Walmart Flip Flop Woman Writes In To Defend Herself

Kerry, the woman whose feet suffered some sort of burn from wearing flip flops, has written in to defend herself against the comments on Consumerist.

Kerry writes:

I am the woman that bought the flip flops that burnt my feet.

I wanted to add a comment to the people that were asking why I would keep wearing the flip flops, first of all, before I wore my flip flops for the first time I rinsed them with water, then I put them here & there for a little while each time, by the time I was sure there was a problem I set them aside & never put them on again, I tried to go to the doctor right away but have no insurance so it was hard to fine a place to go here in FL, I went as SOON AS I COULD.

As far as me trying to “get ” walmart, I simply want them to make me whole, I paid for doctor visits that I would never had to go to if this hadn’t happened, I just want to be made whole.

I am not to “get anyone” I was worried that there may be a problem and that little kids may be hurt & that’s why I went to them in the first place.

As for my feet being ugly, I never argue that, but now they are ugly AND scarred, it left scars, permanent scars. By telling my story I hope that people will simply be careful with the things they purchase.

Kerry Stiles

PREVIOUSLY: Woman Receives Severe Chemical Burns From Flip Flops, Walmart Tells Her To Complain To Manufacturer

UPDATE: Kerry’s site went down, so we mirrored her photos here.


Edit Your Comment

  1. err…

    can I sue her for making me less “whole” after reading that article? I could seriously feel my brain cells committing suicide trying to understand some of that letter.

    Lady- Step 1: Get a Lawyer (and not one of those 1-800 ones you see on tv)

  2. cashmerewhore says:

    People that shop at walmart can use the internet?

    Who knew?

  3. cashmerewhore says:


    One of the 1-800 schmucks would probably be in her best interest.

  4. banned says:

    Obviously you are fairly new to this site or you’d know people rip on just about every victim around here so don’t feel bad.

  5. cashmerewhore says:

    And it’s CHEAP not cheep. Baby chicks CHEEP.

  6. kimsama says:

    Sorry, it’s not Walmart’s responsibility to pay for your treatment when you have an allergic reaction. It’s sad when something like this happens, but sometimes it’s just your body being messed up (imagine you had MS, or Parkinson’s! You are lucky you just have an allergy!).

    It sucks not to have insurance — instead of using your energy going after Walmart, why don’t you lobby your representative and senators for better health care for poor people? That way, the next time an uninsured person has an allergic reaction, they can get the help you couldn’t afford.

  7. wring says:

    you guys are mean.

  8. banned says:

    Once they started selling computers it was bound to happen!

  9. burnte says:

    You know, this is a site for consumer issues, not a body critique. I highly doubt everyone commenting is a foot model.

    This woman bought a pair of sandals that I doubt anyone would reasonably assume would cause chemical burns. At first she said her feet tingled and she assumed it was just from wearing the sandals after a long winter, A reasonable assumption. However, once she deduced it was the sandals she stopped wearing them. That doesn’t mean the damage stopped then. Chemical burns can take days to finish erupting, just like you don’t get a blister the instant you burn your finger on a hot pan. I have no doubt she stopped wearing the shoes days before it got to the point you see in the photo. Chem burns are brutal.

    And regardless of that fact, if she had continues to wear them, does that really get Walmart off the hook for selling shoes that scar your feet?

  10. Hawkeye1659 says:

    Kerry, no need to defend yourself. Some people on this site can be very rude and heartless but not the majority. Hell, a few of them sided against the poor woman who had diarrhea in her pants and the store wouldn’t let her use their bathroom. I saw the pictures and it looked really bad and painful. Hopefully they will pull those things off the shelves and you’ll be taken care of without the need for a bunch of lawyers and courts. Are you still in pain? Scarring bad?

  11. GameVoid says:

    I like how there was is supposedly an “audition” period on this site to make sure that only commenters who can provide constructive or witty additions to an article are allowed. I didn’t realize that the audition period was to weed out people who don’t argue via the usage of sweeping generalizations and ad hominem attacks.

  12. Hawkeye1659 says:


    If it is/was an allergic reaction, after seeing how bad her feet were damaged don’t you think there should be a HUGE warning label attached to every pair of those flip flops? I’m not normally an advocate of some of those ridiculous warning labels, but this one looks to be pretty damn important. I sure as hell wouldn’t buy a pair of $3 sandals if I knew there was even the POTENTIAL for burns like she got. And WalMart is still happily selling these sandals knowing this…

  13. banned says:

    Just another example of the benefits of universal healthcare. This situation would be nipped in the bud and all she would have to fight for is a refund, and perhaps a recall. But no, she’s gonna’ have to go through a lengthy court battle if she wants justice.

  14. Canadian Impostor says:

    @Hawkeye1659: What sort of warning label?


  15. demonradio says:

    I think everyone is being a little too mean with all of this. Maybe it’s an allergic reaction or maybe it’s a chemical burn. I think it’s safe to say that most of us are not doctors and can’t determine what it is or isn’t over the interwebs. If she went to see a doctor and he said this was a chemical burn and not an allergic reaction, then that’s good enough for me. I love all these people going “It’s probably an allergic reaction because just because you weren’t allergic to it before doesn’t mean you aren’t now.” I think the submitter knows her body pretty well.
    As for making fun of her feet? That’s just childish. I’d love to see everyone who made fun of her feet post pictures of theirs. In my opinion, everyone’s feet are gross, including mine. I saw nothing out of the ordinary with her feet, aside from the flip-flop shaped wound.
    And I just love love love the people making fun of her for shopping at Wal-Mart. Lets face it, we all have at some point, whether it was a one time trip or a weekly trip. Sometimes that’s really all there is in some areas. I didn’t know people who had their heads so far up their asses were capable of using the internet. I’m looking at you, CashmereWhore.
    And really, is anyone going to buy those flip-flops now? Probably not.
    It’d be great it everyone stopped acting like douche monkeys now, but I highly doubt that’s going to happen.
    Flame on, people. Flame on.

