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Old 04-13-2011, 08:50 PM   #1
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Safety at Lowe's?


Went to Lowe's today to get a couple containers of deck cleaner. I found the one I wanted and as I lifted the 2.5 gallon container off the shelf the lid popped off and deck cleaner spilled all over my left shoulder, chest and some splashed on my face. My shirt instantly got that bleached out look and my arm and face burned. I ran into the mens room and washed my face, arm and shirt. Then went to the "service desk" and asked for the manager.

We went back to the deck cleaner section and found several lids loose just waiting for some poor sucker to jerk the container off the shelf and get burnt or worse. That stuff came within an inch of going in my eyes!

The manager set 3 of the containers in the cart and said "if I comp these would this make you happy?" Never once did he ask about my burns or even fill out a incident report. Just here, take these and be happy.

What would you do?

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Old 04-13-2011, 08:56 PM   #2
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BigD9 - First of all, hope you are ok. What a horrible experience. I HATE it when all a business would have to do is be CONSIDERATE, but fail.

You have two roads to take. Choose wisely.

1) call an attorney

2) write one copy of a letter detailing your incident. Send it to the manager at the lowes, lowes corporate, the BBB, your local news station, Inside Edition, The Internet.

JK about the one road thing. You could do both. But I'm pretty sure that this type of lawsuit is bad for your Karma (maybe that's why I'm not an attorney anymore.....).

BTW - I'd pick #2 and watch the fun-fly. I might also write our local paper.

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Old 04-13-2011, 09:05 PM   #3
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Safety at Lowe's?


I'd give Lowe's the option of doing the right thing first. That "manager" should be fired. They should, but may not reimburse you for the cost of your shirt, a checkup with your doctor for the burns to your arm, and improve their product security so that this type of product tampering by other "customers" doesn't happen again. If all of these things don't happen to your satisfaction within two weeks I would suggest taking it viral; to Lowe's Corporate, to YouTube, to the news media, and so on.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grampa Bud
I'd give Lowe's the option of doing the right thing first. That "manager" should be fired. They should, but may not reimburse you for the cost of your shirt, a checkup with your doctor for the burns to your arm, and improve their product security so that this type of product tampering by other "customers" doesn't happen again. If all of these things don't happen to your satisfaction within two weeks I would suggest taking it viral; to Lowe's Corporate, to YouTube, to the news media, and so on.
Go on with your bad self, Granpa Bud!
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:49 PM   #5
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Safety at Lowe's?


so, did you take the product? Not asking to see what kind of deal you ended up with but wondering what kind of chemical you got into. How are the burns now? Did you seek any medical attention?
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:45 AM   #6
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I got the Olympic Deck Cleaner in the 2.5 gallon size. This morning the rash looking areas are fading and kind of feels like mild sunburn.

I guess what pissed me off so much was the cavalier attitude shown by all employees. There was one employee in the rest room when I went in, and I said "I just got splashed my deck cleaning acid, and started to strip off my shirt. He looked at me with this deer caught in headlights look and I asked "is there anything I should do?" meaning besides washing. Usually businesses have areas set up for emergencies like this with wash stations and placards telling employees what to do with spills to treat anybody exposed, and to decontaminate the spill area. This Lowe's employee just said "go to the service desk up front and ask them". This is an older Lowe's with the men's room in the rear of the store and service desk up front. If it was me in the restroom and someone came in saying he was just splashed with an acid, I would have helped by at least walking with him to the desk and getting help for him, even if I didn't work there. Just as a member of this human race, I would escorted him to the service desk in case he had further problems, passed out, went blind...anything. This guy left the rest room and I saw him as I exited. He was talking on a cell phone about a ball game to someone!

Then at the desk I had to wait for someone to come up to me. There I was, standing there with a wet shirt, big bleached out areas all over the front stinking like bleach and hurting. After what seemed like an hour, probably more like 4 minutes, someone came up and asked if he could help me. I explained what happened and he said "do you want to speak to a manager?"

He called for a manager. Apparently the wrong one because he had to hang up and call another manager. Then hang up and call another manager. Then he said "someone will be with you in a minute, and he walked away. I waited and waited thinking I need to go back and wash my arm and face again, this stuff is stinging me.

Once again, if I was a manager I would have rushed to the person assessing the situation and offering medical help. I certainly would have gotten injured persons name and contact information. But this guy just came sundering up and said "can I help you?" Then he said "what were you buying? Maybe I can just give it to you to cover the cost of the shirt". I said it spilled all over the floor, at least get someone to clean it up! He said lets go and have a look. You know it was if this happens all the time, no big deal.

Anyway, I doubt I will go to the doctor. I doubt I will call a lawyer. I will write to Olympic Products and ask them why there is no seal under the cap. I will write to Lowe’s and ask them why their people aren’t better trained. But I probably won’t sue like woman did in 1994 when she spilled a cup of McDonald’s hot coffee on her and won a couple million dollars. Or should I?
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:03 AM   #7
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You really should GO see a doctor today. Go to a doc-in-a-box today and have someone look at it. Just to be safe. K? Good. Do it at lunch.

I've had a trip or two (or 20) to the ER. before I was 20 I tried to stay calm, cool and collected - even with I slashed my thumb open during a lab accident.

