How Many Minutes Should Store Employees Get To Clean Up Baby Vomit?

If you’re walking down the aisle of a grocery store and a customer only a few feet in front of you accidentally drops a glass jar on the floor, you would have a hard time blaming the store if you got nicked by a piece of glass. But what if that shattered jar had been there for an hour? Thirty minutes? Ten minutes? This is the question that will soon face a jury in a slip-and-fall lawsuit against Target.

Back in 2009, a woman walked into a Philadelphia Target store and slipped on a puddle of baby vomit, injuring her wrist, knee and some fingers. She subsequently filed suit, but last week, Target had asked a U.S. District Court judge in Philadelphia to dismiss the case, saying that the puke puddle at the heart of the lawsuit had only been there for seven minutes.

But the judge in the case denied Target’s request, saying that since time-stamped video footage exists showing the entire seven-minute span from when the baby vomited near the door to when the plaintiff slipped and fell, it was a matter for the jury to decide.

The judge found precedent showing that the court should only rule when lack of evidence would require “conjecture, guess or suspicion” from the jury.

From the ruling [PDF]:

While the Court recognizes that seven minutes is certainly a short time period, this is not the type of case that would “require the jury to resort to ‘conjecture, guess or suspicion,'” such that the Court should undertake the weighing of the facts on its own, particularly where the facts include information beyond simply the elapsed time.

That additional information the judge references is the testimony of Target employees, some of whom can be seen in the video standing near the puddle.

“I walk by this area all day during my shift,” one of the Target staffers said in a statement. “I was not paying any attention to the area before the incident.”

So now (assuming Target doesn’t just settle this out of court), a jury will decide whether or not seven minutes is enough time for employees at the retail chain to notice what the plaintiff described as a “clear liquid puddle the size of a salad plate with a pinkish substance the size of a fifty cent piece in the middle.”

Feel free to play judge, jury and appeals court in the comments.

[via CourthouseNews]


Edit Your Comment

  1. MutantMonkey says:

    Hmmm, maybe all the staff on duty were sympathetic vomiters.

    • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

      I wonder why she is not suing the parent of the baby that vomited.
      The parent of the baby was responsible to clean up the mess right when it happened, not target.
      That is gross to ever expect a stranger to clean up your babies vomit.

      As for Target, there is no preset “reasonable” timeline.
      It simply comes down to when an employee was notified of the mess and when an employee trained for cleanup has time to get away from other customers long enough to clean it. That could be minutes or hours.

      • Jawaka says:

        I thought the exact same thing but the answer was obvious to me. Target has a much larger wallet. People who are injured in stores like this don’t want justice, they want a fat paycheck.

  2. MrObvious says:

    babies should not be allowed in stores

    • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

      I find I’m a lot less bothered by babies than the 2-10 year olds who either shreik demands at their parents while in the cart, or run around bringing havok when unsupervised out of the cart. Babies? Usually just sleep.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Perhaps they could install some Emergency Intelligence Incinerators in the front for proper disposal.

  3. deathbecomesme says:

    How about you clean up after your little brats! Geez parents. Just because you are away from home doesn’t free you up from cleaning up after your off spring. You wanted the child now deal with it. We shouldn’t all have to suffer for your life choices.

    • dks64 says:

      My thoughts exactly. I work in a restaurant, it happens all the time. Parents let their kids make huge messes and they don’t even attempt to clean it up.

      • Earl Butz says:

        When I worked at Starbucks, I used to get a bunch of moms from hell who would show up with their preschool kids about 9:15 in the morning. I remember watching one of the little lovelies grinding a muffin into the carpet and mom saying “now remember, we don’t do that at home!”

        Sure wish they’d let retail workers pack guns, bet that crap would stop in a week.

        • dolemite says:

          When I worked at GNC, moms would come in with their kids and just let them rampage around the store. Now keep in mind, GNC is nothing but tiny bottles of supplements, some of them in glass jars. It was all so fun to run around behind a little kid while attempting to keep them from damaging a rack of $50 jars of pills, BUT not to scare/touch the child AND not offend the non-parent.

        • dks64 says:

          If I were a customer, I would have called the POS “Mother” out for it.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        Uh, you have brooms, sweepers, etc. I always pad a few extra dollars on the tip, but I’m not going to clean up kid crumbs on my hands and knees.

