Archive for March, 2011

So my heart goes out to the family that lost their son on the escalator accident at the Sears in Auburn.  I DO feel badly for them losing their child.  But I have some concerns about how this is going to appear in the media, and no I don’t know the EXACT circumstances, no I was not witness to the accident, but there are some consistent issues that happen with escalators and children that need to be addressed, especially when it involves the parents and their responsibility in watching their children.  And yes I know there are regulations about the spacing between the railing and the wall that were not followed, but this COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED ON MORE THAN JUST SEARS’ PART!
Also, working at a register right near an escalator, I can’t tell you how many times there are kids there playing and the parents are SHOPPING, NOT watching their kids! And there are posted warnings about not playing near the escalator, not using wheeled vehicles on it, etc, and people STILL don’t listen.
A few common problems that happen on escalators because people want to fool around or treat the escalator as a toy and not as a tool to make walking up and down stairs easier.
Teenagers and young kids love to walk backwards up the escalator because it’s “fun.” and they aren’t supposed to do it.  So it’s a thrill.
All age ranges run up and down the escalators, also not a smart idea.  It’s a moving staircase of thousands of pounds of metal.  Probably a few tons.  And it’s electric.  Not a good combination.
Kids LOVE to touch that railing that the victim was playing with before he was pulled in over the railing.  And when you say, “Don’t touch, that’s dangerous, you can lose a finger,” they stop for a second and then go back to playing with it.  I’m sorry, but employees are NOT hired to be baby sitters.  If you can’t watch your kids, don’t shop with them, or don’t have kids at all.  BE RESPONSIBLE PARENTS!  I don’t know the circumstances in the situation in Auburn, it could have been a freak scenario where he ran ahead and there was no possible way the parents could have stopped him, but I just also know that this will be blown out of proportion in regards to escalators everywhere because that’s what happens with media and situations like these where people were doing things they should not have been doing on a piece of equipment.
Someone gets hurt, like the lady a few years ago who tried to take her shopping cart down the escalator where it says “NO WHEELED VEHICLES” and then when she realized she shouldn’t have done it, she tried to stop it, and fell down the escalator.  And got a concussion.  I don’t know if she sued or not, but sometimes in those situations I hope there are judges who put the people in their place, “You are hurt, I understand, but you did make a stupid decision.”  It’s like drinking and getting behind a wheel.  If you total your car, are you going to be mad at the tree you hit?
Or the three young women probably younger than me, who had three babies in three separate carriages, who thought it was safe to take those carriages UP the escalator after I told them NO, our store elevator was broken and to use the one in the mall.  They did it anyway.  Because they were in a rush.  I was so mad.  How can you get mad at a company if you get hurt, when it’s because of your own stupidity?  I know in this case they are looking at the escalator inspectors, which is a better idea than just suing Sears, but it will probably still happen anyway.  I just think that people have to pay better attention, especially when it comes to watching their kids.  I can’t tell you how many times I have told kids not to play on the escalator and I either get dirty looks from the parents OR the oblivious parents turn around and say “JOHNNY, WHAT were you DOING for that lady to YELL at you??!!!???”
To blame the department store, the escalator inspectors, or the parents of kids in situations like these, it’s so complicated, but I just needed to vent, because I know from experience that 9 times out of 10 people are the ones to blame, not the machines.  And of course clothing has gotten caught on escalators.  I’ve seen the results of that myself, but if you have shoelaces it’s kind of common sense not to walk on an escalator, or wearing open toed shoes, you’re likely to get pinched, or lose clothing that’s long.  You wouldn’t wear a long wedding gown or prom dress down and escalator.  That’s asking for trouble.
So a tough situation, but I think I made some valid, often overlooked points.


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