I found a tiny news brief about someone suing Wal-Mart after slipping in a puddle of vomit on Yahoo's "Odd News" section and then looked up the original at the Iowa newspaper's Web site - here is the article, complete with the usual comments from the readers on how insane the situation is. I feel compelled to comment.
I've had my own versions of Wal-Mart vomit horror stories.
Once, I had to physically walk an senile old woman back to the Electronics section to help her find some phone she wants to exchange because she was literally too stupid to understand the instructions "Go to the jewelry counter, turn right and go till you see pillows, then turn left."
Once I got her to Electronics she asked a frillion questions about the phone. I mean - this is the Wal-Mart. If you want quality electroncs - you need anywhere else. At Best Buy. Or Circuit City. Anywhere but Wal-Mart. Still, I tried to help as best I could.
Anyway. This old bird is nattering on when the girl who works at the fabric table comes running over to me. I get a whole string of shrieks in Creole and finally understand "THIS LADY SHE FELL DOWN."
OK. Generally not a good thing. Not for any reason. Especially when no one around can understand you. I go over and the woman who had fallen down is standing up and looking around.
I ask her "Ma'am, are you all right? I need to get someone to fill out an accident report." Every customer "oopsie" is supposed to get an accident report, whether they want one or not - to prevent future lawsuit incidents. Don't let them walk away and then sue later.
She's not the lawsuit type - or else just doesn't want to waste an hour of her time - so she repeatedly tells me she's fine. She's more worried about finding what made her fall down - she thinks it is her new tennis shoes.
She looks around for a second and then goes "What is that?" and points to a big splotch of something yellow and runny on the floor.
I look at it. The woman who fell looks at it. The girl from the fabric table looks at it. We're at a loss. It could be pee. It could be poo. It has chunks in it. It's baby spew.
No one wants to clean it up. I can't find one of the orange cone things to put there so no one else will fall - although how you could miss a patch of baby puke a foot wide is beyond me. The woman who fell goes "Gross. I really need to learn to watch where I'm going." And she walks off.
I make the fabric table girl stand there while I go get paper towels. As I return, a fat man in plaid shorts and a white T-shirt tries to push past her. Dude - she's standing in the middle of the aisle with her hands out FOR A REASON. If she don't move - don't you think you MIGHT NEED TO GO AROUND? Really - take the Kevin Bacon-tractor-driver-in-Footloose fantasy somewhere else.
So I put enough paper towels on this baby puke to stop up the toilets in Yankee Stadium. I couldn't find the bio-hazard gloves or I would have put them on too. It stank. It stank like dog farts.
About the time I was finished mopping this up - the maintenance girl sailed by - "Somebody call for Maintenance?" No. We called for a martini with two olives. Shaken. Not stirred. And dancing girls. Of course we called for Maintenance. Ten minutes ago.
So that's my baby puke story.
No associate would knowingly allow something treacherous to remain on the sales floor. However, there are hundreds and hundreds of ill-bred and worse-mannered shoppers and precious few of us. The workers will never win. I've seen everything from human feces to blood to banana peels just lying around on the floor at my store.
In my book, if you decide you're going to stroll through a Wal-Mart pasture, you ought to know ahead of time to watch out for the cow pies.