        • dks64 says:

          I never said I expected parents to do that. There’s a difference between a small mess created by a child (I understand, I’ve got a huge family of little ones) and when the parents ignore their kids when they pour all of the salt out of the shaker, draw on the table and walls, and throw cheerios EVERYWHERE without trying to keep the mess minimal. If my kid vomited in the aisle, I would clean the mess up. Aisle messes = clean up immediately.

        • Rachacha says:

          When my kids were young (just starting to eat solid food) things would always fall on the floor at the rate of 1 piece on the mouth, 3 on the floor. The kid was not being obnoxious, or bratty, just being a kid with poor hand eye coordination. Before I left the restaurant, I would do what I could to pick up the big pieces that I could reach so that the server could come in with a sweeper, and pick up the crumbs.

      • webweazel says:

        One time, we were eating dinner at a buffet-style restaurant. The woman at the table next to us had a baby of around 7-months old. This ignorant doofus fed the baby a small bowl of fried shrimp. Huh? We were commenting about it at our table. The child didn’t know what to do with these things, so most of them ended up all over the table and floor. The woman wasn’t much neater. When they left, the waitress came and cleaned up their table. Another waitress came over to ask her something, and I heard her comment to her, “They made this huge mess and she didn’t even leave me a tip.” We overheard it and talked to her and she says it happens quite often. We left the girl a big tip when we left. Disgusting.

    • chefboyardee says:

      I’m a parent of a 4 month old and I came here to say that exact thing. The assholes who let their children to whatever they want make us GOOD parents look bad as a whole. I couldn’t even IMAGINE having my baby vomit in a store and not immediately pull out a burp cloth or pile of paper towels from my pocket (yes, I carry both whenever the baby is with me).

    • kobresia says:

      Seriously. What kind of assholes have their children or pets make a mess, and then just leave it for someone else to clean up, especially without telling anyone? Perhaps Target should hand over the footage of that person to the lawyers to track down and make them pay. It’s 99% their fault, after all.

      Also, how hard is it to look where one is going and not step in vomit in Target, or dog shit in Petsmart? Don’t those excreta kind of come with the territory in either chain?

      • dadelus says:

        When I worked at Target I had a parent walk up to me while dragging a six year old child by the arm who had quite obviously wet themselves and inform me “You have a mess to clean up”. Then just walked off. The puddle they left behind them just so happened to be in the same aisle as the clean-up station and they didn’t even look at the paper towels, much less make an effort to clean up the mess.

        I got some help from some other employees to clean up the mess real quick then went into the security office to watch the video of this women from the point where she met me. She didn’t even take the child to the bathroom to clean them up. Just dragged her kid right out of the store.

        I’m guessing she was frustrated or embarrassed by the situation, but that’s just terrible behavior from a parent. At least be a human and offer to help clean up your own kids mess.

        • imasqre says:

          This story just made me so sad for that child. If a mother can’t even be sympathetic to a normal bodily function from a child, it saddens me to think what the rest of his life is like.
          No kid should ever be humiliated or scolded for those types of things, just my opinion.

    • balderdashed says:

      I have little sympathy for brats or their parents, especially those who would expect the rest of us to smile and think their puking children are a joy to behold. But that said: it’s Target’s job to clean up the mess. It goes with the territory of running a retail store that markets to parents and their toddlers — heck, somebody at Target probably has metrics that can predict exactly how much kiddie-vomit will end up on its floors each year. Moreover, Target has the mops, buckets, cleaning agents, and whatever is required to properly clean and disinfect the area. I really don’t want Mom hanging around trying to clean up the mess, quite possibly ineptly, maybe making a bigger mess and contaminating additional surfaces and store merchandise — while her progeny vomits a second time. I bet Target as a corporation doesn’t want that either (though naturally, its vomit-adverse employees might).

      • JJFIII says:

        A decent HUMAN being would make sure nobody would slip and fall in the vomit, try to track down the nearest employee an dsay, I am so sorry, my child became ill. If you could grab a mop and bucket so it can get cleaned up that would be great.
        Yes, Target does have the equipment, and if the customer acted like a member of society they would do their duty to inform others not to walk there. If it was only 7 minutes, why wasnt the mother and child there. Let’s pretend it was an adult who puked. Would any adult leave their vomit for others to clean up? If not, then you should not do it because you can procreate.

