Monday, January 18, 2010

Stella, oh Stella!

Let's start this post with a little backstory:

In 2003, I went to spend Christmas with my family in the USA. While there, we made a trip to a local BIG STORE (removed the name out of my own paranoia) for some quick shopping. I took the opportunity to browse through the local tech gadgets, since they were cheaper than here in Portugal. As I was walking down an aisle, I felt this big object impacting against my right shoulder and sliding down my arm, making a big *thump* when it hit the ground.

Looking at it, I noticed it was this big cardboard box (about 4 times as big as an old 16' PC monitor) that fell down from one of the top shelves. I heard some hasty steps coming from the other aisle and was greeted by a *VERY* anxious employee. The poor creature was almost pale white, asking if everything was ok, if I had injured myself. Apparently, she had shifted the box too much and it caused it to fall down. Even after I told her that everything was fine, she kept on asking if I was ok. Afterwards, I just went to meet the rest of my family, finding the employee's behaviour strange, but not giving it much thought.

Fast forward to present day:

Someone linked me the URL for The Stella Awards (, a site that serves as a compilation of lawsuits across the USA, some of them quite outrageous. And, reading the site, I was thrown back to that aisle on THAT BIG STORE. That's what the poor creature was so terrified about: that I would sue her and the store.

And while I wouldn't be one to make such a ridiculous lawsuit, after reading the awards (where a person actually managed to sue a store for not warning that there were wild squirrels in the vicinity), I get the distinct feeling that I could've walked away from that with a few hundred thousand (if not a few million) extra dollars in my wallet. It's almost like that box was my lottery ticket.

Now... this scares the living bejesus out of me! That one could've used such a dumb excuse to sue someone for large amounts of cash! But I've got to be honest: while this may be downright wrong, it's an imaginative way to make a quick buck! At least in the cases where people find small excuses for this. There is another set of lawsuits that just show how stupid people really are (like suing a hospital for causing you "undue" stress when you see doctors rushing to save your family member).

As I was writing this, I specified the name of the store where I was. Due to my paranoia and realizing that specifying it was a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory if someone related to the store found it, I decided to edit it out.

But truth be told, there is a small, "weasel" part of me that wonders if he could go back and actually sue the store for that outlandish concept that the box had scarred me mentally and that I was no longer able to walk down a supermarket aisle out of fear...

...and then there's the rational and decent part of me that wants to smack that other part of me with my baseball bat.

I'll see you around! ;)

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