Cut Your Hand At Kmart? The Manager Will Provide Paperwork Instead Of Help

Paul reached into a clearance bin at Kmart and cut himself on a rotary blade. Blood everywhere, fingertips flying like chunky confetti, you can imagine the scene (oh wait, we just did for you). He went to the customer service desk to ask for help and was greeted with an annoyed store manager who was concerned about two things only: whether or not there was any “contaminated area” to clean up, and getting Paul to fill out some paperwork for insurance purposes. What she wasn’t concerned about was helping Paul in any way, even after he explicitly asked for help, as the following exchange makes clear.

Mgr: What happened?

Me: I cut myself on a blade in your clearance aisle that was loose in a bin. This one. Do you have a first aid kit?

Mgr: That stuff is in the pharmacy, and it’s closed right now. Did you bleed anywhere?

Me: Uh…maybe? probably?

Mgr: ::calls someone on a walkie or something who then comes up and they spend like 5 minutes trying to figure out where their bloodborne pathogen cleanup kit is::

Me: So. Can I have something? You don’t have anything at all?

Mgr: We don’t have any way of getting into the pharmacy.

Paul excused himself to clean up in their public bathroom, which we pray to all the gods is more sanitary than the one at the Kmart at Astor Place in NYC. When he came back, the manager made him write down a statement on the back of an unrelated sheet of paper because she couldn’t find the right form. At this point, an employee brought him bandages and Neosporin. But shouldn’t every store have a basic first aid kit of some sort?

Highlights were

  • the woman saying “oh no, don’t put that there, we don’t want to contaminate more stuff” when I was handling the things I was buying. Which I still bought.
  • Not getting a copy of the paperwork I signed, which I realized in hindsight.
  • Having them be so blatantly concerned about their procedures and completely, totally not about me.

So yeah. I was pissed, I mean. Things happen. They didn’t put the cutter there, most likely it was some minimum wage, dissatisfied person doing reshopping and wanting to get home and just chucking it into the clearance box, or some trashy customer taking it out of the package for some inane reason. But at least give a glimmer of “whoops, sorry about that, our bad”. C’mon.

“Man, K-Mart blows.” [Vartan] (Thanks to Ben!)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. theBIG says:

    3-2-1 ….lawsuit?

    I would at the very least contact corporate and let them know what happened.

  2. EyeHeartPie says:

    The second sentence of this story is completely unnecessary. It should have been left out. The point still gets across without gross exaggeration.

  3. tande says:

    Yep, sounds about right.

    As long as we’re the litigious society that we are managers will be more concerned with the paperwork then the person.

    Like I say in every k-mart story, Sears is the same way. I always tried my best (we did have a fully stocked first aid kit) but I couldn’t even ever say “sorry” because like a car crash “sorry” could be construde as admitting fault and that just won’t fly.

  4. mgy says:

    @EyeHeartPie: hu·mor Audio Help /ˈhyumər or, often, ˈyu-/ Pronunciation[hyoo-mer or, often, yoo-]
    -noun
    1. a comic, absurd, or incongruous quality causing amusement: the humor of a situation.

  5. snoop-blog says:

    What a vivid picture you painted there Chris!

  6. Chris Walters says:

    @EyeHeartPie: Just be glad I didn’t go with my first five choices for the illustration.

  7. heavylee-again says:

    It’s funny to me that the behavior of the mgr to delay medical attention to get paperwork signed is exactly what would make it an even more libelous situation for the company.

  8. Two thumbs up for K-Mart!

    Or, you know, one.

  9. battra92 says:

    @tande: but I couldn’t even ever say “sorry” because like a car crash “sorry” could be construde as admitting fault and that just won’t fly.

    How about even, “Hey are you okay? Let’s take care of that now.”

    Jeez, uncaring swines at K-Mart.

  10. Juggernaut says:

    As soon as you get an ignorant response i.e “the pharmacy is closed right now” – you should immediately request an ambulance. And then grab the most expensive piece of clothing you can find to stop the bleeding. And maybe fall down because of the blood loss.
    The last two are sarcastic but I bet if you’d have asked for the ambulance someone would have shown a little common sense.

  11. The Porkchop Express says:

    @tande: Ding-ding-ding. We have a winner.