        • balderdashed says:

          I don’t disagree that alerting an employee to the fact that one’s child has just made a mess would be a nice thing to do. But have you been to Target lately? At least at the one near my house, cutbacks in staffing mean that often it’s not that easy to even find an employee. While “bad-Mommy” went off on an odyssey in search of one, it’s quite possible that another customer would have slipped in the unattended puddle. So what’s Mom to do — stand guard by her puddle, and wait? For how long? She could possibly pick up one of those red, customer “helpline” telephones Target might have nearby — the last time I did that in my local Target (about a week ago), nobody answered, and I finally gave up. I have no doubt she could have found someone, eventually, maybe at the front of the store — perhaps a football-field away from where the problem had occurred — someone who might or might not have felt like doing anything about the problem, any time soon. Sorry, but with Target’s self service (or, increasingly, no service) business model, it might not have been that easy to be a “decent human being” — by your definition.

          • Coleoptera Girl says:

            Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that this was a regular Target store and not a Super Target. The Guest Services desk his less than 20 feet away from the entrance. It would take less than 30 seconds for mommy to walk over to the guest services counter and say, “Oh, hey, my super-cute baby just had a little spitty-uppy on your floor. Can you call for someone to clean it up? Hey, thanks!” and walk away.

            That said, the Target employee(s) who walked past the spit-up should have been more aware.

            • balderdashed says:

              Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that mommy did walk over to the service counter hoping to alert someone to her super-cute baby’s spitty-uppity. Let’s say, however, that there was not a customer service rep or any Target employee available hear her story. Let’s say there were already ten people in line waiting to speak to one or perhaps two Target reps, who were focused on the customer with whom they were interacting — a more likely scenario based on my last visit to Target’s customer service area. Let’s say mommy speaks up, assertively, and announces to the service rep (and the ten people in line ahead of her), “Excuse me, but my child has….” Somebody in that line who’s already been waiting there for ten minutes to return a defective umbrella — maybe me — just might say something like, “Hey, lady, why don’t you wait your darn turn…” and not be much interested in her child or her problems.

              • Coleoptera Girl says:

                Then mom should have taken a wipe from the wipe station and cleaned up after her brat. Target employees aren’t maids or cleaning crew.

                • Coleoptera Girl says:

                  *Wipe stations are the combination dispenser/trashcan where one can take and dispose of alcohol wipes for cleaning cart handles. There has been one at every entrance of every Target I’ve been to in the last several years.

      • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

        No way, it is 100% the parents responsibility that their vomit is cleaned up and that no one slips on it. If the parent wanted to be a dick and make a stranger clean up the vomit they should have at least took some items off the shelve and circled the vomit so someone could not walk in it without walking over items.
        Anyways, the dumb ass that knowingly walked through the vomit that caused themselves to slip 1. needs to sue themselves for walking in the vomit 2. needs to sue the person with the baby that left the mess 3. not sue target as they have no liability for this incident.

        As for target did they clean up the vomit? Yes. Again how are they liable.
        Time to clean up the spill means nothing as if they clean it up after 30 seconds or after 3 hours the chance for someone to purposely walk in the vomit and slip is the exact same. Time has no bearing on liability.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      You know, I was walking down a street on my lunch today, in an area of my city with open-air seating on the sidewalk out front of a row of restaurants. I watched two guys walk out of a bodega, one of them carrying a can of Pringles. As they walked and talked, he opened the Pringles, ripped the safety seal off (that little circle of paper and foil under the lid) and tossed it on one of the open-air tables, not even stopping. Right in front of the bodega? Huge trash can on the sidewalk.

      On the same street a few weeks ago, I saw a group of women, one with a cigarette, ready to go in a restaurant. The cigarette lady made the most cursory of glances, made a point of loudly saying to her friends “well, they don’t have any cigarette receptacles, so I guess they WANT me to throw my butt on the ground”. She did, and one of her friends pointed to a receptacle right next to them. Cigarette girl laughed.

      I know it’s a little thing, but it seems that few people actually clean up after themselves in public anymore. There’s this “someone will clean up after me” mentality. Why should every 3 feet of sidewalk have to have a cigarette receptacle, or it’s ok to toss yours on the ground?

