Wal-Mart fights back

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A river in Egypt is da' Nile.
nb
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*ONE* child is too many! Oh, wait...
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On 7/24/2010 11:35 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I see your point. Walmart was just fine tuning their process to minimize employee cost and things happen. So an occasional death is really OK because it is a good trade off vs having sufficient properly trained employees.
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So, you don't have numbers either. Making up "an occasional death" is conjecture on your part, not fact. Let's deal with facts here.
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On 7/25/2010 10:03 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I guess I didn't realize that you have decided this is a deposition or some other legal proceeding and sworn testimony is required.
I just thought it was a discussion group where folks could make reasonable observations and comments such as I did.
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wrote

Opinions are welcome, but others have made statements as if they were fact but had nothing to back it up. "Reckless disregard" was what I took issue with. As a mature adult, do you think your comment about "an occasional death is really OK" is true? Was it said in humor?
My point is, Wal Mart certainly did not anticipate the death of a store employee and did not intentionally disregard it or lump it in with the cost of doing business.
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On 7/25/2010 2:39 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

No humor and not unheard of. One thing that comes to mind is the Ford fuel tank shields. This is some time back but a more than usual number of fatalities were happening in rear end accidents when fuel tanks exploded. It turns out that Ford simply omitted the part as a calculated risk. The backup was produced and it clearly showed that where they had estimated how many deaths would occur and the cost for that vs the cost of the fuel tank shield. It was cheaper to have people die so that's why the tank shields were omitted in production.

You are interested in facts so how exactly do you know this?
And just so you understand my position. I am a pro business pro capitalism person. One of the biggest influences on me was a guy I worked for in my first really responsible job. He was smart, had a keen sense of business and did well financially. I always remember his words "the other guy has to eat". Simply put you don't give money away but you don't duel to the death of the other party when in a position to do so. Walmart doesn't represent any of that in any way shape or form.
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George wrote:

If you're talking about Walmart going to the mattresses over a piddly fine, they've evidently made a calculation that so doing will inoculate them against future outrages by the government. Same as them never settling unmerited nuisance suits just because the claim is minor. If they did settle, they figure, they only incentivize other predators.
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Larry wrote:

Yeah, but chances are he wasn't related to me or you. So, ask yourself next time you're in line, "am I better off..."

Nonsense. Walmart's motto is "Save money, live better"! They WANT their customers to live better lives because, for no other reason, dead people don't buy stuff.
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Good God, an actual troll. Granted I should've taken others advice that you're a troll. However, wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt. They were right, I was wrong.
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My point being that until that happened no one foresaw the problem. If you had such precognition and did not pass it along, then perhaps they should sue YOU for negligence.
--
I want to find a voracious, small-minded predator
and name it after the IRS.
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wrote:

I wasn't there, I couldn't see how large the crowd was. Odd you believe I could look in a crystal ball from here. You statement is really foolish. I shouldn't even acknowledge your mind set, but didn't want to appear rude.
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wrote:

work
the
Larry, you're right on the mark. Wal-mart and MANY other retailers had indeed seen these sort of stampedes before, especially with these kinds of prices:
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/regional/item_stv8Nzjd0Pzla9RuQzyduI (source)
-- $798 Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV, a --- $28 Bissel Compact Upright Vaccum --- $69 Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera ---- $9 for special, current DVDs such as "The Incredible Hulk"
This was the first time someone died but stampedes that cause serious injuries are nothing new to retailers. They are the logical outcome of creating first come, first served sales at cost or below that are designed to create as large a waiting crowd as possible. That's the legal "heart" of this issue: Crowd control at vendor created events. This stampede was one of many. Who hasn't seen videos like these (this was a stampede in Grand Rapids a while back) on the news for *years* now?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v
SgBL7gpAk
When you assemble a mass of people for whatever reason, you become responsible for their actions. Riots are nothing new in the law. And the issue in this particular case isn't really money, according to The New York Times because Wal-mart's already paid out some big bucks over the death:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/business/29walmart.html?_r=3&scp=1&sq=walmart&st=cse
The Times says that the store's already agreed to pay into a $400,000 fund to compensate those injured and is donating $1.5 million to county programs. They promise to use better crowd control measures in the nearly 100 stores in New York state as well. This is all about the drawing of legal lines of responsibility and what OSHA fines mean to civil litigants. They are trying to avoid setting precedents. It's the business equivalent of a criminal defendant refusing to plea bargain and demanding a trial. As someone pointed out in this thread, the book is indeed "thrown at you" if you refuse to enter a plea and demand a trial. It will be interesting to see where Wal-mart's "hard line" attitude takes them.
There isn't much hard data I can find on the number of total stampede injuries at Black Friday events but there's sure a lot of anecdotal evidence that proves this is a well-known problem that is handled poorly by some retailers at least some of the time:
http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/07/08/wal-mart-spends-2-million-fighting-osha-stampede-fine /
Writer Tom Barlow asks why Wal-Mart would fight a measly $7,000 fine after spending $2M on the case? He says: "Precedent. In imposing this fine, OSHA is expanding the interpretation of its mandate. By defining crowd control as an employee health and safety issue for which retailers have a legal obligation, it puts a new burden on the shoulders of all Wal-Mart stores, as well as other retailers. Should more stampedes occur, and they surely will, the retailers could be fined by OSHA . Their defense in civil suits after such stampedes could also be weakened."
He quotes a Wal-mart official as saying: "The citation has far reaching implications for the retail industry that could subject retailers to unfairly harsh penalties and restrictions on future sales promotions."
More importantly, he added that they've worked with "nationally recognized" crowd management experts to create a new nationwide plan tailored to the circumstances of a retail setting.
Here's a picture of the crowd just before the incident occurred:
http://www.dvorak.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/walmart_stampede.jpg
Jdimytai Damour's death got the ball rolling and at least Wal-mart will be implementing better crowd control measures for the masses of people they assemble for their business purposes. This was a foreseeable event, not a spontaneous assemblage of people meeting at the Wal-mart according to a police investigator:
"Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, who is in charge of the investigation for the Nassau police, said the store lacked adequate security. He called the scene "utter chaos" and said the "crowd was out of control." As for those who had run over the victim, criminal charges were possible, the lieutenant said. "I've heard other people call this an accident, but it is not," he said. "Certainly it was a foreseeable act."
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/business/29walmart.html?_r=3&scp=1&sq=walmart&st=cse
Wal-mart has experienced serious trouble before, but somehow, a contract manager with no training (apparently) in company policy supervised the event that got him killed. OSHA has a strong interest in dead workers and they see a recurring problem in this area. Wal-mart, like all malefactors, would like to handle it "their way" but when workers die, some decisions are then taken out of their hands.
Barlow's piece goes on to warn that people should stay away from sales with large crowds if they don't see "ample signage, designated lines, public address announcements, tickets or wristbands, defined entry and exit sites, and sale items dispersed through the store." If you don't, he advises to be aware "it could get ugly."
That's the bottom line. If you are going to create potential panic conditions, prepare ahead of time to insure the safety of people coming to your event. Walmart's mistake has already cost them over $4M and the costs are nowhere near fully tallied yet.
-- Bobby G.
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Apples and Oranges man... "Slip-and-fall" cases are civil lawsuits brought by private parties against a company in which the injured party claims negligence on the part of the defendant contributed to their injury... You will never know the totally honest figures as far as how many claims big businesses settle on, as a "gag order" is usually a term of the settlement offer and the plaintiff would have to surrender their monetary award if they ever disclosed any such information...
Walmart vs. OHSA is a dispute over "administrative law" on the part of the OHSA officials interpretation of how and where it can apply its regulations and just what should have been foreseeable and what shouldn't have been... Administrative law has the full force and effect of Federal or State law only it was written internally by the government agency which is enforcing it...
Walmart is by no means the only company which can challenge the government at this level... Most international corporations have more in-house counsel on staff for various specialties than any government agency... Every contract they enter into has to be evaluated as to how it will be interpreted and enforced in each jurisdiction where it applies and usually when entering into a complicated contract the parties agree that any disputes over the terms of the contract will be dealt with in a given court... I.E. one party is surrendering their legal rights to bring suit in a local court and is agreeing that any disputes MUST be dealt with in a specific jurisdiction...
~~ Evan
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Evan wrote:

Oh, I agree it's apples and oranges, but the philosophy is still the same. Wal-Mart takes either the long view or the righteous indignation route (whichever you choose) and deals from principle rather than the easy way.
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HeyBub wrote:

http://townhall.com/columnists/PaulGreenberg/2010/07/19/wal-mart_strikes_back/page/full
Big corporations always use litigation to bankrupt their enemies. Just what the constitution was crated for.
--
LSMFT

I haven't spoken to my wife in 18 months.
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actually,the FEDGOV has essentially unlimited time,resources and money(taxpayer money) to pursue lawsuits. Corporations will usually take the path of lowest cost to them.
A company I worked for,Tektronix,fought from 1961 to 1971 on a patent infringement case,where the Feds took Tek o'scope designs to other companies and had them make copies of the scopes,and bought those instead of from Tek. They were copied all the way down to unused bolt holes in the chassis.
But they performed poorly compared to Tek originals.... :-)
So,I find it humorous that a FedGov employee is complaining about getting dragged into court.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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Jim Yanik wrote:

Heh! I have a similar story.
LaCoste & Romberg declined to sell an air/sea gravimeter to Romania. The State Department intervened.
"We're trying to build rapport with the country. They need your gravimeter. Sell it to them."
"Nope," said Lucian LaCoste.
"Why not?" asked a representative from the State Department.
"Because they're Communists," said LaCoste. "Or didn't you know that?"
"Then they'll have to buy it from someone else."
"Nobody else makes one" replied LaCoste.
"Then we'll have to provide a development grant to somebody to develop one," the State Department fuzzy says.
"Go right ahead. It's only our money."
So, the federal government DID give a development grant to Hughes Helicopter to develop an air/sea gravimeter. The one they built worked pretty well - except for one small oddity. If the batteries for the internal heaters ever ran down, the gravimeter had to be returned to the factory for recalibration. As a result, nobody really bought the thing (except, perhaps, Romania).
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Jim Yanik posted for all of us...

I think of another word...
--
Tekkie Don't bother to thank me, I do this as a public service.

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HeyBub wrote:

http://townhall.com/columnists/PaulGreenberg/2010/07/19/wal-mart_strikes_back/page/full
Have they ever conceded that a case had merit?
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