So, here’s a 59-year-old guy in Alabama who walked into Walmart and decided a watermelon was in his future. The watermelon sat innocently enough, no doubt in a huge cardboard box with all its mates, and the box in turn sat on a wooden pallet.

Our guy picked up the watermelon, not realizing his foot was lodged in the spacer within the pallet, turned, and broke his hip.

Now that is an owie in anyone’s dictionary. No doubt Walmart rushed to the man’s aid, and saw to his hospital bills and after care, but to be breaking your hip has to cause a bit of a crimp in one’s life.

Well you can now all relax, because after a 2-year lawsuit which have no doubt thrilled his lawyers, he has been awarded 7.5 million smackaroos for his pains.

Now I understand he needs to be compensated for at least the bloody irritation of it all, but 7.5 mil does seem a tad excessive, and, understandably, Walmart in taking this to appeal.

Now before you go hurtling into Walmart to see if you can injure yourself on a shelf you didn’t see, or develop ringing in the ears due to the cash registers dinging, I want all office administrators across this great land to pay attention. I mean, just thinking of my small place of business, I can see potential pitfalls everywhere.

First thing in the morning I’m flying to my computer to create safety signage. First, and most obviously, there is the glass front door. Now if any of our employees were not aware of this, I will erect a sign stating that “this is a glass door and may cause an egg on your forehead if you inadvertently belt your head on it while forgetting it’s there”.

My desk is a minefield of potential hurts and thus lawsuits. I not only have scissors in my pencil holder, I have an actual scalpel which is covered by – even in my outlook – a most unstable plastic cover. When I go to pick it up, I am very well aware that this plastic cover tends to come off well before I even thought about picking it up, and I could in fact perform an accidental digitarectomy on myself without any trouble at all.

Well these have to go – I will provide kindergarten-type scissors with rounded ends, and the scalpel will just have to be safely disposed of.

The coffee in the kitchen. Oh, my dears, what a potential hazard. Signs will now abound warning of the heat of the coffee, not to mention its design causes the contents of the pot to dribble everywhere but the intended cup.

Our computers no doubt emit some sort of harmful rays, and heaven only knows what would happen if any of our staff decided to sit in our freezer for an hour or so.

But I think the biggest sign of all will be plastered on every wall – “Pay attention,” it will exhort – “Walmart we ain’t.”


-- Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at