    These stores now have to be so careful about this crap that helping somebody can get you in more trouble (they hurt you worse, you get an infection from a person not trained in first aid, etc).

    The manager was an ass about it all though

  12. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Juggernaut: You’re kidding, but there are people who would do just that.

  13. graymulligan says:

    Blue light special in Aisle 5…fingers, now 10% off!

  14. heavylee-again says:

    @Lo-Pan: But if the mgr, an employee or even just a private individual makes a good faith attempt to help, but accidentally makes the injuries worse, aren’t they covered under the Good Samaritan Law?

  15. satoru says:

    Well to provide an opposite scenario to this. I was at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong for afternoon tea. Across from me was a caucasian couple. A waiter somehow dropped a plate or something. In doing so it appeared that the woman had cut her hand on one of the plate shards. They had like 3 managers over there in a flash and were tending to her. I wish I could have overheard what they were doing, but you could tell they were concerned about the couple’s welfare. As a side note, this is Hong Kong, where you can’t sue anyone for anything, so they weren’t afraid of a lawsuit.

  16. chewiemeat says:

    This article belongs under “Stupid Consumer”.

    Seriously, why would you sign papers after injuring yourself at someone’s home or business? What right is that of theirs or obligation of yours? Simply walk out. I can not remotely fathom why someone would stick a pen and paper in your hand and you’d just sign it. Lame.

  17. Northpike says:

    huh… When I worked mall security (you want to hear about bad consumerism, I got plenty of stories, and all except one is the stores frickin’ fault), the first questions asked on ANY sort of injury is “Are you ok? Do you want an ambulance.”, I know all the store managers are trained that way to, because we would be called to assist with first aid, and they already asked that or called a paramedic.

    Also, for an area about 1+ mile of floorspace under our control, we had 3 first aid kits and one AED, with a MAX response time of 3 minutes, and this is just inside, not including parking lots. Kmart is a HECK of lot smaller than the mall i worked at, and they had only 1, that was locked up after a certain hour! As i’m typing this and thinking, it sounds more like the manager was lazy, because so many stores are paranoid about lawsuits that there had to be another accessible somewhere.

  18. Toof_75_75 says:

    @graymulligan: HAHA Nice.

  19. Cache22 says:

    @graymulligan: Thanks for making me spit soda all over myself! =P

  20. macinjosh says:

    That’s what you get for shopping at a cut-rate store. :)

  21. thinkliberty says:

    Why did you sign any paperwork, if they did not help you out first?

    What do you get for signing anything? If you get nothing then why do it?

  22. MyPetFly says:

    I volunteer at a museum in San Diego, and once in awhile we have a visitor trip or something — just had one this past Saturday who tripped and cut himself. I’ve found that expressing true concern over their well-being tends to soothe their spirits and makes the situation go away. People realize that accidents happen, and reasonable people won’t go ballistic if they know the problem is being dealt with.

  23. Imaginary_Friend says:

    The best part about this story is he bought some shit from the store anyway! I’m not blaming the consumer, but damn…

  24. AngryEwok says:

    I’d be willing to settle this issue out of court.

  25. Thunderpants says:

    My sister has a similar story from several years ago – she cut her foot on the revolving door at a KMart and asked for a bandage. She was told that they have no bandages. So my sister walked to aisle whatever, grabbed a box of band aids, brought it back, and said, can I have one of these please so I can stop bleeding all over your floor?

    A few days later someone from “corporate” called her and she wound up with a couple hundred dollars for her troubles.

  26. MyPetFly says:

    Depending on the severity of the injury and the pain level, it might have been really, REALLY fun to bleed on merchandise.

  27. nycaviation says:

    @satoru: I’m sold. I’ll shop only from clearance racks at Mandarin Oriental hotels!

    Wow, 25 comments and not one “That’s why I don’t shop at [insert retailer]. I’m so proud of you guys.

  28. MyPetFly says:

    @nycaviation:

    That’s why I don’t shop. Period. ; )

  29. DJC says:

    Amazon Prime ftw!

  30. ndjustin says:

    Ah, good old memories! Hear is the inside info.

    I worked at sears as LP for a while, which sounds like since Kmart = Sears now, they have the same policy. I used to DREAD getting the injury phone call.

