Rattlesnake Makes Terrible Walmart Greeter, Bites Customer

In a Walmart Garden Center, an outdoor area filled with plants, it’s not surprising that you might encounter some critters. Maybe a large bug, a moth, a frog, or even a grass snake. While shopping for mulch for his medical marijuana plants on Friday morning, a 47-year-old Washington state man reached down to pick up what he thought was a stick, and ended up rushed to the emergency room with a rattlesnake bite.

The story has been picked up by “wacky news” wires worldwide by now, but local paper the Lewiston Tribune had it first. Here’s what went down: the man says that while browsing the mulch aisle, he reached down to pick up something that looked like a stick. The snake bit him on the right hand, and a fellow customer–a stranger and arguably the hero of this story–drove him to the hospital after he stomped the snake to death, then fell to the ground in pain.

“I did a tap dance on that snake,” he told KIRO radio. “I killed it. I just stomped and stomped on it until that snake quit moving.”

The first medical facility they visited, an urgent care center, wasn’t equipped to treat snake bites and sent him on to the hospital. Since there wasn’t any swelling, the hospital sent him home. After his right hand swelled to the size of a grapefruit, he returned to the hospital for treatment with anti-venom. He fears permanent damage to his hand.

Walmart apologized and issued a statement:

“At this point, it appears to be an isolated incident. We are working with a pest management team, which is conducting a sweep of the property to ensure there is no additional rattlesnake activity.”

Rattlesnake bite victim could be released from hospital tonight [Lewiston Tribune]
Man bitten by rattlesnake at Wal-Mart says he’s never been more scared [KIRO] (Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. JJFIII says:

    “While shopping for mulch for his medical marijuana plants “

    He was going to go to the hospital, but had a major case of the munchies and had to stop at 7/11 first

  2. fsnuffer says:

    Maybe if he wasn’t stoned he would have recognized it as a snake.

  3. hmburgers says:

    Let that be a lesson… never try to pick up a stick, or anything else, from the ground at wal-mart… you might die.

  4. MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

    It could have been worse……he could have actually bought something at Walmart!

    • adamstew says:

      Thankfully, that snake realized what he was about to do and stopped him! It was almost a tragedy.

    • darcmosch says:

      That snake is a hero and should be memorialized! Maybe by pouring a 40 on the curb?

  5. deathbecomesme says:

    That is why you stick to making meth. No need for all that mulch when your cooking up meth

  6. mrvw says:

    I can’t get past the hospital sending him home after a freaking rattle snake bite. I don’t give a shit if there is no swelling, you treat the guy for a rattle snake bite.

    • VintageLydia says:

      No kidding! What the hell were they thinking?

    • DadCooks says:

      He failed the wallet biopsy. (Not the right or no insurance, take 2 aspirin and call us in the morning.)

      • Scooby111 says:

        He had insurance. They turned him away out of incompetence. Also, a competent ER would have treated him regardless of insurance. This incident doesn’t fit your agenda.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          No. It fits his agenda.

          The guy was at death’s door. It just wasn’t obvious enough. You’ve got to look like you’re ready to die before an ER is required by law to treat you. That’s one of the problems with trying to treat the ER as a free medical clinic.

          This kind of shenangian is why medical malpractice is not optional. Without it, crass corporations will make this kind of situation the norm rather than the exception.

          • partofme says:

            “The guy was at death’s door. It just wasn’t obvious enough. You’ve got to look like you’re ready to die…”

            Yea, we shouldn’t let things like facts and patient presentation of symptoms get in the way of our agenda. You can argue that they failed to take the appropriate and established procedural steps in handling such a case… but that criticism would involve actually being a doctor and actually discussing relevant medical facts. It would distinctly not involve whining about perceived monetary influences. You need the former before you can even approach the latter.

            (Note: I’m not claiming that monetary influences have no effect on care. Obviously your sore wrist is going to get different attention than Albert Pujol’s sore wrist… because he would care to pay a lot more for a lot more detailed look. I’m simply claiming that you first need to establish error… then you need to establish that this error was due specifically to insurance-related concerns (and then you need to establish that it is widespread and far enough in the dangerous category… because that seems to be the point DadCooks is making). Scooby challenged only the insurance-specific portion, though I think all three points are lacking.)

    • caradrake says:

      I was just thinking this same thing…. I totally think that the guy should sue the hospital for negligence. I just can’t believe that he got bit by a rattlesnake and was SENT HOME.