    And Subby, I hope your feets feel better.

  16. bonzombiekitty says:


    No. If you are one person out of 10000000 that are allergic to that particular type of latex, then there is no reason for a warning label. Otherwise, there’d be warning labels on everything that would take up most of the packaging.

    Personally, I think that if Walmart has not had any other complaints and it has not been demonstrated that the injuries are actually burns, then it’s probably just a freak allergy. Nobody is really at fault.

    However, I’d agree that having been shown the images, I’d temporarily halt the sales of those shoes until it was shown what caused the injury.

  17. kimsama says:

    @Hawkeye1659: I get that sort of rash from eating mangoes. On my FACE. Should there be a HUGE warning label on mangoes? How about strawberries? One of my friends goes into anaphylactic shock after eating just one. Or how about shrimp? Or wheat? Soap? Shampoo? (P.S. I’m also allergic to many kinds of shampoo, if I get a rash, I just have to go to the doctor, get some Aclovate, and deal with it). Truly caustic chemicals have warning labels, things that normal people aren’t sensitive to don’t.

    Seriously, it’s upsetting and annoying, and possibly life-threatening, to have an allergy, but we can’t put labels on everything anyone could be allergic to. You just have to be careful about what you buy. Personal responsibility ftw.

  18. kimsama says:

    @bonzombiekitty: D’oh, you beat me.

    Great name, btw.

  19. tcp100 says:

    I know she said she’s talked to one other person who had this problem, but people have to realize that allergies can pop up at any time, and to almost any thing.

    I think if there was something specific in the plastic that was causing widespread burns to many customers, even Wal Mart would wake up a little.

    The fact that they’re dismissing this implies that her situation is a rare one, and there’s a good chance that this could have happened with another pair from another manufacturer and store.

    People think just because they’ve worn or used something tons of times means they’ll never develop an allergy to it. Actually, it can be quite the contrary.

    People’s body chemistries change over time, sometimes suddenly – and people can develop sudden and bizarre reactions to things that wouldn’t do a thing to 99% of folks.

    I myself developed an allergy to propylene glycol when I was in college – something that’s in almost every consumer cosmetic and hygiene product. It happened suddenly, came out of nowhere, and was with products I had used for years.

    I’m not saying her story isn’t horrible – it is. I’m also not saying the flip flops didn’t cause her problem; I’m sure they did. However, to imply that they are somehow ‘dangerous’ to most people and that they should be recalled or issued a warning label is naive.

    If she could get a lab to somehow prove that there’s a caustic chemical or irritant in the straps, there might be a cause here for further action. However, if they’ve only received one or two reports out of doubtless thousands sold, the onus is really on her. It’s not “victim blaming” and it’s not “mean”, it’s just the fact that 1 person out of 1000 may be allergic to *anything*, and you can’t expect a company to make a special case for every product with that in mind.

  20. Optimistic Prime says:

    @kimsama: There’s a huge difference between a chemical burn and an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction would’ve spread out like a nasty rash. Seeing the pictures, as gruesome as they are, the redness never moves. It’s concentrated in the same area, so it would be some sort of caustic residue left on the sandals.

    Though she did rinse them with water, baking soda would’ve been better as it would’ve neutralized whatever was on there.

  21. Thorimm says:

    My local Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robins has several warning signs now.

    Ice Cream may nuts in it.
    …may come in contact with eggs, wheat, nuts
    There is milk in the scrambled eggs.
    Cashier cannot count.
    We will not accept ‘dirty’ money. (but this does not stop the cashier from licking her fingers to count out the ones!)
    Watch for cars in lot.
    No outside food.

    Which does lead me to one big Q about DD…why is coffee more expensive when ice is added?

  22. SOhp101 says:

    Kerry, grow some thick skin. Most of the guys here who write trollish comments are just sad, sad individuals.

    I’m surprised that Consumerist allows such comments… isn’t that why there’s supposed to be a probationary period for newly registered users to only allow the considerate (does not mean that you cannot be occasionally harsh), wise, and/or witty to comment?

  23. jitrobug says:

    Why don’t people get booted from commenting for being so blatantly anti-consumer?

    they’re just dickish trolls, the site would be better without them.

    fundamentally, if you’re a person who’s opinion of McDonalds coffee lady is “dumb bitch, coffee is hot,” then go somewhere else.

    (hint: she needed skin grafts)

  24. Hawkeye1659 says:

    This is beyond “personal responsibility” if you think people should be thinking about getting burns like she got when buying something as simple and benign as flip flops. And when was it determined that this is an allergy anyways and not some sort of chemical burn or something else entirely? If I eat some strange food and turns out I’m allergic to it, go ahead and chalk that up to personal responsibility and I’ll accept that. But it is not reasonable for me to think that buying a plastic frisbee could cause severe burns to my hands.