      Point is, I am not surprised in any way that people let their kids vomit all over the floor and don’t make any attempt to clean it up. Look at any Target and notice how many fountain soda/coffee cups are just ditched amongst the merchandise on the shelves on any given Saturday, because god forbid you put it in the front of your cart and toss it in the trash when you get to the front of the store.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        What I want to know is why the hell so many people are walking around Target with coffee/soda cups. Swear to god people cannot seem to function after 30 minutes unless they can stick something in their pie hole.

        • BarbiCat says:

          How do you know they’re eating every 30 minutes? Maybe they haven’t eaten all day and it’s their lunch break from their full time job and they had to each lunch while they ran to Target because that’s the only time they have to shop quickly since after they get off THIS job they go to their part time job at night.

          But you’re right, way better to just assume the worst of people.

      • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

        Littering should have insane penalties.
        Penalty at least $1,000.
        There is no excuse for littering.
        Cops should spend their time going after litterers instead of trying to write speeding tickets to people driving safely at faster speeds on the highways.

      • shufflemoomin says:
      • CalicoGal says:

        When my husband sees someone throw their cig butt on the ground, he says, loudly, “YOU DROPPED SOMETHING!”

      • Youngfrankenstein says:

        I said something to some people after a parade. They took their 6 chairs and few blankets and left piles of trash. I yelled out “You forgot your garbage.” And they did turn around and clean it up.

    • jenrevenant says:

      This. At my store, a kid spit up on the floor while her mom was browsing CDs, right onto the carpet. I handed her a paper towel and moved the trash can over to her. I wasn’t cleaning it up. And she did. How I got away with that, I have no idea…

      • Coleoptera Girl says:

        I actually had a woman clean up after her toddler when the poor kid vomited, obviously a stomach virus (had been going around the schools and daycares). I was trying to call someone who was authorized to clean up bodily fluids but no one came, only got one initial answer and they never appeared.
        Mom was very apologetic and insisted that she clean up the vomit! It was nice to encounter someone responsible for once…

        • Sneeje says:

          It was nice and I would/have done the same. However, it is actually not a great approach for the business–if the individual cleaning up the mess injures themselves somehow (hot water, fumes, glass, whatever) and sues, they would have a high-likelihood of prevailing AND the businesses’ insurance would not cover it b/c they are not an employee.

          In my retail days this was trained into us over and over again.

    • alana0j says:

      I catch shit from my friends because I will clean the floor AND table at a restaurant before leaving since my 8 month old likes to make messes. “Oh they’re paid to clean up messes” is the usual argument I get, but I refuse to be one of “those moms” who lets their kid make a damn wreck of things then does nothing about it. Same would apply if either of my girls threw up. I would immediately find an employee and ask if they could bring me the supplies to clean it up. ARG bad/lazy parents are my biggest pet peeve!!

      • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

        I love this! I have no kids, but when I’m with family/friends that do, I’m quick to remind them that they’re not to be rewarded for their ability to procreate by forcing some minimum wager to clean up after their demon spawn.

    • imasqre says:

      I love you.

    • Mamudoon says:

      People in general (but, as I’ve noticed, particularly “parents” of babies and small children) are rude, entitled assholes. Clean your shit up if you make a mess! Geez, I do that whenever I do, even if it’s not my fault (for example, a Slurpie machine malfunctioned and blew about a gallon’s worth of Slurpie all over me and the machine, floor, and counter – and I just asked the manager for some paper towels so I wouldn’t use up all the napkins).

      But vomit and other human body secretions are a special case. If I had my way, people who left vomit, shit (including diapers), urine, breastmilk, blood (excluding crime scenes and serious injuries involving medical intervention, obviously), semen, and the like laying around would be jailed. And when they come out, they can work cleaning up after others.

      Be a pig in your house. But don’t force it on the rest of us.

  4. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    Target shouldn’t have to pay. How are they supposed to magically monitor every square inch of their floor every second of the day? For the injured woman, too bad; sometimes things happen beyond your (or anyone else’s) control.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      If I can carry 10k in coverage for some asshole slipping in my driveway and suing me, then Target should have a couple million in coverage for the same thing. This is the society we live in.

      I like how your comment could work either way:
      “For Target, too bad; sometimes things happen beyond your (or anyone else’s) control.”

      • Doubting thomas says:

        You can carry it but you shouldn’t have to. A clear puddle the size of a small plate in the middle of a big box store could easily and reasonably be overlooked. This is clearly not a case of negligence.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          I didn’t think it had to be about negligence. If someone is trespassing on your property and hurts themselves they can sue you even if they were doing something stupid that, had they known you, you could have told them not to do.

