Turkeys
November 29, 2003 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Woman trampled in mammonmas sales I knew those Americans loved to shop, but wow. Appalling though, is Wal-Mart's behaviour. No free DVD for her ... but, hey, they'll put one on hold. You see, they want to "keep her as a shopper". Harsh.
posted by bonaldi (55 comments total)
 
Here comes the pain. The newsfilter pain.
posted by dazed_one at 9:46 AM on November 29, 2003


I hope she gets herself a good lawyer, and gets herself something more than a hold on a $30 DVD player. It certainly sounds like Wal-Mart created a dangerous situation which resulted in injury. There's a reason why most high-volume openings require that everybody get into a line and walk through the doors like sane people.
posted by mosch at 10:09 AM on November 29, 2003


You snooze, you lose.
posted by aramaic at 10:16 AM on November 29, 2003


Everything about that story disgusts me. Only in America can a person almost die in a friggin' Wal-Mart for 30 bucks. That woman's life was reduced to the same price of 2 American pizzas, a pair of cheap denims or a family night out to dinner at McDonalds. People were willing to crush her to death so they could get their grubby hands on a piece of half-assed technology that will probably break in a year. I'm always a little embarrassed to be an American, but today I am mortified. -- Monkey.
posted by bonaldi at 10:19 AM on November 29, 2003


Erm ... guess who has an American at his house using his computer while he's at work. O yes.
posted by bonaldi at 10:24 AM on November 29, 2003


This post has brought the word "bad" to new levels of badness. Bad subject. Bad agenda. Bad everything. This bad post just oozed rottenness from every bad word. Simply bad beyond all infinite dimensions of possible badness.

Well maybe not that bad, but lord it wasn't good.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:28 AM on November 29, 2003


I wouldn't say "bad" so much as "sad" - indeed sad to be in this Wal-Mart wasteland of culture and prices. Sad sad sad.

I couldn't read beyond this gem: Paramedics called to the store found VanLester unconscious on top of a DVD player, surrounded by shoppers seemingly oblivious to her, said Mark O'Keefe, a spokesman for EVAC Ambulance.
posted by Birichini at 10:38 AM on November 29, 2003


The manner in which Jimmy says fox--
flattening his lips, deliberately furrowing

his brow--makes the animal more menacing
and exotic as if it were a creature

I had never encountered. But they nested
near the old house the summer it burned.

They cried so mornings. My father
had already left then, and though the fox

cry was not so symbolic of his leaving,
I made it so. Listen how they know

of grief. I am a man now, too. I walk
to the edge of the forest and touch

my hand to a young pine. I do not know
what it is I want: to listen to a not-distant piercing,

to tell the others a story, to be
blameless. All around creatures live

and die in tandem. We knew that,
and we came here anyway.

-The Foxes, John Frazier
posted by the fire you left me at 10:43 AM on November 29, 2003


mosch, scanner equipped lawyers were all over that woman like two minutes tops after the 911 dispatcher unkeyed the mic. hell, they trampled three of their own, one fatally, its just - nobody cares.

homeless lawyers are getting to be a problem here. yesterday at a red light a guy in a suit ran up, cleaned my windshield and _______________.*
okay, i'll be here all week for your comedic pleasure. try the veal, it's great.

*all entries to the q-zoo build your own joke contest must be most parked no straighter than don pardo's neeeeew CAR!!!
posted by quonsar at 10:46 AM on November 29, 2003


Ya know, nice as it was for the manager to set aside one of the cheap DVD players, I think it would have been a lot better to gift wrap the dumb thing and take it to her in the hospital as a gift.

My inner lawyer evilly adds "with a release from liability form ready for her signature."

I cannot even begin to describe how sad and strange this is. Black Friday turned Black-and-Blue Friday.
posted by ilsa at 11:21 AM on November 29, 2003


It's good to see clearly what is usually hidden behind the curtain.
posted by rushmc at 11:27 AM on November 29, 2003


Now that I've had some time to think about it, it seems to me that we should turn this into a bloodsport.

...put a million dollars in a locked, armored, suitcase. Put the case at the intersection of four narrow hallways. Allow fifty people to queue up at the end of each hallway. Ring a buzzer, and watch the mayhem! First person to get the case, and their body, into a limo parked outside wins. Losers get nothing. No holds barred, no weapons, no padding.