    Pretty much what we had to do, and sounds like the manager in question had to do the same thing. Was go out and interview any customer who was injured within the store. There was a list of questions and a checklist to perform, but they told you not to take it with you. I believe there may have even been a form for the customer to sign if you felt they would be willing to do so. Any video evidence of the incident was immediately, pulled and kept in a special lockup. There forth, things like the front doors and escalators were always recorded because they were more accident prone.

    We were “trained” to try to act concerned but the questions were more geared at eliminating our liability. We would provide simple first aid, and obviously call in paramedics if it was so required. The majority of the time it was just people with a slight injury who wanted nothing from us other than a bandaid or to be left alone.

    If there were any sort of fluids spilled (blood, etc) we had to just a special cleanup kit like the one mentioned.

    Once all of this was done, we were required to immediately phone the injury into some special insurance hotline, where they entered in all the information that we were able to get. They asked for our take on the situation, as well as pretty much any way to blame the customer. (Example: Were their shoes old and perhaps the cause of the fall?)

    I hated doing this because I did feel it was corporate bullshoot, and I had many conversations with the insurance company where the only thing I could say was “customer left before i could ask any questions” aka, I rendered simple first aid and let them go.

    You can’t blame the company entirely, we were show many actual cases of people faking accidents that were later caught by video tape to be shown to be fake, but without proper training and common sense a manager could be confused and respond like the original story.

  31. BigElectricCat says:

    Perhaps the manager would have taken the complaint more seriously if Paul had written his statement in HIS OWN BLOOD.

  32. tande says:

    @ndjustin: You forgot the part where you had go to the web page and fill out the follow up from the insurance company. Not only the LP manager but IIRC two other managers had to sign off (HR seems like it was one but that might of just been associate reports).

    And woe to the LPM that didn’t jump right on that because it would hurt the metrics and as the DLPM would remind you in a call the second that the report expired, you’re pulling down the district’s metrics.

    Not to mention the loving care that we’d give one of the people that got injured if they happened to call the store for a follow up instead of waiting for the issurance people to call them.

  33. Mary says:

    @ndjustin: I don’t blame the company for having forms or policy. I’ve worked quite a few places where this was just standard. There were forms and things to take care of. And honestly, where I work now, I shudder to think of what I would have to do since I have to fill out eight forms of paperwork if I even speak to a customer.

    That said, I don’t understand why following policy would instantly mean following a script instead of providing service along with CYA measures. It’s so simple to say, “Oh, that must hurt. Our first aid kit is in the pharmacy, but it’s closed, let me call the manager.”

    Then the manager comes over and says, “Here, we’ll use this box of bandaids here. Do you need anything else for that cut? I know this is the last thing you want to think about but we’ve got a few forms we have to fill out with you. Do you have some time?”

    Tadaa, a simple change in wording and the problem is solved!

  34. mariospants says:

    Time to take one of those Monty Python props to KMart and do the whole “don’t bother, just a flesh wound — do you have a bloodborne pathogen cleanup kit handy?” thing as your fake stump streams colored water all over their floor.

    I’d like to see that on Youtube… any takers?

  35. He should’ve started running around the store screaming: “I’M BLEEEEEDING!” and spewing blood everywhere. I’m 100% sure the manager would’ve found out a way to help him real quick.

  36. Peeved Guy says:

    @Thunderpants: Good on her!

    As I was reading the part where Paul was basically pleading for first aid supplies to staunch the flow of blood, I was thinking “Wow, too bad there are no other bandages in the county other than those in the first aid kit in the closed pharmacy”. If this manager had half a heart, she would have gone to the first aid aisle and taken what was needed.

  37. laddibugg says:

    @Thunderpants:

    +++
    Doesn’t KMart have a whole AISLE dedicated to bandages and stuff like that? Just damage it out.

  38. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    Last summer I was cut on a thin metal rod sticking out at some odd angle from a shelf at Home Depot. An employee saw it happen and looked away, pretending he didn’t. Another one walked by as my husband mopped up the blood running down my arm with the one tissue we had with us, he also said and did nothing. My husband got mad at me for not reporting it but I just wanted out of there and walked out. It wasn’t quite deep enough for stitches (although pretty long at about 4″) and I’m better at first aid than they would have been anyway. I knew there would have been paperwork and I wasn’t signing anything. FWIW there’s still a pretty good scar.