    And to the 1 in 100000 comment, who’s to say this hasn’t happened to a bunch of other people. She already got a letter from someone else who this happened to. Again though it hasn’t been determined to be an allergy anyways so that is presumptuous until we know for sure. Many other companies make flip flops that don’t cause severe burning like that. Why can’t this one?

  25. kimsama says:

    @tcp100: Wow, propylene glycol? Me too! That’s exactly why I’m allergic to tons of shampoos. I feel for ya. It’s hard to avoid, isn’t it?

  26. E-Bell says:

    The popular opinion on the last thread was that it’s contact dermatitis. Her response doesn’t really address this.

    Wal-Mart should tell her to pound sand (unless she has proof that the product is defective). They owe her nothing.

  27. kimsama says:

    @Optimistic Prime: Sorry, I have contact dermatitis to many things, and that’s just not the case. The only skin that’s affected is that which came into contact with the allergen. I have never heard of an allergic rash “spreading,” except in the case of a systemic allergic reaction, or possibly autoeczematization.

  28. Groovymarlin says:

    Sometimes when I read the really virulent anti-consumer comments, I wonder if they’re actually posted by:
    a. PR flacks or other employees of the companies in question
    b. Just plain trolls (the same people who seek out fan sites for games or movies just to trash on the same games or movies and get a rise out of the actual fans)

    I think there’s a way to make constructive criticism of what went down in this or any story, or make suggestions to others who may encounter a similar situation. Blatantly trashing, blaming, or making fun of the original victim is unnecessary.

  29. Hawkeye1659 says:

    @Kimsama: So when you buy shampoo you look on the back ingredients label for propylene glycol right? There’s no warning label per say on shampoo but you know that it’s there and can stay away from it. Wouldn’t it suck for you if there were no ingredient labels on any shampoos? How would this woman have been able to avoid these severe burns if it is in fact an allergy? She couldn’t have.

  30. tcp100 says:

    @jitrobug: Because no consumer-oriented site will ever make any headway if they’re always completely reactionary and don’t weigh reality in with what’s going on. I’m not talking about THIS story, but there have been plenty of stories on the consumerist where the consumer was NOT right, and just stringing up companies because they’re “the man” and part of some “evil conspiracy empire” will get a consumerist movement absolutely nowhere.

    Listen, there’s no excuse to be virulent and rude and make comments about people not being able to use the internet, etc. However, if anyone expects companies to respect what the consumerist has to say, what’s said has to be reasonable and metered. A ‘string ’em up, hang ’em!’ attitude that implies NO personal responsibility is required in being a consumer will get everyone absolutely nowhere.

  31. tcp100 says:

    @kimsama: It is VERY hard to avoid. It’s in absolutely everything, even some food products!

  32. LillyBama says:

    Can I just say that allergic reactions tend to occur pretty quickly. The development of this wound does truly look like a chemical burn – a slow development from a 1st to 3rd degree burn – how many allergic reactions take 12 days to fully develop and continue to develop after halting exposure to the source?
    Considering the way that Walmart appears to have passed the buck on this particular complaint, who is to know how many incidents like this occurred? How many people would have had less severe reactions and just assumed as Kerry did that it was from wearing flip flops for the first time that year?
    For the sake of consumer safety Walmart should have halted the sale of these products as a precaution. Thats just common sense.

  33. Toof_75_75 says:


    Yeah, that would have fixed it… So 2 or 3 months later, once she had finally waited her turn to see a doctor and her burn was long finished developing, the doctor would have told her, here’s some off-brand aloe…It might help.

  34. Chaosium says:

    @Hawkeye1659: I don’t believe that isolated allergic reactions should necessitate a warning label, no. I hope that if this is a problem that the article helped someone, but I doubt this will be a problem for your average person who lacks an overactive immune system, and the majority of others as well.

  35. kimsama says:

    @Hawkeye1659: Yes, unless say I’m at a hotel, in which case those little shampoo bottles don’t have labels. I check when I can, and if I have a reaction because I couldn’t check, I go to the dermatologist. I don’t expect to be able to avoid such a ubiquitous product 100% (latex is pretty ubiquitous too), but I’m not blaming the hotels for not “making me whole” if I get a rash. ^_^ I don’t think anyone wants to live in a nanny state, right? Sometimes bad things happen because you are unlucky enough to be allergic to something. C’est la vie. If this were a product liability issue, believe me, I’d be foaming at the mouth, but as someone with plenty of contact dermatitis experience, I guess I can only say “Welcome to the club, Kerry. Here’s your complementary steroid cream.”

    I hope she can get insurance soon. That’s a scary way to live (as I recall from my post-college days).

  36. tcp100 says:

    @Hawkeye1659: Actually, hawkeye, It’s not listed on everything. I’ve had to take the attitude to avoid things if I don’t know what’s in it. Also, it doesn’t do it every time – so it’s hit or miss and a very strange reaction. I’ve gotten reactions to hand soap in restaurant bathrooms – even though 99 times out of 100 nothing will happen.

    My doc even suggested that it may not be an allergy that affects me -all- the time; it could be seasonal, related to different things (I.E. what I eat, temperature, immune responses.)

    You’d be surprised how little doctors actually know about allergies, what causes them, and why they come and go. I for one have no allergies to anything else, really – even poison ivy doesn’t affect me that much. Strange.