          On the other hand, there is a video showing employees walking around this puddle, and that IS negligence.

          • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

            Where did you read/hear/see there’s a video showing them walking around. The writeup here just says they were standing nearby.

        • who? says:

          I love how the knee jerk reaction here is to always blame the victim. Not enough information in the article to tell if this is negligence or not, really.

        • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

          That’s my reaction. If it’s clear and inconspicuous enough that the lady who fell didn’t notice it, how would anyone further down the aisle like an employee notice it. Also, if she fell in it, how did she know it was the size of a small plate, clear, with a circle of pink the size of a 50 cent piece in the center? I mean, if she saw it enough to describe it that well, why did she step in it? And if she didn’t see it, and stepped in it and slid, it would have then been a smear of clear liquid with a pink streak. That part just feels wrong to me.

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        Your insurance would probably try to fight it if it was more than you $5K in med pay. This is what Target is doing.

        Also Target is probably self insured to some extent. Sure they have the money, does that mean this lady deserves tons of it? Not really unless they actually are found to be at fault.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Oh yeah and in regards to this:

      “How are they supposed to magically monitor every square inch of their floor every second of the day?”

      I believe they are called video cameras and shrink reduction employees who are constantly watching. Safe to say the lady didn’t have those tools.

      • dadelus says:

        Actually the cameras are not constantly monitored. When I worked at Target our bosses got mad at us for sitting in the office unless we were actively tracking someone.

        We just had a really good digital system that allowed us to pull up specific footage from specific cameras in a couple of minutes.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Yup, it’s impossible to monitor every square inch.

      “That additional information the judge references is the testimony of Target employees, some of whom can be seen in the video standing near the puddle.”

      This particular puddle seems pretty reasonable to be within the monitoring range of Target. If that person didn’t bother to notify anyone or fetch help or take some initiative, then it’s their bad.

      Maybe I’ve been hanging out with lawyers too much, but, maybe they can also sue the baby?

  5. momtimestwo says:

    Personal responsibility.. sheesh, watch where you are walking.

    • Coleoptera Girl says:

      On another note, I’d hate to see mom’s house if she just ignores it when kiddo spits up.

  6. AtlantaCPA says:

    I am on the side of Target in this case. If someone had reported the puddle when it happened and they did nothing for seven minutes, she would have a case. But just because no one noticed the clear puddle in a pretty short amount of time that doesn’t make them negligent IMHO.

    What is the time limit? Not sure, and it probably depends on location and how big/visible the puddle is, etc.

  7. Sarahlara says:

    A few years ago I accidentally knocked off a glass juice bottle in a display next to the front of a Trader Joe’s. A store employee ran (I mean it, he RAN) to mop it up and place a caution sign. Mere seconds had passed between the spill and when he got there but another customer entered the store and slipped on it during that time, despite two employees shouting in an attempt to warn him. Thankfully he didn’t fall. TJ’s wouldn’t charge me for the juice, even though I begged. I have noticed they don’t stock juice bottles in the front like that anymore.

    I’m not saying Target is responsible here, but I have a feeling most stores try not to let something sit for as long as seven minutes because of the potential liability. Depending on the traffic at that store, seven minutes could mean a lot of people walking by.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      But the difference there is that the bottles you broke were in the front of the store and at least one employee saw the break and spill. According to the story, Target’s defense is that no one had been made aware of the spill. The person truly responsible is the parent who just walked away from their kid’s mess and didn’t even bother to tell an employee.

      • Coleoptera Girl says:

        This. Plus, a baby spitting up makes much less noise than a glass bottle of liquid shattering on the floor. I know this from experience…

    • MeowMaximus says:

      Target needs to find and employee psychics who can foresee vomit, and other unpleasant spills, so they can have an employee standing by with a mop.

  8. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    The only person at fault is the slob of a mother who let her baby barf on the floor and didn’t bother notifying anybody at the store.

    • dks64 says:

      If my kid barfed, you can sure as hell bet I would NOT expect Target employees to clean it up. I would get on my hands and knees myself to clean the mess up. Lazy parent(s), we have too many in this world.

    • Serenefengshui says:

      How do you know she didn’t? And yes, of course, all parents toting tots should bring their own mops!