  39. quail says:

    Actually all business are required by OSHA to have a first aid kit always at hand. The manager should have been able to go to that kit and get something to clean and bandage the wound. It doesn’t matter if the Pharmacy is closed or not. Ever spend time in a manager’s office or in the back of a deli? There’s always a first aid kit nailed to the wall somewhere.

  40. consumersaur says:

    @EyeHeartPie: Hush your mouth, whinebag.

  41. thesabre says:

    If they are going to make you write a statement, at least write something like “As I sit here dripping blood in Kmart, their refusal to provide first aid is making me lightheaded. I feel I may pass out soon. At least they…”

  42. uberbucket says:

    When I was 17 I slipped on pile of bird seed that had spilled out of a broken bag at a local Fred Meyer. On my way to the floor to receive a narvicular fractures in both my hands I sort of took-out a display at the end of the aisle. Before I could even assess the damage I was set apron by security and escorted outside where I was informed that if I ever set foot in the store again they would call the cops.

    While in the emergency room later they refused to treat me until i filled out reams of paperwork. I told them that it’s pretty hard for me to do that seeing as how I had just broke the hand I write with for sure, and suspected my other one of probably being broke as well. I eventually -painfully- filled the paperwork out and I was able to get treated.

    I called the store in question to get a hold of someone to let them know what happen and to find out how to get them to pay for my medical bills only to find them singing a different tune. I supposedly went crazy in the store and vandalized a display. Then when security was called I ran out the front of the store, only to trip and fall in the street, breaking my hands conveniently off of the store property.

    I was 17, living on my own, no insurance and had no chance at fighting with the store, so I never did.

  43. MaryMippie says:

    Reminds me of the K-Mart in Santa Maria (CA). An elderly woman got mugged
    in the parking lot last year and had her purse stolen. She went back in to
    the “service” desk and asked to use the phone to call the police (explaining
    why) and the idiot told her that those phones weren’t for customer use &
    that they “didn’t dial out anyway” (lie).

  44. DWMILLER says:

    Thank Godd for cameras. My younger brother got jumped by two loss prevention personal.They thought he was stealing shaving cream. He kicked the shit out of both! Any way they called for re-inforcements and the police. The police was wise enough to take a look at the store’s camera and determine that the l.p gang assulted my brother. He wrote up a report stating he saw the whole incedent on camera and my brother was not doing any thing wrong. K-mart settledd out of court with my bro. Oh yea he still shops at k-mart!

  45. MyPetFly says:

    @DWMILLER:

    In the hopes of winning another settlement? : ) I would!!!

  46. Angryrider says:

    I’m betting that employee who gave the bandages to the customer got fired for “improper use” of merchandise or something.

  47. Alger says:

    Something similar happened to me a CompUSA a few years ago. I cut myself on some packaging in the store, went to ask for a band-aid, and was told “Sorry, we can’t give you one, because then we’d open ourself up to liability.”

    I have no clue why they would think that a medical malpractice suit would be their main worry.

  48. DeltaPurser says:

    Can’t blame them for trying to cover their asses as so many people are looking for ways to file suit against anybody, anywhere. But you’re right… a band aid, for crying out loud?! You don’t need the pharmacy for that.

  49. DeltaPurser says:

    @uberbucket: Welcome to America!

  50. dohtem says:

    This is screams lawsuit. How many OSHA regulations did they break?

  51. Consumer007 says:

    @Juggernaut: Oh Please any REAL manager has the damn pharmacy keys. And if they REALLY wanted to stop the bleeding, hand him a towel off the aisle and take him to the back office, making friendly conversation, and filling out the damn form themselves for the injured person that HELLO probably can’t write that well now that his finger is bleeding DUH.

    On a separate note, any time some peon or pseudo-manager-wannabe shoves paper at me, I simply say “Hmmm, isn’t that YOUR job to fill that out? Thanks….”

    One of the thing that pees me off the most these days is this trend of corporations trying to force their work / chores / duties on the consumer and then charging as if they (employees) did the work the consumer did.

    What do we pay you for here again?

  52. Breach says:

    Ugh, unacceptable. The manager could have just opened a pack of Band-Aids and written it off for Christ’s sake, then had him sign the paperwork.

