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Fla. Woman Knocked Out in Shopping Rush

Florida 2003

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#21 Palisades

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 10:52 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Nov 30 2003, 10:31 PM, said:

It's a little thing called "premises liability".  In a nutshell:  what Rhys said.
I take it that "premises liability" is the same thing that would let person A sue person B if person B left a power tool on his deck when he went inside for a few minutes for a drink, and while he was inside person A came over and maimed himself with the tool?
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#22 Rov Judicata

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 10:57 PM

Lil-- No. If a throng of people are going to stampede, then a velvet rope isn't going to stop them. They'll just jump over the rope, go around, push and shove through the system, etc. The only way to effectively stop the behavior would be to make distribution indirect; Rhys's ticket system comes to mind. That, however, would just make the stampede at some ticket counter, rather than at the shelf.

Further, Macy's solutions won't work for Wal Mart. Macy's business model is different from Wal Mart; Wal Mart wants to sell a lot of products cheaply to make a buck; Macy's has higher margins and doesn't even try to appeal to as many customers. As such, crowd control is naturally far easier for the upscale chain.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#23 Palisades

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 10:59 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Nov 30 2003, 10:48 PM, said:

Rhys already mentioned one alternative.  Another is roping things off to control the flow.  I've seen it done at dozens of stores. Just one example, when the Macy's in downtown SF first openned their XMas row it was a big deal and they had a line.  Simple. The idea that riot police are necessary to prevent this kind of thing is just silly Rov.  Think about it.
Unless you drill the stands supporting the ropes into the floor, a stampede of people will just knock the ropes over -- possibly tripping people in the process and causing more people to get trampled. People who want something enough to stampede won't walk through the rope corral, they'll try to hurdle the ropes, try to step over them and fall on the floor after getting knocked from behind, or (if they'll really stupid) crawl under them and get stepped on.

Edit: Rov got it typed first

Edited by QuantumFlux, 30 November 2003 - 11:01 PM.

"When the Fed is the bartender everybody drinks until they fall down." —Paul McCulley

"In truth, 'too big to fail' is not the worst thing we should fear – our financial institutions are now on their way to becoming 'too big to save'." —Simon Johnson

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#24 Rov Judicata

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 11:01 PM

Exactly QF. The way to curtail it is to make people accountable for their actions, not to foist it off on the big bad corporation.

If Wal Mart has security footage, they should be compelled to turn it over to identify the perpetrators. I'm fine with that. I hope that's what ends up happening.

EDIT: Sure I typed it first QF, and we're on the same side. In OT. End of days, and all that....

Edited by Javert Rovinski, 30 November 2003 - 11:02 PM.

St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#25 Bad Wolf

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 11:03 PM

QuantumFlux, on Nov 30 2003, 07:52 PM, said:

Una Salus Lillius, on Nov 30 2003, 10:31 PM, said:

It's a little thing called "premises liability".  In a nutshell:  what Rhys said.
I take it that "premises liability" is the same thing that would let person A sue person B if person B left a power tool on his deck when he went inside for a few minutes for a drink, and while he was inside person A came over and maimed himself with the tool?
If person A expected person B to be on his porch even when he wasn't looking, and if person A reasonably expected that circumstances were such that person B would trip over the tool?  Um.....yes.  

Rov, a velvet rope and someone standing there might prevent it even getting to the point of stampeding.  There are no guarantees of course but that is no reason to not require them to take reasonable precautions.  If we went by your logic then we could just ixnay all crowd control in all venues because hey, if people are gonna stampede they're gonna stampede.  Which is silly.
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#26 Palisades

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 11:08 PM

^ It sounds like the stampede occurred at the entrance to Wal-Mart. If people are going to rush for the shelves, rope corrals will just trip more people up.
"When the Fed is the bartender everybody drinks until they fall down." —Paul McCulley

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#27 Rov Judicata

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 11:12 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Nov 30 2003, 09:03 PM, said:

Rov, a velvet rope and someone standing there might prevent it even getting to the point of stampeding.  There are no guarantees of course but that is no reason to not require them to take reasonable precautions.
How do you define "reasonable"? I don't think this as something that could be forseen.

Hypothetical: Ford makes a car. They know that some people will run red lights with it, because it's happened before. Somebody buys the car and runs a red light and injures a jogger. Who does the jogger sue for injuries, the driver or Ford?

Where exactly is the difference?

Quote

If we went by your logic then we could just ixnay all crowd control in all venues because hey, if people are gonna stampede they're gonna stampede.  Which is silly.

