Laila Sibai was injured while standing in the check out line at a Sam’s club in Texas. She was struck in the head by J.D.Womack, a Walmartian cashier at an adjacent register. The accident happened while Womack was lifting a case of softdrinks from the bottom of another customer’s shopping cart. As he lifted the case and swung around to put the drinks in the cart behind him, Womack smacked Laila Sibai in the head with his elbow, causing her injuries. Sibai sued Wal-Mart, and in court the company argued that Sibai had not demonstrated that a condition existed which created an unreasonable risk of harm at Womack’s check out counter. Sibai said that Womack failed to adequately warn her that she would be struck unless she moved out of the way. Sibai’s daughter, Rana, testified that Womack did not even realize what he had done to her mother. At the trial court level, the case was thrown out by the judge. But Sibai’s family appealed the case, and on January 8, 1999, the Court of Appeals in Dallas, TX ruled in Laila’s favor, sending the case back for a new trial on the claims of negligence against Wal-Mart.
There was a bumper sticker reportedly promoted by Wal-Mart which read: “Outta my way, I’m going to Wal-Mart.” Instead of those little Mr.Smiley buttons they all wear, perhaps Wal-Mart employees should all wear “Outta My Way” buttons, like J.D Womack. So remember shoppers, heads up while you’re shoppiing at Wal-Mart. If you scroll down in this “newflash” page, you will find repeated examples of the dangers of shopping at Wal-Mart. My research has not yet turned up a single case where Wal-Mart actually admits that it was negligent, apologizes to the customer, and offers to make right any harm that was done to them. That’s why the “customer is boss” company should do, but you don’t see much of that happening.