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On The Bottom Rung Of Society

, , , , | Right | March 19, 2022

A large grocery store in my hometown is undergoing some pretty major renovations. Management has kept the store open during the renovations, because it’s the only real grocery store around — yay, rural food deserts! — so if they close, people are forced to drive half an hour to a larger town for anything more than convenience store snacks. This means that, on top of having to figure out the ever-changing stock locations, shoppers also have to dodge ladders, shelving units, racks of stock, and other hazards associated with such renovations.

Being a small town, most customers take the inconvenience in stride, with only mild grumblings of complaint, but one woman sees an opportunity and takes it.

I’m shopping at the store when a middle-aged woman enters the same aisle. We are the only two people in the aisle, and there is a ladder in the middle of the aisle where an employee had been changing signs before getting called away to another task.

After carefully looking around — and apparently, somehow, not noticing me — the woman slowly lies down at the base of the ladder and then starts screaming and thrashing around as if she fell off the ladder and injured herself. Several employees and other customers rush to the scene, and the woman starts screaming about how she’s going to sue the store for her injuries.

The store manager immediately apologizes, and the woman gets a smug look, believing her plan to be working. I manage to quietly shuffle through the crowd — somehow, nobody in the store has realized that I have been standing there in the aisle the entire time — and am able to find another manager who happens to be a personal friend of mine. I suggest to my friend that the store manager should look at the store’s security camera footage before agreeing to any settlement with the woman. Then, I quietly head to the register to check out and get out of there.

Unfortunately, the woman still won her lawsuit against the store. Even with the video proof of her faking the entire incident, the judge ruled that the employee should have put the ladder away properly when they were called to another task instead of leaving it set up in the aisle. As a result, the store manager decided to close the store completely while they finished their renovations to avoid any similar incidents in the future.

Fortunately, everyone in town realized that the store only closed because of her. She was also permanently banned from the store, so she’ll always have that extra hour of driving time, round trip, to the next closest grocery store to remember her victory.

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