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2001-03-15
Atlanta, GA. ABC's 20/20 on Falling Merchandise

The top brass at Home Depot on Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta will be watching this Friday night to see how bad the damage is from ABC's 20/20 segment on the dangers of shopping at big box stores. The network becomes the fourth or fifth major national show to broadcast the perils of falling merchandise. Working warehouse stores like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Costco, and others, have been plagued by recent reports of shoppers being killed or seriously injured from merchandise falling from sky shelves. Sprawl-Busters has been reporting on these injuries since 1997, but several recent deaths at Home Depot (see January 21, 2001 newsflash below) have caught the media's attention. In Massachusetts, Sprawl-Busters has filed state legislation that would require warehouse stores to issue hard hats to their shoppers, and to report to the state all cases of injuries or deaths at their stores. The bill is slated to have a hearing on May 16th in Boston. We will also ask that heavy lifting equipmenet be banned from sales floor during major shopping hours.

What you can do: So far the national media has focused on the death and injury that goes along with warehouse shopping, and has not focused on legislation being filed in Massachusetts and California. But eventually they will "discover" that citizens can do more than wring their hands in fear over how they are endangered by these stores. As reported in newsflash on January 21, 2001 and more recently in the Wall Street Journal, Home Depot has announced a new "Service Performance Improvement" makeover of their stores, that will take forklifts out of shopping areas from 8 am and 8 pm, eliminate wooden pallets on the sales floor, and stop the stocking of shelves during the same shopper hours. Instead, Home Depot will imitate the grocery stores, and stock their shelves with a night crew, instead of killing shoppers during the day. The Service Performance Improvement, or SPI, really should stand for "Save People from Injuries." Coming soon to a Home Depot near you! Is this new policy the result of being hammered in public? We don't need a Home Depot press release to answer that one.










 
 
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