  9. Cat says:

    How do they know it was baby vomit? They can’t prove whose vomit it was. You can’t really dust… for vomit.

    • SerenityDan says:

      Baby vomit is very different from any other kind of vomit

    • wasabirobot says:

      The article implies that the video shows the child vomiting. So, yeah, they know where it came from.

    • homehome says:

      I’m thinking on the video they saw the kid vomit and the mother just walk away like nothing happened. Which really isn’t fair, because she’s the one that should be liable, but more than likely she doesn’t have a million dollars so the woman went after the fat cat because she wanted a payoff.

    • JennQPublic says:

      Some obviously didn’t get it, but I literally lolled.

      +11 internets to you.

    • humphrmi says:

      That should have been ” You can’t really dust… (puts on sunglasses) for vomit.”


  10. Earl Butz says:

    Radical idea: How about parents, for once, stop using retail establishments as a giant litterbox for their offspring, show some personal responsibility, and clean up the damn vomit themselves?

    Target’s not the people who should have to be paying up here. It’s the parents of the precious little apple who gifted the store’s floor with its stomach contents.

    • Quixiotic... Yea it's a typo (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻ says:

      I think the radical idea is that parents use stores as a “litterbox” for their kids. Things happen, parents get embarrassed, but this isn’t a trend like planking.

      • Earl Butz says:

        Oh, you are so wrong. When I worked at Starbucks (thank God those days are over) I used to get a bunch of moms from hell who would show up with their preschool kids about 9:15 in the morning. I remember watching one of the little lovelies grinding a muffin into the carpet and mom saying “now remember, we don’t do that at home!”

        Sure wish they’d let retail workers pack guns, bet that crap would stop in a week.

        I see that behavior in every retail establishment every time I’m out in them. Don’t tell me “it’s not a trend”. It’s been a trend. for years.

  11. iblamehistory says:

    I fell in an unknown substance in a JC Penny a while back. It was near the jewelry counter, the tile floor was that extremely shiny white that reflects the overhead lights, uh, wonderfully. What I slipped in was completely clear and I would have assumed it was water had it not been sticky. I was looking at floor as I walked, as well–my left ankle will sprain itself if I look at it wrong, so as a habit, I watch the floor when I walk. The substance was completely clear and the floor was reflecting light through it; nobody would have been able to see this.

    There was no “wet floor” sign, or chair, or anything cluing people into the presence of this mystery spill. The ladies at the jewelry counter panicked and started saying “they seriously haven’t cleaned this up? I called about it an hour ago and it’s still there?” because yes, they put in the call an hour prior, and nothing had been done–not even a wet floor sign. Of course once I fell, someone rushed out within 2 minutes to clean it up, presumedly hoping before I got any proof of it. Lucking I had my phone out by that time and recorded the rest of the incident, including the puddle.

    A couple members of the Jersey Shore (the store’s plainclothes “security,” who appeared to be about 20 at the most) came and demanded my information and refused to give me any of the store’s. When I demanded and demanded, the girl stomped off and came back, handed the guy a piece of paper, and he gave it to me. The manager’s contact information. They were pretty eager to get rid of me and I’m assuming they figured I’d just let it go.

    The fall aggravated my herniated disc and I simply wanted someone to pay for the cost of me getting my back checked out. After numerous calls to the manager, I was told to contact their insurance provider, who initially messed everything up because it was processed as if I was an employee and it was a work related injury. Go figure. Eventually everything was straightened out and we decided to settle the claim without much of a fight–easier for everyone.

    Yes, people should clean up after their own damn selves, but the fact is that they won’t. Ever. If my kid puked everywhere, chances are I wouldn’t have the supplies to clean the floor in Target. But as the parent of said puker i’d see it as my responsibility to flag down the nearest employee and tell them what happened, as well as tell them I’d wait by the mess until someone came to clean it up, which might suggest to them “yo, let’s get someone out there soon.” At the very least, if it’s taking the store forever to respond, I’d surround the mess with some merchandise in hopes that people wouldn’t be so clueless to miss this stonehenge of cereal boxes on the floor or something. But with how people crap and puke and bleed all over places like fitting rooms, I guess I’m in the minority.

    • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

      You are an ass who is part of the problem of the US.
      If you slip, it is your fault and not anyone elses.
      It is insane you think a store should pay for your checkup on your back because you are stupid and walk in a puddle of something and slip.
      Hell you freely admit you are already injured so again it is no ones fault if you reinjure yourself easier than anyone else.
      Grow up, sponge!