    Sounds cold but in a lawsuit happy world you bet your sweet ass they made him sign some liability papers.

  53. Consumer007 says:

    I would have been like “well, if you’re not smart enough to get band-aids off the shelf, or to get your own store keys, can you get a real manager over here to care about me? Thanks…

    Separately, since when does any store lock up band aids behind the pharmacy counter? Something fishy with that claim.

  54. Vartan says:

    Hey, new user so hopefully this gets approved, but guess I’ll see, eh?

    First off, at those few scoffing at me for just randomly signing things instead of stomping off indignantly, what I wrote was actually just a rather detailed description in my own words, of what happened. I made it as factual and non-self-incriminating (which really, wasn’t hard) as possible. The actual “form” they ended up scrounging up was just a basic customer contact information form, which really, I *wanted* them to have some sort of documentation of the incident in case I did need to pursue something later, in case they wanted to pretend it never happened. I definitely didn’t sign anything implying an acceptance or release of liabilities.

    And yeah, I’ve worked in retail so I know how idiotic (and crippling, to people who want to be helpful) their CYA policies are, but it was made especially ridiculous by the fact that the H&B section was within line of sight from where we were standing at the service desk, chock full of bandaids and other first-aid supplies. Plus, this was the first time I’ve ever seen a manager so spectacularly verbally flail around *and* try to seem totally nonchalant and businesslike simultaneously. At least she did finally go get something from there when I outright requested it, and made a vague attempt to seem non-specifically apologetic right at the tail end.

    And why did I still buy the stuff? Well, I needed light bulbs and paint. It would seem silly to not buy what I needed, after I stopped there to get it. Plus, with gas prices the way they are, driving across town to pick up some small yet necessary items solely because I was sort of angry seemed silly. (Also, at that point I was also just thinking “Man, this woman sure is inconsiderate.” rather than being as annoyed as I was at the end.) Kmart is right next to the highway I take to get home from work, Target and Walmart are 15 minutes in opposite directions, yet I have gone in there, maybe 3 times in the past 5 years because it’s such a trashy store. But, like I said. Not shopping there again. Life goes on.

  55. Dobernala says:

    @Alger: I am willing to bet that sort of response would open them to more liability than the mere act of providing a bandage.

  56. dragonfire81 says:

    How the hell does the store MANAGER not have a key to the pharmacy. He’s the manager, he should have full access.

  57. humphrmi says:

    @dragonfire81: Actually I think that’s the law. The manager has full access to everything except where they keep the drugs. Only licensed pharmacists have keys to the pharmacy in most states. But that doesn’t mean that the manager couldn’t have taken a band-aid package off a shelf.

  58. glorpy says:

    @dragonfire81: Retail pharmacists don’t even report to the store manager in many stores. Their areas are off-limits and independent.

    The store managers aren’t even supposed to know how much the pharmacists are earning!

  59. Problems like this are pretty common.

    My 16 month touched a hot metal storefront at our local North Face store on a warm day. First and second degree burns coveredthe palms of both hands. I had to ask several times for the first aid kit & a call for emergency help and they tried to prevent us from leaving for the hospital until we had signed paperwork (I refused).

    Even worse, the store refused to do anything to fix the problem and prevent others from being injured. To this day, there is not even a sign warning parents of the danger.

    We are lucky that my son’s hands healed well and did not permanently use mobility in his hands.

    Debbie

  60. mythago says:

    They’re supposed to have at least a minimal first-aid kit available in the break room for employees. She didn’t have to go to the pharmacy.

    As for litigation, sorry, no. Nobody wins millions of dollars for a cut pinkie, no matter what the Chamber of Commerce tells you, and juries think “we tried to help him” is a positive, not a reason for punishment.

  61. WraithSama says:

    To those saying he should sue, keep in mind that those forms “for insurance purposes” he signed may well have included a lawsuit waiver. He may have signed away his right to do so. It’s common for companies to include clauses like that in their accident report forms they have customers sign.

  62. Rando says:

    Can you blame them? America is sue happy. Sign then get help

  63. Jesse in Japan says:

    Why the hell would you actually sign a document in that kind of situation?

  64. spanky says:

    @mythago:

    Thank you! The notion that people are regularly getting big personal injury awards for things like this is a carefully constructed myth.