  37. Hawkeye1659 says:

    Good point jitrobug. The rudeness and personal comments is what is really gets to me. It ends up degrading any rational arguments that can and have been raised by people. This woman was in a lot of pain and from reading the site with pictures and timeline I didn’t get the feeling she is some litigious person looking to cash in, but someone in a lot of pain and wanting to avoid others experiencing the same thing. It’s good she is making people aware of this IMO and it’s not justified her getting crapped on for doing so.

  38. Chaosium says:

    @Groovymarlin: We’re not adverse to corporate criticism, just a basic miniscule amount of research before people start scaremongering.

  39. MeOhMy says:

    The easy-availability of commenter accounts has definitely had a negative impact on the overall quality. I would like to point out that I expressed concern about this at Lifehacker nearly a year ago.

  40. jitrobug says:


    Yeah – I confused the two.. booting people for disagreeing in an intelligent way would kill the site – it’s the increase in mindless nastiness that I think they ought to deal with.

  41. kimsama says:

    @tcp100: Oh no, like what? Argh, I’m glad I’m going mostly with “whole” foods these days…

  42. ArtDonovansDrunkenLovechild says:

    I love the fact that anyone who critiques the complainer is a troll. There was no need to attack her feet, but I definately see why she would come off as someone who is out to “get” walmart. We have all seen too many people try to sue for injuries either they should have been able to prevent, or that are just natural life occurances. If this is in fact an alergy (also my guess since a chemical burn would lead me to believe that there would be major stories on an outbreak, then she needs to deal with that issue and move on. By posting these stories on the net people are going to naturally assume you are out to get something.

    As for the walmart bashers, so people prefer to shop there for a lot of reasons, doesnt make them all illiterate rednecks as Ive seen them called. I developed a love for walmart back in college and his the store for most of my health and beauty type products due to selection and cost. It doesnt make me a moron or poor, just makes me a smart consumer. Dont attack people just for shopping there. Its just bias (very blue state).

  43. hills says:

    Unless you’ve walked a mile in her shoes (haha – flip flops), maybe it’s nicer not to judge…..

    Bottom line – I think anyone would be pretty pissed if that happened to them, allergic reaction or chemicals aside…..

  44. LTS! says:

    How is Wal-mart supposed to make her whole?

    She addresses nothing other than why she wore them, that she rinsed them with water, and that she didn’t want anyone else to get hurt by them. She also wants to be made whole (wtf does that mean). Okay, so let’s address this.

    Once again, you are allergic to something. That sucks, there’s no denying it. Because you have no medical insurance you’re situation was made worse due to delays in treatment. That sucks, but what can I say, get insurance, I am sure the cost would have outweighed worrying about permanent scars on your feet. Can’t afford it? Why should Wal-mart have to pay for it.

    No one else to get hurt. You, a single person, with a claim that someone else had a problem, has had a problem out of millions of these shoes sold out Wal-mart stores around the country. You, singular. My local news will run a story if two people ALMOST get hit by a car at an intersection because they are that hard up for news. I’m thinking this might have made it a little farther up the chain.

    You want to be made whole… still, what you are saying (I am interpreting here) is that you want Wal-mart to compensate you for an unfortunate allergic reaction. They should pay your medical bills because you did not have insurance? If your foot had slipped out of the flip flop while walking causing you to fall and break your hip would you be looking to Wal-mart for compensation? Because there’s probably a greater chance of that happening to someone than having this kind of reaction. You have no insurance, you have to pay for ANYTHING that might have happened to you that required medical attention.

    For those sympathizing with the “labelled” aspect of this. What should the company put on it? Caution: Contains plastic and foam, your feet might suddenly swell up and blister if you cannot obtain immediate medical treatment. Christ, it’s attitudes like that which increase the instruction manual for my stereo receiver to 3 pages of warnings and 1 page of connection instructions. “Caution: Do not install in bathtub, might cause severe injury or death.” Duh.

    Finally… I don’t care what your feet look like.

  45. kimsama says:

    Oh, hey — and Kerry, I got horrible marks on my legs after having an allergic reaction to being bitten by midges (yes, I’m also allergic to biting insects), and they scarred, but went away after about 2 years. Cocoa butter or shea butter helps. Also, the steroid cream can cause your skin to thin a little (making it more susceptible to stretch marks, etc), so only use it as your doctor ordered you to.

  46. hepsmom says:

    I have had a problem with items this pink color, both plastic and fabric. I got a similar “burn” from a pair of flip-flops purchased at the Gap and experienced burning and itching of my feet from a pair of Keds tennis shoes this color, but stopped wearing the items. Strange, I never thought that I needed to sue someone. Sometimes stuff just happens, and you change your behavior to keep it from happening again.

    Why do you have to go after some entity because you encountered a problem? I think I should be glad that I don’t understand this mentality.

  47. bambino says:

    “make her whole”?! Jesus stop watching soap operas…

  48. Gopher bond says:

    @Optimistic Prime: “Though she did rinse them with water, baking soda would’ve been better as it would’ve neutralized whatever was on there.”

    Unless it’s a burn from a base. You can get chemical burns from an acid or a base or solvents or oxidizers. If you don’t know what is burning you I wouldn’t going around guessing what to throw on it in order to make it better. Dumb idea.