      • Daggertrout says:

        But the employees who basically said that the puddle was there for over and hour is tantamount to saying the store is at fault.

        This is why any retail job training tells you to never say anything that could be construed as an admission of wrongdoing, like saying “Sorry that happened”, if there’s an incident.

      • AjariBonten says:

        that’s right; you have 100% situational awareness. I believe in personal responsibility as well; but the store has a responsibility to minimize dangers in a reasonable manner; and leaving a puddle on a slippery surface without even a sign is not due diligence.

      • elangomatt says:

        I am usually of the camp that says personal responsibility, in the original story Target should be off the hook since presumably they didn’t know about the vomit. In the case of iblamehistory’s story, I think the store should be held accountable since the mess was known for over an hour and not so much as a caution sign was put up. Back when I worked in retail, the first thing we were told to do in the case of a spill was the block off the area somehow whether it was a wet floor sign or a shopping cart. THEN we were to call maintenance to get the mess cleaned up, and we waited in the area until they got there.

    • Coleoptera Girl says:

      Ridiculous! I’m glad you get your settlement. Hopefully there are better policies in place now for dealing with spills…

    • ganon446 says:

      JC Penny’s Secruity has always been a joke force and at times they go above the observe and report

  12. emax4 says:

    Responsible dog owner’s take their pet’s to places and clean up after them. Parents should start to do the same, otherwise their kids should be taken from them since they can’t do something as small as cleaning up after them.

  13. Worstdaysinceyesterday says:

    I wish we could see the security video…but at first blush, if it was too insignificant for her to see it while she was walking in it, I think we can cut Target staff some slack for not noticing it in the first 12 seconds.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Ever step in dog crap? Really? Was it too insignificant to notice?

  14. CorrieCJ says:

    My 4yo son threw up at Friendly’s the other night. I was about to take him to the bathroom but he didn’t make it and let out a tiny bit on the carpet near our table. Since the rest of my family was seated, I ran him to the bathroom in case there was more. As soon as we got in the door, the rest came out on the floor – it was mostly liquid, mostly clear. There were no towels in the bathroom (just a hand dryer) so after I cleaned him up as best I could, I apologetically told an employee what had happened. She nodded. The smaller mess by the table was already cleaned up when we got back. Anyway – about 20 minutes later, I went to use the restroom. And when I entered, I almost fell on my butt because the puddle was still on the floor. This time I told a manager – still apologetically – letting him know that I was worried about someone slipping and falling… I felt I did the right thing.

  15. balderdashed says:

    I don’t know if it’s Target’s fault or not — if the puddle had been there for only a minute or two I’d say no, Target was not negligent. If it had been there for several hours, I’d say Target probably was negligent in not attending to an obvious safety hazard. Seven minutes? That might be a tough call. I do know, however, that I’ve been in a number of stores, restaurants, etc. in which slippery floors were an obvious problem — due to spilled product, rain or snow tracked in from footwear, or even a leaky roof — and neither line employees nor managers seemed to really give a darn, even though there’s an accident (and a lawsuit) waiting to happen.

    • brinks says:

      Target is probably going to have to pay for someone else’s bad parenting. If so, they need to go and find this negligent asshole and then go and sue THEM.

      And I like to tell this story at any chance I get: years ago, some horrible man left the store that I worked at after his kid shit on the floor. My boss was having none of that. He called mall security, gave them a description of the guy, and had them track him down and escort him back to the store. Then, they stood over him as he was forced to clean it up. It was absolutely humiliating for this guy, but that’s what you get for being an ass.

      Best boss I ever had, by the way.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      It’s not so much a number as it is once a Target employee noticed the spill they should’ve at least coned off the area. If a Target employee walked by the mess before the slip/fall I’d say give the customer the benefit of the doubt.

  16. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    When I’ve seen spills in stores I’ve taken items off the shelves to put around it – make it visible – before looking for staff. I blame the baby mama for not alerting staff or warning others.

  17. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    That’s a very detailed description of something she didn’t see.

  18. u1itn0w2day says:

    Target employee-not paying attention to the area until after the incident

    So did Target employees ignore or not see a puddle in an aisle???

