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Woman Knocked Unconscious While Shopping

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Woman Knocked Unconscious While Shopping

ORANGE CITY, Fla. - A mob of shoppers rushing for a sale on DVD players trampled the first woman in line and knocked her unconscious as they scrambled for the shelves at a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Patricia VanLester had her eye on a $29 DVD player, but when the siren blared at 6 a.m. Friday announcing the start to the post-Thanksgiving sale, the 41-year-old was knocked to the ground by the frenzy of shoppers behind her.

"She got pushed down, and they walked over her like a herd of elephants," said VanLester's sister, Linda Ellzey. "I told them, `Stop stepping on my sister! She's on the ground!'"

Ellzey said some shoppers tried to help VanLester, and one employee helped Ellzey reach her sister, but most people just continued their rush for deals.

"All they cared about was a stupid DVD player," she said Saturday.

Paramedics called to the store found VanLester unconscious on top of a DVD player, surrounded by shoppers seemingly oblivious to her, said Mark O'Keefe, a spokesman for EVAC Ambulance.

She was flown to Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, where doctors told the family VanLester had a seizure after she was knocked down and would likely remain hospitalized through the weekend, Ellzey said. Hospital officials said Saturday they did not have any information on her condition.

"She's all black and blue," Ellzey said. "Patty doesn't remember anything. She still can't believe it all happened."

Ellzey said Wal-Mart officials called later Friday to ask about her sister, and the store apologized and offered to put a DVD player on hold for her.

Wal-Mart Stores spokeswoman Karen Burk said she had never heard of a such a melee during a sale.

"We are very disappointed this happened," Burk said. "We want her to come back as a shopper."

That is just awful! Some people just make me mad! Why on Earth wouldn't more people try to help her? Plus, I can't believe that Walmart (yes, I work for the company but don't always agree with everything they do) wouldn't just GIVE her a DVD player for what she's gone through. How scary & very sad!
post #2 of 46
Gee how kind that they are putting one on hold for her- they should GIVE her one!
post #3 of 46
Thread Starter 
My thoughts exactly! If I were the Manager for that store, I'd be giving her a DVD player & some kind of Gift Card...but that's just me. That poor woman! Maybe Walmart's idea was that they'll end up paying for all the bills since it happened on their property, but still...have some kind of remorse & make it right for the woman!
post #4 of 46
i guess you need more than just one DVD to make her feel better... they should pay for her medical bills and all...
post #5 of 46
Thread Starter 
Kate, I'm sure they will. Since it happened on Walmart's property, the claim will be paid by Walmart. At least the woman won't have to worry about all the bills & etc on top of what she is going through.
post #6 of 46
I agree, I was appalled when I read this story online this AM. They should, at the very minimum, GIVE her the DVD player. A gift card would be a nice touch, too. She could very well sue them for this, they'll save money in the long run by being nice guys.
post #7 of 46
I think they should give her a DVD player, and a bunch of free DVD's of her choice, plus pay her medical bills.

Personally, I can't understand what is wrong with people, that they'd trample a woman for a few dollars off the regular price. People are insane! This is NOT showing Holiday Spirit, that's for sure.
post #8 of 46
That is terrible to hear. I'm dreading Christmas shopping. I wish I had the money in October to do it then like I usually do. Walmart should do something more and those people should be trampled on. Over a DVD player is pretty sad, she could have died.
post #9 of 46
her a DVD player, it would be like admitting they were at fault for her getting trampled in one of their stores. They don't even want to have that implication. Soooo, they offer the bare minimum to save face while not "admitting" guilt. I'm sorry but common sense would tell stores to keep a hot item like a $29 DVD player behind a counter or something and have the counter manned for the 20 minutes or so it would take to sell them out. If I were that lady I would be tempted to sue. How horrible for her to have to go through that all because the items weren't kept in a area where they could be retrieved by a salesperson and HANDED to customers as they wait in line or something to that effect. Then again, what do I know, maybe the way people act now, someone could get trampled over a pair of $3.00 tennis shoes.
post #10 of 46
All the tramplers were able to get a DVD player and Wal-Mart offers to "put one on hold" for her?! Geeez I think I would sue just for that comment!
post #11 of 46
Thread Starter 
I can see your post catlover67, but there is no way any one could hand out those kinds of items. I heard from another Associate that when the Furby's were popular, we keep them behind the counter & handed them out. There were 4 associates behind that counter & they almost all got squished by the counter since people were shoving so hard the counter was tipping. It's just not safe at all either way. To me, they should put those items in more than one location so there aren't so many people at one place. Honestly, it may not help. People are psychotic when they come in the store on that day. It definitely brings out the worst in people!
post #12 of 46
the manager couldn't have been that lame