  49. 3ZKL says:

    could it be the influx of percieved trolls has a little something to do with our good ole’ friend ‘teh chinese poison train’. how about the increasing number of posts in the vein of ‘i bought some piece of crap @ walmart (slash big box store), something went wrong, & now i want to complain’. more poison dog food & nazi tshirt stories equals more walmart trolls. while i love reading the consumerist, perhaps these types of stories are better suited for the local news.

    the general vibe around consumerist has always seemed to be ‘big box sucks’. while i feel everyone around these parts is always looking for a good deal, there is still a gap between ‘good deal’ and ‘bad choice’. i am sure there will always be a ‘walmart’ dividing line in the sand. however, i think the consumerist staff should help enforce a more pro-active ‘caveat emptor’ stance across the board (re: walmart or otherwise).

    and fwiw, i was more grossed out by the giant sores than the actual feet. not really the 1st thing i wanted to see this morning in my RSS reader. can we get that kind of stuff behind a ‘might make you puke’ cut from now on?!

  50. WOW…

    I navigated over to the photos, and I have to say this; I would really REALLY put all financial burdens aside for now and get experienced medical advice as soon as you can. The pictures painted the real story (I did not see the previous stories, let alone read into them) but the severity of what I have seen turns my stomach. I’m definitely a baby when it comes to this kinda thing, but scrolling down those photos was more shocking/thrilling than some horror movies I’ve seen. PLEASE take care of yourself no matter what the cost. Taking care of it now will pay off in the long run.

  51. Amelie says:

    It seems like these boards need to be monitored more often. The number of obvious mean-spirited trolls is getting out of hand.

    *Wonders if these people are the same jerks that cut you off on the freeway.

    As to the subject-at-hand, I am totally sympathetic to this woman’s plight. Can I guess where the sandals were made? – China.

  52. MommaJ says:

    Kerry wants to be “made whole”? That’s lawyer’s lingo, not a term your average flipflop-wearing Walmart-shopping person would use, or even know. Just sayin’.

  53. tcp100 says:

    @kimsama: Kimsama.. Be careful of anything that looks artificially “shiny”. Often times they’ll use caranuba wax or something, but there are some products out there that will use propylene glycol and glycerin to achieve similar effects; at least that’s what my doctor told me.

  54. hoyagrrrl says:

    Kerry should not feel as though she should apologize to or defend herself against the jackals in the comment threads. At this point it is not clear if this is an allergic reaction or an actual problem with the composition of the flip-flops. If there is reason to believe that reporting it could prevent other people from getting hurt then she did the right thing. The onus is on the manufacturer and the distributor to prove that the goods they have put into the stream of commerce were not released while in a defective condition.

  55. kimsama says:

    @tcp100: Many thanks, I’ll be careful of shininess in the future!

  56. WNW says:

    Jay-sus, who turned the commenter jerk level to 11?

    You’re supposed to be commenters not tormentors.

  57. tcp100 says:

    @zouxou: Fine, but there are a good portion of people on this board who think ANYONE who disagrees with a consumer and doesn’t think a big box store is completely evil is a “mean spirited troll” by default. (and FTR, I do NOT like Wal-Mart at ALL.) “Disagreeing” is not equal to “mean”. Again, this is not talking about the crass people who talked about wal-mart customers not being able to use the internet. Just because you don’t like what someone has to say or if it somehow doesn’t mesh with your either rosy or dismal worldview, it doesn’t mean there isn’t validity in what’s being said.

    Wal-mart sucks a gargantuan portion of the time; this doesn’t mean that there are fat cats up in a boardroom somewhere saying “LET THE CUSTOMERS BURN! WE’RE MAKING OUR $2.44 OFF CHINESE SANDALS, EVEN IF THEY’RE INFUSED WITH HYDROCHLORIC ACID! HA HA HA HA!”.

    I honestly think this IS the vision some folks get in their minds when they see a story like this, and that’s just as weird and bad as the people who are making fun of this woman’s writing skills.

  58. bravo369 says:

    i’m sorry but contact the maker of the flipflops and not walmart. they are just the middle man. Why go through the trouble when these same flipflops will be found elsewhere. call the maker of them and leave walmart out of it

  59. cryrevolution says:

    Just thought I would add my $.02.

  60. cryrevolution says:

    Agh! Before writing into walmart, I think she should’ve gotten some kind of medical opinion to rule out any kind of allergic reaction. I understand she didn’t have insurance but does she have a computer? Could she have done some kind of research to figure out what these burns are associated with? It looks to me like an allergic reaction, but I’m no medical expert. Don’t look to Wal-Mart to make you whole unless you know precisely that this is Wal-Mart’s doing.

  61. banned says:

    Are you truly that out of it!? I happen to live in one of those (evil) universal health care societies and on occassion, I may have to wait to see a family doctor but I can see one at the hospital anytime I want. Higher income tax is a small price to pay to get heart surgery if I need it.

  62. smarty says:

    Better be anti-business/company on everything or else you’re a troll! Sheesh, what losers. Did this product hurt everyone who bought it? No, only a couple people that we’ve heard about. Sounds like an allergic reaction. Better stop selling peanuts to please the consumerist all business is evil crowd!

    Kerry: many have said to contact a lawyer, and that’s a good start. So do that to see what your options are. Maybe write your local representative, CC Walmart HQ, and the local store, inform your local pro-consumer news reporters — most stations have that nice little pro-consumer segments. It’ll be tough to have anything done if this was only an allergic reaction.

  63. jitrobug says:

    There was an NPR story about people suing over the tainted pet food. Lots are suing walmart because you can’t get anywhere trying to sue a chinese company from here.