Hell, make 'em fight naked. Get TWO viewer demographics for the price of one!
posted by aramaic at 11:41 AM on November 29, 2003


I cannot even begin to describe how sad and strange this is.

i'm sure all humanity shares our pain.
posted by quonsar at 12:15 PM on November 29, 2003




aramaic: Hell yeah! I'd watch that!

Paramedics called to the store found VanLester unconscious on top of a DVD player, surrounded by shoppers seemingly oblivious to her, said Mark O'Keefe, a spokesman for EVAC Ambulance.

I found this image, a person crumbled over an object of desire, to be funny in that surreal, black sort of way. But my question is this: If she did get a DVD player, but was knocked unconscious in the process, who ended up with it? The store was willing to "hold" one for her, but is it the one she had managed to grab before being overwhelmed?
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:25 PM on November 29, 2003


The store was willing to "hold" one for her, but is it the one she had managed to grab before being overwhelmed?

I like that they're not even giving it to her for free. Maybe they can put it on lay-away.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:32 PM on November 29, 2003


...mammonmas ???
posted by jaronson at 1:03 PM on November 29, 2003


In a related story...
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:22 PM on November 29, 2003


Back in my day, people were knocking each other out for Cabbage Patch Kids. At least they're doing it for $29 DVD players now, which I can at least sort of understand. I mean, who wouldn't want a $29 DVD player? I already have three devices in my home that can play DVDs and even I was considering going out for one of those.
posted by kindall at 2:03 PM on November 29, 2003


Jesus christ I hate people.

As much as I hate walhell, it's not the store that is the saddest part of this story. It's the people trampling over this obviously prone, injured worman in their quest for a trinket. Of course everyone who trampled over her should rot in the deepest parts of hell reserved for lying presidents and those that send viruses.

Then it is sad that the store basically didn't give a shit.

Fucking no good, white trash pieces of shit.
posted by damnitkage at 2:08 PM on November 29, 2003


kindall: Who wouldn't want a $29 Dvd Player ?? The ones who already know about blue ray, hdtv just to name a few incoming better techs. DVD players have already reached maturity and they'll decline in the next few years, some store over there is already giving you a free dvd player after 30 x $1.5 dvd rentals. If you already have 3, save the bucks for some other new technology.
posted by elpapacito at 2:17 PM on November 29, 2003


ooops It should have been On Preview : damnitkage: did you read what that Walmart said ? We are very disappointed this happened," Burk said. "We want her to come back as a shopper." . Not a single "we're sorry" (that would be admission of guilt for some lawyer !) and all they want is her to bring her money back. At least they almost admit they suck.
posted by elpapacito at 2:20 PM on November 29, 2003


One can never have too many backup players for media formats that will eventually be obsolete!
posted by kindall at 2:25 PM on November 29, 2003


kindall: true enough :) *watches as kindall gasps in amazement at Red Hot Anal Slut: The HDTV Edition"
posted by elpapacito at 2:50 PM on November 29, 2003


This could only happen at Walmart, America's new K-Mart except with more censorship and illegal aliens.

Every Walmart I've walked into was just filthy and messy. I tend to gravitate towards Target which is more or less the same store except with less psychos, better selection, and better janitors.
posted by skallas at 3:24 PM on November 29, 2003


Not a single "we're sorry" (that would be admission of guilt for some lawyer !)

The thing is, though, this sort of thing isn't unique to Wal-mart. In fact, it's very standard. One of the first things I was told when I was once hired at a department store was if somebody injures themselves never say "I'm sorry" (even if it was really your fault!). So this really isn't just a "Wal-mart thing".
posted by Stauf at 3:28 PM on November 29, 2003


I stand corrected.

I'd also like to state then that I pretty much hate everyone associated with this story. Hell, I'm sure I could find something about the reporter that I don't like.