Not at all. If we went by your logic, we'd have to have crowd control in every public place, because there's always the theorietical possibility of a stampede of some sort... and we wouldn't want lawsuits, would we?

Wal Mart has sales like these every day. Let's figure that they-- conservatively-- have 3,000 stores and 3 sales like this per store per day. That's 9,000 a day, and this is the first in a long while that's caused a problem. I'd be willing to wager that if you ran the math, the odds of getting hurt at Wal Mart because of a sale are less than the odds of getting hit by a car while driving.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#28 Rov Judicata

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 11:41 PM

http://cms.firehouse...nId=46&id=22521

Quote

Authorities said that Patricia Van Lester arrived at Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. for an early sale on a DVD player for her mother. When the store's doors opened at 6 a.m., Van Lester grabbed the DVD player but was quickly overcome by hundreds of shoppers rushing into the store. 

QF's read is correct.

And:

Quote

^ It sounds like the stampede occurred at the entrance to Wal-Mart. If people are going to rush for the shelves, rope corrals will just trip more people up.

Plus, Wal Mart probably couldn't put them up for fire safety reason. And they'd be sued by people who tripped over the cords while running to get DVD players.

Edited by Javert Rovinski, 30 November 2003 - 11:42 PM.

St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#29 Rhys

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 11:43 PM

The problem with "identifying the perpetrators" is that it probably wasn't the people in the second row deliberately pushing the people in the first row, it was someone in the 20th row bumping the people in the 19th row, and so on - and a crowd trying to funnel into a set of doors that is narrower than the crowd.

I doubt there was any intent here - even by the people that actually stepped on the woman.  Their only alternative would be to try to stop, and likely be knocked to the ground themselves.

The "velvet rope", lightly staffed, could make a difference.  Wheter the problem is at the front door, or at the product display, make the shoppers line up in an orderly fashion at the bottleneck point, and you avoid the bottleneck.

I'm all for making individual people responsible for their own actions - the problem is, in a situation like this, it's hard to point the finger at one person.  (This isn't the case of someone throwing a brick through a window as part of a mob, it's the result of the accumulation of the crowd.)

Sure, they may be able to do this fairly regularly without problems, but how many problems do there have to be before something has to be done about it?  I'd certainly rather see the stores do something voluntarily, rather than legislation or lawsuit.


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#30 Bad Wolf

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 11:47 PM

It would be nice to see a little self policing but WalMart is the last organization in the world who's gonna do that.  I mean look at their recent INS troubles.  I agree that something has to be done and if it takes them getting taken to court to make it happen I'm all for it.

Oh and Rov I JUST noticed that I made it to your sig again...;)  

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#31 Orpheus

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 12:25 AM

People were lining up at 3 a.m.

Every employee coming into the store could see the potential for a trampling. Did the manager make any attempt at crowd control? Not that I've heard. Instead he blared a horn, like the start of a race, aggravating the situation. It would have been just as easy to have a guy with a bullhorn saying "We're going to let you in steadily 10-20 at a time" and have a few employees at the doors (Walmarts have the standard department store 'airlock' dual door entryways.)  Those shopperws were already at the store waiting. They aren't going to  go home because it would take them another 5-10 stores to go in. Heck, Stores open 5-10 minutes late all the time.

No, they wanted to pump up the excitement. This type of 'event' was geared for it. That's why they do them (and many other similar promotions, including the "Attention K-Mart shoppers, for the next ten minutes..." blue light special. People get trampled every year, and this was a key shopping crush day

Personally, I do feel people should be responsible for their own action, but let's not forgive the stores for negligent practices just because they are so common. If you've ever tried to shield a fallen person from a crush (I have) you know there is little you can do, short of adopting an active attack posture try to block them with shopping carts, and they'll just plow the shopping carts into you. The customer is largely helpless, and predictably so. The key is to keep the crowd from building momentum in the first place. They could have done that.It just wouldn't have promoted as much of the hunter-gatherer feeding frenzy that stores love on days like this.

This should be something every store manager knows. When safe practices become common, it would soon be something most shoopers in the public know.

The key negligence was blaring an 'off to the races' horn, and praying nothing went wrong.

#32 Shalamar

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 10:49 AM

I'm with Orph on this..the manager was almost promoting a riot, and he darn well should have knonw what the crowds response would be. I've managed retail and personally would have had only a few admitted at a time, with a few of my bigest and burliest employees there to back me up.

