“Blood mad” was how Muriel Bowser described her feelings immediately after the city learned that Walmart was reneging on its promise to build two more stores east of the Anacostia River. But what can the city really do about it? While Walmart did already sign a lease for the Skyland store, the deal to open the last two stores were more of a “handshake deal” than a binding, on-paper deal. (Who would’ve thought putting your trust in a cutthroat multinational corporation would backfire?) Which means there probably aren’t a lot of legal options here; the city can’t force Walmart to open those stores. Other commentators suggested revisiting the “Living Wage Bill” to force Walmart to pay their DC employees higher wages. The problem with that idea is that there’s already a proposed ballot measure scheduled for November that would raise the minimum wage to $15 in the District, and it looks like it will be successful. (It would be funny, though, if the Council passed a “Walmart” bill that mandated, say, wages of $25 per hour at District Walmarts.)
Basically, it looks like it’s up to us, the people, to get revenge on Walmart. How do we do that? Nuisance lawsuits! Turns out that suing Walmart is a cottage industry; the company is sued between two and five times per day. Many of these lawsuits end in a cash settlement, which means that if the company loses enough of them, they’ll go bankrupt. Sure, it’s a little shady, but come on – the mayor herself is “blood mad!” I don’t even know what “blood mad” means, but it sounds like it might justify a little industrial sabotage. At any rate, here’s a list of some of the wackiest ways people have wrung money from Walmart – you can use it as inspiration or entertainment, it’s up to you. Me, I’m getting my fake neck brace and heading to Fort Totten.
In Tennessee, a woman claimed she suffered from depression after a display of pickles collapsed on top of her. (In fairness, that does sound pretty depressing.) She sued for half a million dollars, and won. Not only that, but the woman’s husband joined her in the lawsuit, sued for an additional $200K for “loss of consortium” – and also won! “Loss of consortium” is a legal term for when someone is deprived of the benefits of a relationship as a result of the events in question – which in the case of a spouse, implies sexual relations. In plain english, this guy successfully sued Wal-Mart for a quarter million dollars because his wife was too depressed to have sex with him after she was the victim of a Walmart pickle avalanche. God Bless America! Walmart had to pay out another “loss of consortium” settlement to an Oklahoma wife, after her husband injured his sphincter using a defective “climbing device.” His sphincter! This raises so many question. How does that happen, and if there’s a video, has it been uploaded to Youtube yet? She got a quarter million for being sexually frustrated while her husband rehabbed his you-know-what.
In separate cases, employees told customers not to do something, the customers did it anyway, got hurt, and then successfully sued Walmart. In the first case, in New York, the employees told a woman not to go out the exit because huge sheets of ice were falling off the roof. “You ain’t the boss of me,” the woman probably said, before marching out the door and immediately getting struck by a huge sheet of falling ice. She lost the use of her left hand, and successfully sued for $600K. In another case, clerks told a woman not to use an exit because the automatic doors were malfunctioning. “They look fine to me,” the woman probably said, before marching through the doors and immediately being struck in the face by one of them. She broke her nose, sued for damages, and won.
COLLAPSE A CHAIR
I didn’t know this happened outside of cartoons, but it does, and apparently it’s profitable. It seems to happen a lot in Texas – in three separate incidents, people sat in a chair that collapsed under them, and sued for $40K-$70K. Bonus points if you can get an exercise bicycle to collapse under you, as happened to a Louisiana woman. Basically, when you go to Wal-Mart you should just sit down on everything humanly possible, while crossing your fingers for a loose bolt or missing screw.
You don’t even have to get shot with a real gun – in 1996, a Georgia man successfully sued Wal-Mart for $75K after a kid picked up a BB gun off the shelf in a Wal-Mart and shot him in the back with it. Don’t tell me you don’t have a niece or a godson or some other little hellion who wouldn’t gladly shoot you with a pellet gun in Walmart, in exchange for an Xbox One or something. Alternately, you could get shot, with a real gun, in the parking lot, and sue them, as a Michigan man did for $375K. He said he “lost his sense of smell” after the shooting; police never found the shooter. (Hmm.) Lastly, even if you get shot but are nowhere near a Walmart, you could still sue! In Florida, the family of a man who’d been shot sued Walmart for selling the bullets to the shooters; they walked away with a million dollars.
A 71-year-old woman in Florida tore her ACL when a Walmart employee pushed a huge line of carts into the back of her leg. The employee testified that it was the woman’s fault because “she suddenly stopped walking.” She walked (limped) away with $72K.
A partial list of things that people have slipped on in Walmart, for which they subsequently won cash settlements:
-a smashed french fry
-ice cubes and water
-body shampoo (???)
-“unknown liquid substance”
-a plastic hanger
-a black substance
-a “wet and nasty” piece of cardboard
A Texas man chipped his teeth when he accidentally bit a “hard plastic cube” that was inside his Walmart snack bar sandwich. He sued and won three thousand dollars. It’s not as much as a lot of these other settlements, but if I offered you three grand to bite a hard plastic cube, we both know you’d be like, “where’s the cube, give me the cube right now.”