    If you don’t believe that, call a few personal injury law firms and ask if they’ll take your “I cut my finger at KMart” case on contingency.

  65. BrianU says:

    I thought there was an OSHA requirement to have a first aid kit available. And the kits vary as to how many employees are present – variations and additions for types of hazards too. I always a band-aid in my wallet just to keep a paper cut from making a disportionate mess and escalating the situation to biohazard levels levels in today’s society.

  66. arl84 says:

    Sadly I really can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve been to Kmarts in my local area and they have been in poor condition, and the staff has been less than helpful. I even had a friend that worked there, who basically confirmed the Kmart Manager Confessions article. Now the stores are dangerous too?! You could totally sue, and should.

    I’ll stay away from Kmart until they can clean themselves up a bit. Thanks for sharing.

  67. betatron says:

    @Alger:

    […] went to ask for a band-aid, and was told “Sorry, we can’t give you one, because then we’d open ourself up to liability. Where’s the Hello Kitty stuff? I gotta get something for my niece…”

    “Cool! If you’re not worried about me bleeding all over merchandise, books and floor models, then i’m not worried either! Thank!! i’m going to check-out screen HDTVs or maybe some O’Riley books!! Hey, where’s the Hello Kitty stuff? I gotta get something for my neices…”

  68. humphrmi says:

    @betatron: I remember when I had my first bourbon.

  69. Novaload says:

    Paul got the exact same treatment he would have gotten at most Emergency Rooms–show up bleeding and in pain, ask for help, and “Here, fill out this paperwork.” Helpful Hint: you can use paper to staunch bleeding.

    I have a friend with a bad back/hip joint. Walking through a store there was an unmarked, no handrail, same carpet little two step down–this in a strip mall type set up. She stepped halfway between the steps and fell. Not one of the sales people in this small boutique like joint even LOOKED AT HER when she fell, and it was audible–I was there. SHe asked twice for help to get up and no one moved –this from about 5 feet to 5 yards away. I was hurrying over to help her up and one of the staff commented that it happened all the time–no handrail, no “step” notice, no lights on the steps. They did give her a form to fill out and offered to reimburse her if she had to go seek medical help. But how about fixing that two-step liability?

  70. betatron says:

    @betatron: well *that* was badly edited… (and i utterly misquoted alger. very sorry havings.

  71. chewiemeat says:

    Okay, here is what I would have done.

    Smeared the blood all over my mouth-hole and then started limping toward the checkout line grumbling “BRAAAINS!”.

  72. TNKmart says:

    If the employee had offered a bandage for the cut s/he would have been covered under the Good Samaritan Law. Good Sam for short.

    Defined as: Good Samaritan laws (acts) in the United States and Canada are laws/acts protecting from blame those who choose to aid others who are injured or ill. They are intended to reduce bystanders’ hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death.

    Though how a little neosporin and a bandage would result in injury or death is beyond me unless it became infected or he hadn’t had a tetnus shot recently…

  73. Gotta think there is this big arse corporate manual just laying around somewhere in the store manager’s office. In the manual is a lots of stupid forms and rules, some of them remotely applicable to running a store. On the first day the store manager was assigned his/her job the store manager signed a form saying he/she has read every glossy page in the manual Guess what? One of the chapters is going to cover customer injuries!

    I think it is time for the store manager to re-read the corporate manual.

    Oh, and OSHA really does require a first aid kit to be available. The standard is one kit per so many square feet of store or one kit per so many employees.

  74. xrodion says:

    file a complaint with corporat

  75. xrodion says:

    *corporate

  76. amandakerik says:

    I would have stood up and started walking out when they said “It’s all in the pharmacy” and headed to the pharmacy, calling back to them “Are you coming?”.

    I would have insisted that they tend to my wound, and if they hemmed and hawed, I would have said in a clear loud (but not yelling) voice that I had cut myself on one of their displays and that I would like some medical attention _now_, not after paperwork.

    If they refused at that point, I would have left and documented as much as I could.

    Sometimes you need to give them the only option that will work.
    I wouldn’t have sat there, I wouldn’t have filled out forms until _after_ I was tended to. Period.

  77. ColdNorth says:

    IANAL, but I do own a family retail business. Let me tell you that the first thing you do when any person hurts them self is offer assistance and call an ambulance.