the lawsuit is in process as we speak most likely...

getting knocked unconcious in Walmart will at the least get her a $250,000 out of court settlement.
post #13 of 46
yeah I'm sure she will get compensated, but it shouldn't have
happened in the first place. What is the matter on Black
Friday???? Is it like a full moon does everyone lose their
post #14 of 46
and I am not trying to argue here, however, my mother said Wal-Mart knows darn well that a popular item such as a DVD player at such a low price would bring the crowds on. My father said Wal-Mart should be held responsible because they did NOTHING to ensure crowd control. It is their own fault if they get sued. Maybe next time they will either try and have better crowd control or as you suggested, have the items spread out in different locations to avoid a stampede at one spot. Wal-Mart has been in business a long time and I find it hard to believe they wouldn't have foreseen something like this happening. Also you said the counter was tipping? I would have told everyone to back off and behave like civil adults or no one was going to get anything!! (I would have been fired for trying to secure my own safety!) I really can't believe people are sick enough to trample another human being over a DVD player. Very sad
post #15 of 46
i think people act crazy when it comes to shopping that day, they should have different times through out the day and not from 6-12 for example that might help with the crouds... i hate to hear this for this poor woman, i hope she gets better, but i tell ya if that was my sister and they kept going on i would be in one hell of a fight for sure,,, stupied people, what has happened???
post #16 of 46
I agree with catlover67. The store should have done something more to prevent something like this from happening. The woman should sue, and if it were me, I would have. They should atleast give her the DVD for free or something.
post #17 of 46
Thread Starter 
I agree with you 100%! To be honest, it comes down to greed. Walmart is making a killing off of those sales & the last thing they think about is safety. To be honest with you, I conducted the Safety meeting this week & I never gave it a thought about someone getting trampled or hurt. Now, I will and unfortunately it took someone getting seriously hurt for it to open my eyes. Hopefully Walmart's eyes have been openned too & will do better next time.

Another problem that has been noted in Walmart's (my store was once affected) was that the store closes on Thanksgiving & then reopens that morning at 6. There are hundreds of people waiting to get inside the building & people could easily get trampled on that way. It happened at my store before we became a SuperCenter. Now, we don't close on Thanksgiving at all & therefore people start floating in around 3 in the morning waiting for the sales. There are no people running ragged through the store since they could have been there before the sale started. I'm not sure if this store where the woman was hurt at is a 24 hour store, but I'm betting that it's not. I truly hope that this doesn't happen ever again, but the chances of that are slim even if the store took precautions.

No offense taken catlover...this all is a learning experience for me since right now I'm in training to become a Store Manager. I encourage people to give me their opinions both negative & positive about Walmart. It helps me become a better Manager & try to do the very best that I can.
post #18 of 46
Why is Wal-Mart at fault because customers are heartless? Because they put the items on sale? I agree with giving her the DVD player, and obviously, her medical bills would be paid, but what is the basis for the lawsuit here?
post #19 of 46
To some degree I agree with Deb25 on this. We need to learn to act like civilized human beings. I think what the store could have done, would be to not let a single one of those lunatics buy the DVD player they half killed a lady for. I also think they should hire extra security on that crazy day after Thanksgiving sale day.