/grumbles off.
posted by damnitkage at 4:02 PM on November 29, 2003


People are so goddamn weird. Why anyone ever shops at all on the day after thanksgiving continues to baffle me. Maybe some things are on sale, but with those kinds of crowds/lines/etc, I can't see how it could possibly be worth it. And the claim that it's the "only time" people are off work & can get xmas shopping started is just silly. Stores are open on weekends and in the evenings, and lots of people who do this could take a paid day off work if they wanted, and anyway, most of this shit is available online, where you don't have to deal with even leaving your house. I think people actually like the crowds of shoppers.

I guess some people enjoy shopping as an activity in itself, so maybe they feel a sense of camaraderie or something. I just don't get it.
posted by mdn at 4:11 PM on November 29, 2003


Why do you hate America? Mass consumption is a Constitutionally-protected right!

I thought we went over this already with the whole post-9/11 car interest rate thing, you pinko commies. Nothing brings this country together like buying stuff.
posted by DaShiv at 5:52 PM on November 29, 2003


Tort reform? Criminal charges? Interesting how the crowd doesn't get rounded up and sent to jail, but when a some protestors get out line they get shot up with rubber bullets, maced, and sent to jail. Why don't we also assume, like protesters, the herd of DVD buying people are also responsible for their actions? Sure, Walmart will get sued and right now someone is watching Rocky III on their new $30 DVD player after cleaning the blood off his Nikes. Seems wrong to me.

Even more depressing: this exact thing happened on the black friday of 2001.
posted by skallas at 8:26 PM on November 29, 2003


Not a single "we're sorry"

Actually, Michigan is considering an "I'm Sorry" law (scroll way down, and it's not a terribly informative link; the Freep doesn't seem to have a search feature) that would allow companies to apologize for accidents like this without it being used in court. Of course, a lot of you would probably be suspicious of this as a bonanza for negligent big businesses, and for all I know, it very well may be just that.

As iconic as this is, stampedes happen relatively often and they say more about humanity in general than concertgoers, sports fans, or greedy American Wal-Mart shoppers specifically (or Mecca pilgrims, according to this Chicago Tribune article.)
posted by transona5 at 8:59 PM on November 29, 2003


By the time my sister got into a South Carolina Wal-Mart at 5:05 am, the DVD players were already gone. You see, a whole bunch of people entered the store through the 24-hour grocery section, walked over to the DVD display, picked up a unit and were already in the check-out line before the doors to the rest of the store opened at 5.

One of these years, all Wal-Marts will open on the Day After Turkey Day at midnight (if not sooner). ;-P
posted by mischief at 9:42 PM on November 29, 2003


bonaldi spake: Everything about that story disgusts me. Only in America can a person almost die in a friggin' Wal-Mart for 30 bucks. That woman's life was reduced to the same price of 2 American pizzas, a pair of cheap denims or a family night out to dinner at McDonalds. People were willing to crush her to death so they could get their grubby hands on a piece of half-assed technology that will probably break in a year.

Yes, unlike our morally superior and gentrified European cousins, who reserve stampedes, rioting, maiming, and death for such serious events as football/soccer matches.

Only in America, indeed.
posted by wdpeck at 10:51 PM on November 29, 2003


I tend to gravitate towards Target which is more or less the same store except with less psychos, better selection, and better janitors.

I don't shop at Wal-Mart, but I've seen *turds* on the bathroom floor at a Target store here in Austin. What must Wal-Mart be like?
posted by boredomjockey at 10:58 PM on November 29, 2003


The reason Target stores look nicer is because (at least when I worked there), after the store closes, all closing employees have to pretty up the store (straighten, zone, whatever) until it looks really nice. Which around Christmas time meant staying up to 4-5 hours after the store closed.... while I was taking 17 credits in college.
posted by drezdn at 11:28 PM on November 29, 2003


Like many right thinking procrastinating Americans, I chose to sleep in on Friday. In fact, I plan to postpone my trip to the shopping maul until the very last minute. It's much more dignified that way.
posted by JohnBigBoots at 12:58 AM on November 30, 2003


wdpeck: who reserve stampedes, rioting, maiming, and death for such serious events as football/soccer matches.