  64. LTS! says:

    @hoyagrrrl: There is no onus on the manufacturer or Wal-mart to do ANYTHING for a single person who had a reaction. Stop acting like the entire world got blisters on their feet from this.

    I’ll repeat it again and loudly.


    There is no conspiracy here. No Chinese Poison Train, No Wal-Mart Tutenhomer (yes I know) T-shirts, no angry Delta flight attendants, and certainly no Amy’s Ice Cream. It was a reaction to a piece of plastic and foam by a single person.

  65. @MommaJ: It gets used all the time on tv court shows so it’s not crazy that someone who isn’t a lawyer would use it.

    @WNW: I don’t know but I wish they’d turn it back down.

    “She should have known the things would hurt her feet.”
    “How dare she tell Walmart what happened.”
    “It’s obvious it’s an allergy not a burn. Oozing wounds are a common symptom of allergies.”


  66. Kornkob says:

    In the article she provides an incredible amount of detail on her conversations and the times and dates of everything…. except for the actual diagnosis of her problem. This causes me to treat her story with skepticism.

  67. sparkrainfire says:

    i think we can all agree that wal-mart shoudln’t be held liable for an allergic reaction. also, we aren’t sure if it’s an allergic reaction or a chemical burn. also, it wasn’t a single person reporting an instance, there are 2 so far. (still not a lot considering wal-mart probably sold billions of 3, err, 2.44 sandals) check the facts before you post here. another thing, wal-mart won’t stop the sale of anything have you not read the nazi t-shirt articles?

  68. tlminc says:

    I am surprised and somewhat amused that so many with no stake whatsoever in this woman’s life have so much to chime in. Sure she layed herself out to the public for an issue that occured to her through no fault of her own. In a common way any of us could have been victimized by and yet… The criticism and ridicule from those who indeed have ‘not’ walked a mile in her flip flops is crass, bordering on childlike. To the critics and haters ‘Grow Up’ unless you are the inbred pre-adolescents you appear to be through your writing.

  69. Ausoleil says:

    It’s amazing how many folks here are willing to make a medical diagnosis sans medical degree, license or seeing the “patient” in person. In short, only her medical professional and Ms. Stiles know whether or not she had an allergic reaction or had a chemical burn.

    The fact is that there may have been some latent manufacturing chemicals left unwashed on the sandals and that only prolonged contact would be enough to damage her skin. This is plastics ater all. Most people would cringe if they were aware of some of the nasty stuff that used in many plastic creation and molding processes.

    I am not saying that this is the case for sure, in fact, I don’t know because I am not a doctor. But as Sherlock Holmes famously commented, “eliminate the impossible to determine what is possible.”

  70. Amelie says:

    cp100 said, “Just because you don’t like what someone has to say or if it somehow doesn’t mesh with your either rosy or dismal worldview, it doesn’t mean there isn’t validity in what’s being said.”

    Do NOT put words in my mouth or make retarded assumptions. I said absolutely nothing about people making legitimate criticisms. It’s how they disagree and their reasons for being here in the first place. Anyway, it appears a lot of the troll comments are now gone.

  71. Gopher bond says:

    I think the flip-flops were Horcruxes. That’s why she got burned, like Dumbledore’s hand.

    She should destroy them immediately. Voldemort will be looking for her.

  72. JayXJ says:


    Concerning warning labels on known allergens: Picture the poor bee keepers with tiny little brands…

  73. embobly says:

    Wow. Came over from Jezebel, and from the looks of these mean asinine comments, like, “wow you have ugly feet” and “OMG Harry Potter”, it doesn’t look like I’ll be following any links over here again.

  74. DocRaf says:


    Actually you ever read those labels about stuff containing peanut products? or saying that they were manufactured on the same machinery used to make peanut products? Well, peanut allergies can be life-threatening sooo…..

    @everyone else (esp Ausoleil/Optimistic Prime/Lillybama):

    Since the last post, I’ve been trying to find a reputable website with pictures similar to Kerry’s that display a similar occurance that will show that it is indeed Allergic Contact Dermatitis. Possible graphic content ahead:

    Allergic Dermatitis Secondary to Contact with:
    Sandals: []
    Tattoo Ink: []
    Cement: []
    Henna Tattoo: []
    Toilet Seat (Pic shows bare buttocks): []

  75. DocRaf says:

    Kerry also states:

    “I wanted to add a comment to the people that were asking why I would keep wearing the flip flops, first of all, before I wore my flip flops for the first time I rinsed them with water, then I put them here & there for a little while each time, by the time I was sure there was a problem I set them aside & never put them on again”

    How long from “the first time” to “the time I was sure there was a problem”? Continual exposure to the allergen, even if it was “15 minutes here, half an hour there, hour there”, could have caused the initial “tingling” and reddening to progress to the cracking, scaling, & overall advanced state of her condition.

  76. MommaJ says:

    Whatever the nature of the problem, Walmart’s response was remarkably tone-deaf. Even if it was a rare allergic reaction, as it seems to have been, given the fact that other Walmart flip flop owners aren’t filling the media with similar complaints, the proper thing was for Walmart to say-“Even though everyone else is perfectly happy with our product, we’re really sorry you had a bad reaction. We want all of our customers to know how much we value them, so here’s a $50 gift certificate.” Instead the lame, and legally incorrect, referral to the manufacturer (as the seller, Walmart has the direct relationship with/liability to any buyer and can’t slough of it’s responsibility that way.) It appears that Walmart’s lawyers and PR folks got their respective degrees at….Walmart?