    I’ve seen employees in various jobs play the blissfully ignorant routine far too often. On the job and at the end of day especially. Some purposely become unaware with tunnel vision simply making a straight line twards their car every single day not even acknowledging other employees. I knew one guy missed a burglary late at night on company property with alarms going off and the police already outside the fence down the street looking for them(went out to his car and was off the property less than 20 seconds later. Luckily another employee noticed strangers roaming around the yard and notified the police but you figure blaring burglar alarms from adjacent businesses would attract attention along with the flashing police car lights.

    During working hours it’s the not my job syndrome OR I don’t want to get involved or in this case I’m not cleaning this one up. But shouldn’t Target and others have a policy where you at least cone off or mark the area as a slip hazard or notify management/security about a safety issue.. Even if they didn’t clean it up how about some CAUTION, SLIPPERY WHEN WET signs/cones?

    • Coleoptera Girl says:

      Just because it’s policy doesn’t mean that it’s going to be followed. Of course Target has a policy of making sure spills are clearly marked. Does everybody follow them? Nope!

  19. CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

    This is stupid case. Of course 7 minutes is not too long to clean up a spill.
    Technically hours can be reasonable if the store is busy.
    Also time wise and for causing an injury there is 0 difference if the spill sat there for 30 seconds or 30 days, the chance for someone slipping is exactly the same.
    It makes no sense to pick a number and say less than 5 minutes for clean up and the store is not liable, but more than 5 and they are. No matter now long the spill sits there the store is not liable as customers must walk throughout life at their own risk.

    There are only certain employees who’s job it is to clean up aisle spills.
    If they are busy with other customers, the clean will have to wait until they are done helping the customers to get free to walk across the store to get the mop and bucket and then walk to the spill. That could take a minute or 20 minutes or longer.

  20. DarkPsion says:

    Back when I worked at the hardware store, I had this one memorable paint customer. He purchased four gallons of bright purple paint, (I had long learned never to ask why). He grabbed them before I could take them up front for him. He got to the counter and tried to swing them up on the counter and missed.

    Now imagine this;
    A four gallon bright purple blob,
    A large green trash can,
    A bright yellow mop bucket and mop leaning across to block access,
    Two orange bags of kitty litter,
    Assorted brooms and a scoop shovel,
    and me trying to get the kitty litter to soak up the paint before it started to dry.

    In comes this customer and he not only ignores all the above but also me and other employees calling to him to stop. He walked right thru the purple blob and just kept going until finally he responded to my “SIR! SIR! SIR! You just walked thru a paint spill.” Pointing at twenty five feet of his purple footprints.

    He threatened to sue over his ruined shoes, but everybody in the store just laughed at him till he left,……leaving more purple footprints to clean up.

  21. dwrichards says:

    I never thought Consumerist would have a use for that photo but it really fits.

  22. Razor512 says:

    End of article question: How long does target usually take to clean your puddles?

  23. shufflemoomin says:

    Why is this the store’s fault? Find the parent who let their kid throw up and just leave it there and sue them.

  24. cris3429 says:

    I don’t understand how target employees standing in the vicinity of the puddle is relevant. If the woman who slipped didn’t see it even though she was right on top of it, why would they expect an employee to see it when they were farther away?

  25. CalicoGal says:

    If employees walked around, past, and near the spill, it should have been cleaned, and the store is at fault, especially since it was near an entrance, a heavily trafficked part of the store.
    However, the baby’s owner should have gone into the bathroom and gotten towels to clean it up right away, like a civilized person. The baby-owner should have also been sued.

  26. hmburgers says:

    Not their fault.

    It would be if they can prove that Target knew about the puke pile, but took too long to put up a sign or clean up… but if the Target employees can honestly say they weren’t aware of it, then what are they supposed to do?

  27. ganon446 says:

    Did a target employee see the vomit? Was there proof on tape? If not care we then supposed to telepathically feel a disturbance in the force that some baby puked somewhere/

    So let’s lets say little Teddy McDougin was picking his known. He was a bright Ginger kid not a day walker but pure ginger. You can see that kid from a mile off. But yeah he is pretty short in face little McDougin was prancing around dug into his pants and left an Irish Charm from his pants under some clothes that no one had seen….so when Sally Mae Feminist sees it and is shocked is it’s the store’s fault they did not have a psychic on hand that felt a toddler crapped himself and left a suprise for someone?