And Americans go batshit crazy when their team wins a tournament, usually for hours long rampage and looting throughout whatever city was stupid enough to host the game.
posted by skallas at 1:59 AM on November 30, 2003


Let me rephrase that, if the Cubs won the world series I would no longer be a car owner. Well, I would have the title to a smoldering mess of debris the city would charge me to tow off the street.
posted by skallas at 2:03 AM on November 30, 2003


the shopping maul

Hee!
posted by rushmc at 6:17 AM on November 30, 2003


What must Wal-Mart be like?

The turds on the floor there are RFID tagged.
posted by trondant at 6:31 AM on November 30, 2003


Which around Christmas time meant staying up to 4-5 hours after the store closed...

You mean you only had to do that during Christmas? When I worked at Target, that was a year round occurence. Of course, I only worked there for one summer, because I thought it was really super shitty of them to make the closers stay past their scheduled time because the daytime people couldn't be bothered to do their jobs (they didn't put anything away, ever, because they knew that the closers would have to do it). That and they'd log that we would get all our breaks when we really didn't. And I'm pretty sure that it was a violation of some sort of code to insist that employees clean the ladies room without rubber gloves--the day I had to pick up a used tampon off the floor with my hand wrapped in toilet paper was the day I told them I wasn't picking up that sty of a bathroom anymore. Target was, hands down, the worst job I ever had. It was years after I quit that I was able to actually shop there again.
posted by eilatan at 7:08 AM on November 30, 2003


wdpeck: who reserve stampedes, rioting, maiming, and death for such serious events as football/soccer matches.

And Americans go batshit crazy when their team wins a tournament, usually for hours long rampage and looting throughout whatever city was stupid enough to host the game.


and... and... and your country smells like poo!
posted by Stauf at 9:31 AM on November 30, 2003


wdpeck, skallas, stauf, et al: humans get excited and lose self-control, lesson being to not be around when that is likely to happen.
posted by billsaysthis at 12:09 PM on November 30, 2003


So, live in fear, that's your solution? No thanks. I'd rather hold people responsible when they "lose self-control."
posted by rushmc at 1:24 PM on November 30, 2003


lesson being to not be around when that is likely to happen.

Then you better not ever leave your house, because as far as I can see, people are likely to get excited and "lose control" just about anywhere and at any time.

How about people learn to be somewhat civilized and learn to control themselves ... and possibly learn to deal with the disappointment of not getting everything they want at the exact moment they want it.

A woman joked about taking the DVD player that VanLester was clutching underneath her, Calabrese said. "Her two kids were laughing about it, joking about it, saying, 'Mom's going to take it,'" she said. ~ source

Pathetic.
posted by Orb at 1:40 PM on November 30, 2003


Orb, Rushmc, I'm a net addict so going outside other than for a walk to get coffee is just not my thing. But still, one can pick one's spots a bit without going to the agoraphobic extreme. And Orb, t'would be wonderful if people learned to behave but they haven't done so in the several thousand years of group living yet, so why drag yourself down that Sisyphean path?
posted by billsaysthis at 4:00 PM on November 30, 2003


Uh, Bill? We know people don't always behave and that they do stupid/bad things sometimes. That's why we have things like laws and jail terms for those who disobey them. This woman went shopping. She had the right to expect safe conditions, and Wal-Mart was negligent in providing those conditions, so I hope she sues them for medical costs, pain and suffering, anguish, etc., and wins. That will teach them to take more precautions in future - and that's the lesson that should be learned here.
posted by orange swan at 4:14 PM on November 30, 2003


Anyone who goes shopping at 6 a.m. on Black Friday is taking a calculated risk. Anyone who joins the melee does so knowing that they're joining into a complete frenzy. I saw video of people running and pushing and shoving getting in the door of their local WalMart, by the time the siren sounded to let the hoarde in to start their shopping, a huge crowd had amassed behind this woman and she had to know that they were all prepared to surge forward, and she was ahead of them, in prime ground for being overtaken if she wasn't prepared to set and keep pace with the crowd. She could see what was happening around her, couldn't she? She could've chosen to step aside, couldn't she?

I'm not excusing the behavior of the crowd by a long shot, but to suggest that this woman couldn't see or didn't know that she was in a situation that might turn stupidly dangerous over a cheap piece of electronics is hard to believe. How much responsibility did she have to protect herself, to pull away from what was quite clearly an overwhelming crowd, to give up on the idea of the cheap DVD player for her own safety?