  77. TangDrinker says:

    I have these exact flip flops. I haven’t worn them yet – and I think I’m just going to toss them. I have skin issues anyways, so don’t even want to risk trying them. I bought them just to wear at the pool (which I haven’t gotten to at all this summer). Yes, they were only 3 bucks. That’s about all I want to ever spend on flip flops for the pool.

    I’m so sorry Kerry had to go through this. I hope her feet heal soon. Thanks for posting this, consumerist.

  78. SOhp101 says:

    @MommaJ: No, strange as it seem, it is not tone-deaf. If she requested them to pay for her medical bills and they agreed, what’s stopping her from requesting payment for ‘pain and suffering’ or better yet, ‘to be made whole again’?

    Sure they can make her sign an agreement that she would waive any rights, but I highly doubt a general manager, especially at Wal-Mart, would have any authority to do something like that.

    That’s not to say that what happened to her sucks but when you live in a sue happy country, companies avoid any possibility of admitting fault (hence, they put the blame on the manufacturer and forward her claim to them).

  79. Tedinasia says:

    I am a bit surprised in the mis-information in the letter from Wall-mart. The Chinese company is not the “Importer”, the Chinese company is the “Exporter”, every US Corporation must carry PLI, or Product Liability Insurance to cover items that they import, Wall-mart is the IMPORTER, they have PLI just for cases like this.

    She needs some half decent legal advice…and needs to heed it.

  80. jaredharley says:

    She could always go to one of those new Wal-Mart medical clinics…

  81. frogman31680 says:

    I agree with KIMSAMA. I worked retail and some people do have allergic reactions. Some worse than others. A lot of the clothes that are imported are sprayed with insecticides and that is what you mainly get the reaction to.

    I get that reaction every now and then, but I haven’t sued my employer for it. This woman just seems lame to me.

    And no, I don’t work at Wal-Mart.

  82. RebekahSue says:

    If it’s not Wal-Mart-s responsibility, then it’s also not the responsibility of any of the US vendors who sell damaged goods from China.
    Just trying for consistency, here.

    For the record, I appreciate the fact that the lady brought the problem to the store’s attention so no one else gets hurt. The store itself should have been more gracious, the way CS was.

  83. Megan Trigg says:


    I have a latex allergy. Should there be a warning label on every product that contains latex in case I run into it? (okay, you could probably argue yes, but as someone with several allergies, you learn how to deal with it and people who don’t know about allergies wouldn’t know that’s what’s happening anyways or to avoid said product by the label)

    Should there be warning labels for every single possible allergen? I’ve known two people allergic to lettuce. I have a friend allergic to Febreeze. I’m allergic to detergents. I would almost guarantee that for any substance you name, there’s someone out there who is allergic to it. Does that mean everything needs warning labels?

    Yeah, what happened to her feet sucks a whole lot. But guess what? That’s one of the hardships of allergies. You find out about them the hard way. I ended up with a nasty rash of hives on my back for a week because of a brand new bra with latex in the clasp. You take benedryl, put cream on it, and absolutely do not touch it until it heals.

    The fact that she wants to make sure other people don’t get hurt gives her bonus points in my eyes, but honestly, odds are it’s an allergic reaction. Especially if there’s latex in the flip flops (which there often is — you’d be amazed what they sneak that into), since latex is becoming a more and more frequent allergy.

  84. MommaJ says:

    @SOhp101: Note that I never suggested that Walmart should have acknowledged liability, just that it should have behaved in a gracious manner that would have avoided pissing off a customer enough to have her post a dozen pictures of her poor feet on the internet in association with Walmart’s name. That’s a PR misstep, not a legal one. On the legal side, it’s fine to deny the flip flops were defective, and I wouldn’t fault Walmart for a second for doing that, but it wasn’t okay to disclaim even any potential responsibility by passing the consumer along to the manufacturer. This is just not the way it works in our legal system–you seek redress from your immediate seller; you don’t have to find somebody in China. That was pretty despicable, and I hope it was a manager’s stupidity and not Walmart’s standard operating procedure.

  85. MommaJ says:

    @frogman31680: Insecticides? Yikes! My family always thinks I’m nuts because I wash everything new before I wear it, even if it’s in a sealed package–I feel vindicated!

  86. rdldr1 says:

    Wow, there are a lot of heartless assholes who post on Consumerist. At least when I complain, I DONT BLAME THE VICTIM. What if i rape your mom and blame her for making me horney?

    Its a pitty that common sense is hardly common. I bet you are the same people who voted for Bush into office the second time around. Have fun getting torched in hell.

  87. DocRaf says:


    Lighten up Francis.

  88. j_q_p says:

    I just wanted to take a quick minute to clear something up. I am a medical professional, and while I am in complete agreement that this does appear to be contact dermatitis, dismissing it as a simple “allergic reaction” is naive to say the least. There are 2 types of contact dermatitis – allergic contact dermatitis and chemical irritant contact dermatitis. I would say that based on her description of the symptoms and the time frame involved that this is a case of the latter and NOT an allergic reaction. The continuing erosion and thinning of the dermis indicates cellular damage of a type not generally seen in allergic contact dermatitis. Granted, I have nothing to go on except her description of the injury and timeline as well as the photos, but I have never seen a case of allergic contact dermatitis cause the same kind of continuing degradation over time and subsequent thinning and tearing of the dermis. This sort of reaction was most likely caused by exposure to some chemical irritant on the shoes most likely something with an extreme Ph level in a detergent or surfactant or alternatively some sort of organic or inorganic solvent. Almost any of these compounds would have the same effect on anyone who had came into contact with them.