    We have no forms to sign. I would think that the REAL litigation opportunity would come from a store’s failure to respond. Or, even worse, a false insistence on getting a waiver signed as a condition to providing assistance. In fact, this might even invalidate the waiver (if any was signed). Only a lawyer would know for sure.

    The REAL problem here, in my opinion, is that people are entirely too afraid of the urban legend lawsuit.

    Big companies get scared that their “workerbee managers” will do something stupid, so they try to create a checklist of things to do and not do… common sense be damned.

    Small companies usually believe the same nonsense about being sued that gets spouted over and over again on the internet.

    Frankly, it sounds to me like the K-Mart “manager” was more annoyed at all the extra work that was just created by this “dumb customer” than any real concern over the OP’s welfare or what the “suits” at HQ would say. If the pharmacy was closed, then it must have been pretty late at night and probably even nearing closing time. Surely this was not the actual GM, but rather a closing manager (who is probably just a glorified shift supervisor).

  78. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @thesabre: “…As I sit here dripping blood in Kmart…”
    You made it come out of my nose!!

    Sorry, all I could think of before this comment was the Dan Akroyd Julia Child skit.

  79. macinjosh says:

    @chewiemeat:

    “Okay, here is what I would have done.

    Smeared the blood all over my mouth-hole and then started limping toward the checkout line grumbling “BRAAAINS!”. “

    You also could have grumbled your gawker username.

  80. wring says:

    shit i would grab the first box of gauze and hydrogen peroxide in sight.

  81. AmadoraCalvus says:

    @tande:
    Sears and K-Mart are the same company. I work at a KMart myself, and
    this is nothing compared to what they have us do.

    They’ve made me violate so many OSHA regulations, I’d be scared is they
    ever came to inspect the place. I’d be weary about the bathrooms too,
    most of the time the night crews (the only ones to clean the bathroom)
    don’t even go in there.

  82. Calico_jack says:

    I had a similar experience at a resturaunt only IMHO it was far worse. I was eating with my mother and looked over at the guy in the next booth as his eyes rolled back into his head and he tumbled onto the floor. Noone had the presence of mind to dial 911 til I did and get an ambuilance (if you get First Aid certified you learn this is the most important response to an emergency for you to do). Then the guy came to a few moments later and seemed relatively ok (just fainted) but the first thing they did was make him sign insurance documents as the paramedics were taking his blood pressure! The man was barely coherent!!! I wa appalled by that.

  83. misslisa says:

    I would have wiped the blood on the manager

  84. humphrmi says:

    @doctor_cos: Save the giblets!

  85. kingdom2000 says:

    I want to be sympathetic to the customer but this is a litigious society we now live in. Giving the customer bandages could be construed as taking blame for the accident therefore making KMart responsible. Seems silly but juries award money on less.

  86. Dominikanfrank says:

    If the injury was as harsh as the story said then yes Kmart was in the wrong, but if it is exaggerated and the “injured victim” only had a slight cut then ofcourse the manager is gonna be thinking, “It’s not that serious, and this person automatically thinking lawsuit, let me protect myself.”

    In the store I work in we had an incident where this lady was shopping, and a plastic sheet, with the weight of 0.68 lb. swiped past her head. When she came to the front saying something hit her head I was asking her if she wa alright, if she wanted some Ice… until I saw what hit her, then I just shook my head and pulled out the paper work. Found it pretty astonishing that this layer of plastic cause this lady, or so she claimed, “Severe headaches, shoulder pain, and back pain.” Sure enough three weeks later, a letter from her attorneys.

  87. Inexcusable behavior on the part of the manager and store employees. Manager should be terminated. Here’s the priority list:

    1. Make certain that customer who has been injured by store’s negligence is taken care of immediately. Unless policy strictly forbids it, APOLOGIZE. (If pharmacy is closed, send employee or walk with customer to place where bandages and other medical supplies are displayed and take from shelf.)

    2. Protect other customers by a)sending correctly trained employee to clean biohazard. b) removing offending sharp object from discount bin.

    3. Do not even mention paperwork and signing things until customer has been asked if they want to go the the hospital. Apologize again.

