released pending inquiries. The men had both been waiting in the disabled parking area.

Last Christmas there was an incident in a Marks & Spencer store in Bromley. On the 22 December, the busiest shopping day of the year, a woman in her thirties asked a man in his sixties to move out of the way. When he didn't move fast enough she rammed him with her shopping trolley. He suffered a broken hip and was taken to hospital - where he died two months later. She was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

We will all find shopping difficult at some point in the next few months. Shops aren't always the easiest places to be: we might have to deal with rude assistants, slow crowds, empty shelves, and the horrible pressure of Christmas looming.

However, these tragic stories will hopefully persuade us all to take a deep breath and walk away when things get heated.