  89. hoodoo says:

    I got some nasty sores between my toes after wearing similar flip flops purchased at WalMart only I didn’t make the connection until reading this article.

    I’m sorry this happened to her, but I’m also happy she decided to make some noise about it or I may have worn those shoes again. Up until now I had no known allergies, and the blistering only appeared in the sensitive area between the toes so making the association wasn’t a slam dunk as in her case.

  90. halfhere says:

    You people are missing the frightening implications of this saga; wallmart has put the onus on the consumer to prove the defect/danger of the products it is selling.
    Wallmart is a corporation with the responsibility of ensuring the safety of is merchandise. Even if this is some sort of rare reaction to a chemical, requiring the shopper to prove where the problem lies is asinine.
    Its in Wallmart’s best intrest to pay a few bucks for the doctor, and to do some testing on the product and the lady. I sure as hell would want to know if i was selling something that would burn flesh for a few weeks. ….something about avoiding a class action lawsuit.

    If Cletus and Betty-Sue have to wait a week or two for the “price rollback” on bulk sunscreen, I think it is worth the price.

  91. countrylife4me says:

    Here’s something to ponder. Could those particular flipflops been contaiminated with some kind of spill in the delivery truck? Something like cleaning chemicals, garden fertilizers or bug killers broken open, spilling inside the truck or on the boxed shoes?

    While the obviously damaged merchandise would be set aside and the mess cleaned up, maybe her case of shoes (or pair of shoes) continued on down the line. Would explain why her’s is the only reported problem (so far).

  92. TheUncleBob says:

    Just a note for those who think products should have warning lables because they may contain an allergen…

    What about products that contain water?

  93. TheUncleBob says:

    If that were the case, it seems like the spilled chemical would have gotten on more than just the strap of the flip flop and the customer’s entire foot would be in similar shape. It’s possible, but doesn’t sound very likely.

  94. Jerim says:

    She says she washed them before wearing them. That alone should have taken care of the issue. In order for the shoes to still affect her feet, then it would have to be something with the chemical makeup of the rubber in the flip-flop. If that were the case, then anyone wearing shoes made from that batch of rubber would be complaining also. I haven’t heard anything. Could it be that she has some sort of special allergy to these flip-flops? If so, then I don’t really see how anyone else is to blame here. That is the problem with these “one and only” mystery problems. When only one person out of thousands, perhaps millions, complains then how can you blame the product?

  95. ikes says:

    i am pining for those days when accounts on this site were not open to every internet troll and jerk to crawl out of his or her mom’s basement…

  96. soldierzwife says:

    Since there is an audition to become a commenter, i’m guessing the Consumerist only approved those who were controversial, kindda like a reality show.

    In any case, any flip flop that would cause a chemical burn should be reported. I have never heard of a pair of shoes sending you to an emergency room.

    I love you consumerist, but why do you let people be so mean. Pain is Pain.

  97. mr.dandy says:

    @ everyone who’s so sure it’s just an allergic reaction–

    Why don’t you all show how right you are by buying a pair of these sandals and take pictures of yourself wearing them around town for a day? They’re still available. Rub them all over your faces any other place you dare. Then posts back here a week later and gloat– if you can.

    Seriously, Walmart needs to investigate the matter. They should have been eager to test that par of flips for caustics or irritants, and try to locate others from the same lot. Even if they admitted no wrongdoing, and didn’t pay a dime, they should be eager to identify a potential problem in the supply line. But instead they want to ignore it.

    A problem could have easily occurred in a few lots, maybe an improperly mixed batch of foam, contamination from industrial solvents, or something similar. Foam is very absorbent, and could contain any number of things very bad for your skin. I’m not saying Walmart, or even the factory was definitely at fault, but WM had no interest in finding out the truth, and that in itself is what’s wrong with this picture.

  98. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    IF this was a chemical burn, why is only one person being affected by it? With all the other litigious people out there, why isnt anyone else coming forward? I would say because this isnt a case of a chemical burn, it is a case of a severe allergic reaction. This isnt Walmarts fault.
    Also, I cant help but wonder how long these were worn for them to go from itchy to irritation and all the way to sores and blisters?
    Im sorry, but this smacks of a person looking for a lawsuit settlement…

  99. lidia says:

    I viewed the dermatitis photos and as a layperson have to agree with the medical professional J_Q_P above.

    My husband suffered the same kind of odd persistent (and worsening) burn after wearing a new pair of gardeners’ knee pads for just an hour or so. It did not spread at all; it was coincident with the form of the edge of the pad, which had a kind of plastic “skin” over a slab of foam, so it’s likely the foam, even if not even visible (I checked all the seams), is the culprit.. The burn was not even noticeable until a day or two after he had been gardening, got much worse over the course of a week, and is still somewhat visible after a month. Washing, topical antihistamine and steroid creams did not help. I strongly suspect it is a chemical burn.

  100. lidia says:

    P.S. The pads were purchased at either Linens N’ Things or BB&Beyond; can’t recall which.

  101. @testsicles: If her feet are cursed then the Ministry of Magic should take her to St. Mungo’s and then obliviate her.