    4. Bring up unfortunate matter of legal issues with customer in calm and self-effacing way. Tell customer that, if it isn’t too much trouble right now, you need them to sign some documents. Apologize again.

    Your company has insurance for this very issue. Fire the manager. Tell the new manager where the damn first aid kit is.

  88. mythago says:

    Anyone who thinks juries “award money for a lot less” needs to spend five minutes reading something other than the WSJ editorial pages.

  89. mythago says:

    @Dominikanfrank, definitely would not ignore that letter from her attorneys, but chances are that once you pass it on to your insurance company, you won’t hear about it again. You might also want to look up her attorneys’ names on your State Bar website. Lawyers who stay in business a long time don’t stay in business with this kind of case. Fraudsters do.

  90. trying to force their work / chores / duties on the consumer and then charging as if they (employees) did the work the consumer did.

    @Consumer007: You mean like the extra ripoff fee Fandango charges you for saving the theater labor money? Ha. I’ll use Fandango when it’s a DISCOUNT off the ticket price. Not an extra cost. Sorry, tangent.

  91. Dominikanfrank says:

    @mythago: Thanks for the advice, really appreciate it, but ofcourse I didn’t ignore it. It was forwarded to my insurance company as usual, but I find it ridiculous and irresponsible to sue a company for something so minor. Sure it might not make the company go bankrupt, but their insurance will go up, causing pricing of goods to go up.

  92. Nighthawke says:

    Perhaps it’s time for a some scare tactics for the store in question. Fire off a thunderbolt to OSHA indicating what happened and see how they respond to the it.

  93. allthatsevil says:

    When I was an “ass-man” at Blockbuster I had a young woman pass out in the store for no apparent reason. She was only out for a few seconds and her mother was with her, but I gave her a bottle of water from the cooler(which I paid for myself because I knew I’d get in trouble for giving away water) and then called an ambulance. The paramedics took care of her, she was fine, end of story.

    Then I got written up by the store manager because I forgot to have the poor girl fill out some stupid injury form.

  94. RvLeshrac says:

    We hand out band-aids for injuries where I’m working, and I’ve even handed out a customer’s choice of headache medications.

    I’m always smart enough to have another employee on hand, however, and ask those nice anti-lawsuit questions. This way, when someone comes back and tries to sue because you gave them aspirin and it made their stomache hurt, you have a witness available to state that you offered them a choice of aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.

    Same goes with band-aids, you have to have a witness there to observe the “How did you cut yourself?” “Does it hurt?” “Would you like some antiseptic, or just a band-aid?” questions.

    The manager in the story responded very poorly, but you also have to remember that there are litigious bastards out there who will sue you over everything under the sun, so you have to cover your ass thoroughly.

    You can’t even so much as call an ambulance/paramedics without the person’s OK (if they’re conscious), or you’ll wind up liable for the costs involved there, too.

    Further, there’s no excuse for not having a first-aid kit on hand. That’s an OSHA requirement. The first-aid kit in the pharmacy won’t be available (no one, not the store management, not the police, not the property owner, is allowed into the prescription lockup without being accompanied by licensed medical personnel), but that just means that they have to keep at LEAST one first-aid kit outside of the restricted area.

    I’ve never worked in a retail store that did not have at least four or five first-aid kits.

  95. Buran says:

    @tande: Try again. Read the story from a few days ago where “sorry” LOWERS lawsuit rates, and take some common decency lessons.

  96. WhirlyBird says:

    The link to the original story doesn’t work; the tool moved it behind a “friendslock”, because of all y’all’s nasty comments. At this point, vartan sounds like a crybaby, and this story has no legs.

  97. Mary says:

    @WhirlyBird: Yes, because everybody wants their personal story to be picked apart by the blame the victim crowd here at Consumerist. It’s fun!

  98. RvLeshrac says:

    @Buran:

    “Sorry” lowers lawsuit *rates*, but it increases your chances of being successfully sued.

    If you don’t say “sorry,” and you win 9/9 lawsuits before they reach a jury, you’re better off than if you DO say “sorry,” and you lose 1/1 for $1mm.

    It is entirely possible to show concern for someone while not using language which assumes responsibility for the incident.

    On the other hand, if you’re OBVIOUSLY responsible for the incident, you’re probably going to be better off with a “sorry” than you are with two dozen forms.