I don't know about Wally worlds else where but the ones here in the Houton area (and we have dozens of the monsters) all have older fok to greet you as you enter and answer questions...Some of them are very frail in appearance...I'd hate to see what would happen to them in a stampeed such as happened there...
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#33 Lover of Purple

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 11:36 AM

Humans can be the dumbest animals on the planet! Perhaps Walmart should have had extra security on duty. Each year things like this happenat these sales, they should have thought about that. I stay homeon that day!!

However, I did get a chuckle from one of the local radio stations when they said one good thing came out of this. At least being knocked out she didn't have to endure the embarassment of being INSIDE a Walmart!.

#34 Norville

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 06:47 PM

Quote

Wonder if letters to WM would help encourage them to do right by this woman?

Watch the letters go to someone on staff somewhere who can't speak English and hasn't a clue what the complaints are about... so good luck there! :rolleyes:

Quote

I take it that "premises liability" is the same thing that would let person A sue person B if person B left a power tool on his deck when he went inside for a few minutes for a drink, and while he was inside person A came over and maimed himself with the tool?

Sounds similar to the law that says that if someone trips on a residential sidewalk, the owner of the property could be sued if the tripper so wishes. Did you not know about that one, or is it different depending on the state where one lives?
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#35 Broph

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Posted 05 December 2003 - 03:02 PM

I'm trying to get a better source than "saw it on another Web board", but that poster didn't cite his source. In the meantime:

Quote

ORANGE CITY, Fla. - A woman who was trampled by Wal-Mart shoppers during a holiday sale on DVD players has made numerous injury claims against stores, including nine against the world's largest retailer.

Patricia VanLester, a 41-year-old former Wal-Mart employee, has received thousands of dollars from the discount giant in injury and workers' compensation settlements, records show.


VanLester was first in line to grab a $29 DVD player Nov. 28 and was knocked to the ground by a frenzy of shoppers. Paramedics found VanLester unconscious on top of a DVD player.


Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman said he had no details about the past settlements, including one filed by VanLester's sister.


"We're going to investigate this claim as thoroughly as we have investigated the other 10 claims that this woman and her sister have brought against us in the past," he said.


A case manager for VanLester's attorney, David Sweat, said Friday that the lawyer wouldn't comment on his client's past claims. Sweat told Orlando's WKMG-TV that his client hasn't filed a formal injury claim against Wal-Mart from last week's incident.


Mark O'Keefe, a spokesman for EVAC Ambulance, which treated VanLester at the store and airlifted her to a hospital, said VanLester was admitted to the hospital's trauma center. "The hospital admitted this woman for two days," he said Friday.


VanLester's previous claims date to at least 1987. She collected more than $1,800 in workers' compensation claims for slip-and-fall incidents at a Publix supermarket and another Wal-Mart in 1995 and 1996.


In another claim, she said she slipped on a puddle of hand lotion in 1991 while shopping at an Orange City Walgreen's pharmacy, causing "permanent injury, disability, disfigurement (and) mental anguish." The case was thrown out.

If I can find a better source for the story, I will edit this post, remove the article and post a link to a Web page.

#36 Delvo

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Posted 06 December 2003 - 01:44 AM

It now turns out that this woman has made over a dozen such claims before, 9 of them against Wal-Mart, several others against other large retailers like Walgrene's. She acts injured or claims to have been injured, then sues the retailer for money. The deifference is how the injury is said to happen. This time, it was the crowds trampling her. Once before, it was a puddle of hand cream on the floor...

#37 Bad Wolf

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Posted 06 December 2003 - 03:44 AM

Yes and I'm sure she planted the crowd and the store manager egging them on and then deliberately put herself in the way so she could be at risk of being trampled to death. Yup.  Makes a ton of sense.  Only not.

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#38 Bad Wolf

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Posted 06 December 2003 - 03:46 AM

Oh and by the way? Tonight I twisted the sh*t out of my leg falling on our just cleaned kitchen floor so it bugs the hell out of me when I see people acting like things like hand cream spilled on floors can't cause accidents that HURT.   :glare:
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#39 Delvo

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Posted 06 December 2003 - 03:53 AM

You missed the point. It's not that the accidents happen and get badly exaggerated; it's that she cries wolf over accidents that didn't happen.

#40 Bad Wolf

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Posted 06 December 2003 - 04:09 AM

Right and she didn't get trampled? A cite for these allegations if you please?  Something a little more reliable than "another web board"?
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