Now I make it my practice to holler/scream/yell. You don't get ignored at Lowes if you start yelling - OMG I've got acid all over me.
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
But I probably won’t sue like woman did in 1994 when she spilled a cup of McDonald’s hot coffee on her and won a couple million dollars. Or should I?
One of my favorites: Stella Liebeck. When you figure out what she settled for let everybody else know. The case was dismissed by joint agreement so there is no "award". It was settled privately behind closed doors. If you read the case, you will see where there was justification for the suit but beyond that, all Ms. Liebeck originally sought was compensation for her medical bills and for her niece (I believe) who took 3 weeks off work to care for her when she was discharged from the hospital (around $20k if I remember correctly). Just for fun numbers, the amount she was originally awarded (which was subsequently discounted and as I stated, eventually discharged) amounted to about 2 days of coffee sales for McD's. Not much actual punishment, especially if you understood the entire basis for the claim.

your injuries, as you have explained them, are absolutely nothing in comparison to the injuries Ms. Liebeck received. She had 3rd degree burns to 6% of her body and lesser degree burns to an additional 16% of her body. She underwent skin grafts.

wikipedia has a pretty decent write-up of the situation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald's_Restaurants

anyway, from what I can find, it would appear the active ingredient is sodium hypochlorate (bleach) I believe this is the correct MSDS:

http://win14.american.edu/safety/au/...000/000176.PDF

If you are experiencing no obvious signs of severe injury, you are likely fine. I didn't see the level of concentration but I suspect it is quite strong. As such, I suspect you are extremely lucky you didn't get any in your eyes.

I would believe a strongly worded letter to both the manufacturer and to Lowes, including the local level of management on up to the highest levels, would be appropriate.
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:29 AM   #9
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Safety at Lowe's?


Sorry to hear that Big D, and honestly hope that you are okay. At an absolute minimum, I would obtain an MSDS for that exact product, whether at the store or online, and take it with me to the doctor, just to make sure that no subsequent medical attention is required. And, if you do get it online, I would still revisit the store, and ask them to produce an MSDS. If they hesitate at all, I would certainly persue their lack of adequate safety practices. This coming from a guy who enjoys life, and lets a lot of things roll off his back, but they should have contingencies in place for such events.
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Old 05-06-2011, 02:30 PM   #10
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Safety at Lowe's?


Unhappy with how the store manager handled your particular situation? Then maybe you should handle this the way I did at our local Lowe's store. Unhappy with a product I bought for a customer I returned it. They would not refund my monies because I had opened the box ,a faucet which the customer did not like when she saw it. I asked for the store manager on duty, she informed me that they could not take the faucet back after it had been opened as they did not know if it had been installed and removed. The unit was still wrapped in the box. I politely thanked them for their time. THEN--I went downtown and paid $36 dollars for a "parade permit" for the next day, bought me some poster paper, made up a sandwich sign declaring this store manager, by name, to be unfair to loyal business/contractor customers. I could legally parade on the City's Right-of-Way in front of the store. Not two hours into this the actual store manager came out and asked me to stop. NOPE. He wanted to offer some settlement on this, I told him I had not gotten my $36 worth of "parading" yet. After about 4 hrs. I counter-offered for a free faucet for my customer, an apology from the MOD, and won.
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Old 05-06-2011, 03:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thurman View Post
Unhappy with how the store manager handled your particular situation? Then maybe you should handle this the way I did at our local Lowe's store. Unhappy with a product I bought for a customer I returned it. They would not refund my monies because I had opened the box ,a faucet which the customer did not like when she saw it. I asked for the store manager on duty, she informed me that they could not take the faucet back after it had been opened as they did not know if it had been installed and removed. The unit was still wrapped in the box. I politely thanked them for their time. THEN--I went downtown and paid $36 dollars for a "parade permit" for the next day, bought me some poster paper, made up a sandwich sign declaring this store manager, by name, to be unfair to loyal business/contractor customers. I could legally parade on the City's Right-of-Way in front of the store. Not two hours into this the actual store manager came out and asked me to stop. NOPE. He wanted to offer some settlement on this, I told him I had not gotten my $36 worth of "parading" yet. After about 4 hrs. I counter-offered for a free faucet for my customer, an apology from the MOD, and won.
HI-LARIOUS! Sounds like lots of fun!

So glad my local Lowes isn't staffed by mellon heads. Last week I returned a half used container of Round-up because the sprayer clogged. Full refund. No questions.
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:05 AM   #12
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Just as some general advice, when something like this happens where you think there's any possibility to might be injured, do not accept any offer from the management until you have sought medical attention. If you take an offer such as comp'd merchandise, it can in some cases make it more difficult to recover damages in court if you do incur any medical expenses.
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:46 PM   #13
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I believe the proper agency to involve might be OSHA.

This is a chemical spill, apparently their employees aren't properly trained in handling chemical spills at a minimum and they might not have proper cleanup materials.

At issue will be whether they have a spill containment procedure in place, and whether they follow that procedure.

I worked at a retail superstore in the deli for a while and store-wide they had codes they called out for things like theft, medical emergencies and so on and when somebody slipped and fell or anything like that, any employee that found out didn't fart around even if they didn't know how to handle it - they call the code and stay until appropriate people arrived.

I'm not sure, but even if these containers don't have seals, they have child-proof caps. Something is wrong about this, if they took a return and reshelved it like this there's another problem. I know customers do all kinds of things, but why would anyone go through openning deck cleaner?
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Old 05-17-2011, 02:51 PM   #14
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OSHA would only apply to the people working there. Hazmat rules (EPA? off the top of my head) may apply to labeling and packaging.

Product liability law an consumer product safety rules applies to the customer.
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:52 PM   #15
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I think what's done is done. If you want to make a deal out of it i'd write to upper management, dating and stating what happened.

Personally at this point i'd probably just forget about it. However I would have probably made a bigger deal out of it in the store. When you come across as "uh oh this guy could cause problems with my boss, and he's starting to make a scene" they tend to give you the time of day. At this point though what would make it better? maybe an assurance that it wouldn't happen to other customers.

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