    • longfeltwant says:

      +1. Srsly. If I got bit by a rattlesnake, there is no way I would allow a hospital to discharge me. I would sit right there in the waiting room for the next 15 hours waiting for symptoms before going home.

    • MrEvil says:

      I’d say the hospital botched this one. However they did have reason for sending the man home. Each individual’s reaction to venom is different and some might take longer to react than others. Also, rattlesnakes often dry-bite where they don’t even inject any venom into you. The hospital most likely felt that this gentleman suffered a dry bite. Given the expense and limited supply of antivenin it wouldn’t surprise me that they’d send him home.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I don’t think they should have sent him home, though. It might have been better to set him in the lobby or somewhere and watch him for an hour or so. That would be a better way to cover their asses.

  7. NickJames says:

    The real story is the hospital sending him home. What the hell?

    • HomerSimpson says:

      Maybe he doesn’t have insurance? Which the hospital told him “Sucks to be you then!”

  8. Tegan says:

    At first when I read the beginning, I skipped over the mulch part and read it as, “While shopping for his medical marijuana plants…” I was shocked no one was commenting on the revelation that you can now apparently buy marijuana at Walmart until I read a little more carefully :D

  9. Pagan wants a +1 button says:

    I read both the linked articles; one thing neither of them mention is if he took the snake to the hospital with him. I’d call that a bit of crucial information, myself. If he showed up at the ER with a bite mark on his hand, no swelling and no snake, it isn’t hard to believe that they assumed it was a harmless bite.

  10. thomwithanh says:

    Snakes in a Wal*Mart

  11. LeftyRodriguez says:

    When did we collectively decide to start calling it “anti-venom” instead of “antivenin”?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      To start, “antivenin” isn’t the right spelling.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      I was wondering about that too, but I was echoing the term that Reuters used in their story. Turns out the WHO has been encouraging the use of “antivenom” instead. Firefox spellcheck doesn’t like it, but it also thinks “spellcheck” isn’t a word.

    • longfeltwant says:

      Oh, maybe a couple hundred years ago? Finally, after pedants resisted the tide for so long, in 1981 the World Health Organization standardized on “antivenom”.

      If any pedants want to read the memo now, they can search for “antivenin” article on Wiki, and notice that it redirects to “antivenom”.



  12. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    These comments will only be about marijuana.

    Le Sigh.

  13. Special Snowflake says:

    A snake would be a step up from the greeters at my local Wally World.

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

    Ha! That’ll teach him to show his receipt next time.

  15. Costner says:

    Me thinks this guy won’t have to be paying for his own mulch for the next 1000 or so years thanks to this happening on the property of the world’s largest retailer.

    Add his lawsuit against the hospital for turning him away and this guy is set for life.

  16. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    How do you mistake a stick from a rattlesnake? I’ve never seen a stick that had a snakelike pattern in its bark. Plus, why would you even think to pick up a “stick” outside in a garden center? Are you cleaning up after the associates? Clearly it’s not for sale.

    Common sense has left the building.

  17. sdwc says:

    Why would anyone older than a 3 year old pick up random sticks off the floor?

  18. Yorick says:

    Where did this happen? Lots of city names but no state. Maine? DC? Iowa? Florida?

    • longfeltwant says:

      It’s easy to miss, but it’s there in the third sentence, second phrase, fifth word.

      • Yorick says:

        The victim is from Washington State. The report is in an Idaho newspaper. Where’s the Walmart?

  19. samonela says:

    Sounds like Wal*Mart’s replacement plan for their door greeters is working perfectly.

    Sure, you don’t have to show your receipt, but I hope you like snake bites.

  20. dush says:

    He stomped the snake to death, THEN fell down in pain. That’s hardcore.

  21. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    I am happy Best Buy didn’t hire Mr Rattlesnake as receipt-checker.


  22. BeamMeUp says:

    This is my ‘friendly neighborhood Walmart’ mentioned in the story. Here in Clarkston, we get rattlesnakes everywhere and no one who lives in the area would be stupid enough to pick one up, heck my 6year old is smarter than that.

    Darwinism at its finest.

  23. Hibyeman says:

    please note medical marijuana plants that is why he mistook a snake for a stick snakes on a plane snakes a walmart whats next snakes in alaska which is to cold for snakes https://consumerist.com/2010/01/10-of-the-strangest-unclaimed-baggage-items-ever-found.html