Yes, WalMart could've set up some kind of orderly system of distributing the damned DVD player. Anyone with half of a functioning brain cell would realize that the thing was going to be flying off the shelves (quite literally, a woman in Pittsburgh was knocked out when one of those $29 DVD players hit her in the head, she was given two for free from the store along with some flowers) and that uncouth greedmongers would be acting like cattle to get to them. But I'm not sure that WalMart holds all the responsibility here.

Sue the tramplers, they're the ones who acted like inhuman beasts. Sue the people who refused to move for the paramedics. Sue the bitch who was going to take the DVD from below the injured woman's prone body and had her brats bragging about it to the newspapers. WalMart, in overestimating the decency of their customers, has only secondary (or perhaps even tertiary) responsibility for this incident.
posted by Dreama at 5:00 PM on November 30, 2003


Sue the tramplers, they're the ones who acted like inhuman beasts. Sue the people who refused to move for the paramedics. Sue the bitch who was going to take the DVD from below the injured woman's prone body and had her brats bragging about it to the newspapers.

I think you started off with the right attitude: she should sue her own brain choosing to go to walmart at 5am on the friday after thanksgiving.

WalMart, in overestimating the decency of their customers, has only secondary (or perhaps even tertiary) responsibility for this incident.

walmart didn't overestimate the shoppers. They egg them on. Like you said, they try to amass a crowd, providing just enough merchandise that the shoppers will fight over it. They could have just made a few more cabbage patch kids, or beanie babies or whatever the thing of the moment is, but people find them more desirable if they have to fight for them. This time of year is just depressing...
posted by mdn at 5:13 PM on November 30, 2003


If they had enough DVD players in reserve to award them as condolence "prizes" to the injured, it would seem that they obviously deliberately short-stocked the shelves to engineer this spectacle. Blaring sirens and all. Competitive full contact shopping, coming to an Olympics near you.

I don't know whether Wal-Mart or the other shoppers should be held culpable, however. There's something to be said about the shoppers who could be herded and goaded on so easily like this though. I mean, even adolescent social rejects could be counted on to line up in an orderly manner for Star Wars. (/pleads the Fifth)

Do they sell cattle prods at Wal-Mart?
posted by DaShiv at 7:32 PM on November 30, 2003


eilatan: i can top that...

I worked at Meijer, which are around Michigan ohio, think walmart supercenter...hard and soft lines and groceries... anyway...

I was a bagger and we had to clean the bathrooms and this one day someone had a freaking nasal hemorrhage or something in one of the stalls. (we were told "someone had a nose bleed")

There was blood in pools on the floor, in spatter on the ceiling, running in streams down the walls. It looked like someone was FU**ING killed there. It was everywhere in that stall, no inch was spared.

Yeah *I* got picked to clean it.

They refused to pay out of the budget for me to get gloves. I refused to clean it, you'd have thought I was being asked to pick up a diaper that fell out of the trash, and not a murder scene which is what it looked like, I couldn't even get them to come to the bathroom to understand why I wanted gloves. They got sick at of the sight of blood. Well, so did i!

So I just stole the gloves out of stock - took me over an hour to clean the bathroom, mainly because they refused to close it down and customers ran screaming and puking away as soon as they entered. (and I had to hurl a few times myself)

Yeah don't close it, smart....

i was a bagger five years at Meijer, while going through design school - BOY do I have stories. This was a milder one.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 9:53 PM on November 30, 2003


She had the right to expect safe conditions, and Wal-Mart was negligent in providing those conditions

I disagree. The place wasn't booby-trapped, for pete's sake, and "Wal-Mart" didn't trample or injure anybody. The blame lies with those who did, and they should have been arrested.
posted by rushmc at 11:57 PM on November 30, 2003


Not that anyone will see this now, but it looks like she may be a scam artist.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:53 PM on December 4, 2003


Oh lookie, she's a fake

on preview. Damn.
posted by bonaldi at 10:26 AM on December 5, 2003


it takes you a whole day to preview? ;))

even cnn is reporting on her past now.
posted by dabitch at 10:56 AM on December 6, 2003


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