They shouldn't have processed a single sale, until they got the names and addresses of each and every person who was involved in that stampede. If I was running Walmart, I would have sent every single lunatic home, and shut down all sales, until people could learn to act like human beings.
post #20 of 46
I just think it's too IRONIC that THIS IS MY EXACT WAL-MART! Maybe 3 miles from me if that!
post #21 of 46
Thread Starter 
To be honest, Walmart will settle this. They do on almost any accident that happens on their property. They don't want a bad name at all, so they just settle before to even gets to Court. I can't see a good reason why she'd sue the company since she took that risk but I do think that Walmart should compensate for her accident to make it right.

As for the security, Walmart doesn't have security guards unless it's a high crime place. We have our Loss Prevention guys who nail the shoplifters but they have aren't trained to do that kind of security.
There's no way in hell that Walmart would kick the lunatics out of there....too many lost sales. That's the greed kicking in. I'm betting Sam Walton the founder of Walmart is turning in his grave at what all goes on now. I'm sure it's not how he wanted it to be.

Louse...how ironic that it'd be your store that you shop at! Is it a supercenter? Just curious....
post #22 of 46
Shell, it's funny that you brought up this story. I was on another forum and there was a link to an anti-Walmart site (See here )

There seems to be a lot of people who are against the company!

When there are large sales on Boxing Day here in Toronto, the stores will have security outside and will only allow a certain amount of people in each hour so you avoid the mass hysteria that usually happens.

It's pretty sick what people will do in order to save a few bucks!
post #23 of 46
has been in business long enough to see the trends of holiday shoppers. They ought to have foreseen that when you put a super low price on a super popular product, the busiest shopping day of the year, they would know that people would at least be pushing and shoving to get the items. As Shell noted earlier, in the past counters were almost toppled in everyone's haste to get a coveted item. Was Wal-Mart in the dark?

This was not just an "item on sale" this was an almost give away price on a horrendously busy shopping day. At the very least, Wal-Mart has a responsibility to protect people. The should allow the "associates" to kick people out who are acting like greedy A******! BUT in the name of greed, Wal-Mart wouldn't dare lay down rules for the customers. Look what happens, no rules, complete chaos. I still feel they should be held accountable somehow. Is it the woman's fault she happened to be first in line and there was no orderly means to get the product to the customer? I think this will be a tremendous learning process for ALL retail giants and I hope they all pay close attention to this whole mess.

Sorry I am so strongly opinionated about this. Perhaps this whole thread should be moved to IMO forum
post #24 of 46
This type of thing happens every year for the Black Friday sales. It isn't just Wal Mart. When I brought the newspaper in on Thursday, 75% of the bulk was ads for the sales on Friday. And almost all of the stores opened at 6:00, had limited amounts of items, and the sales ended by 12:00. I had heard about the $29 DVD player at Wal Mart, and you know what? At least two other stores in my area had DVD players at roughly the same price. And while I think Wal Mart will certainly settle her medical bills, and probably compensate her in some way, they are not ultimately responsible for this.
post #25 of 46
Originally posted by catlover67
Look what happens, no rules, complete chaos.
Wal-Mart is damned lucky she wasnt killed or hurt more severely. I say they still should have tried to keep the store a little more safely.
post #26 of 46
Originally posted by Shell
Louse...how ironic that it'd be your store that you shop at! Is it a supercenter? Just curious....
Yep, it's a supercenter. Very large and relatively new.
post #27 of 46
Originally posted by Russian Blue
It's pretty sick what people will do in order to save a few bucks!
Yeah, and this $29 DVD player will be broken within a few months.
post #28 of 46
Honestly, the worst part of this is that I have seen DVD players for as low as $40-$45 regular price. So these people were really only saving $10, maybe $15. Must have been serious DVD shoppers, huh?
post #29 of 46
Thread Starter 
Heidi, you're right. The regular price for the DVD player was $43. Shopko (I think?) had the same one for only pennies higher than Walmart.
post #30 of 46
Thread Starter 
Plus, the real crappy part of the DVD fiasco is that it's an item that most stores carry ALL THE TIME! It's smart to come in before the sale ends & ask for a Raincheck. The chances of you getting an item like that is very high. Plus, like Heidi said..is it worth it for only $14 less?
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