Jewish World Review Feb. 6, 2004 / 14 Shevat, 5764

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Chance for big money slips through her fingers | I was lugging groceries into the house, when I fumbled with the door and dropped one of the bags on my foot. The two girls immediately spun around and yelled, "SUE!"

"Are you crazy?" I snapped.

"A woman dropped a bag of groceries from Wal-Mart on her foot and is suing for $30,000," the youngest said. The kid jerked off my tennis shoe and peeled off my sock.

"What in blazes are you doing?" I asked. "We've got groceries to put away."

"I'm checking your toenails for damage. The woman suing filed a 14-page complaint citing injuries that included cracked and damaged toenails."

She carefully inspected my foot, turning it from side to side, top to bottom, paying particular attention to the baby toe. "Yes! You're in luck, Mom! I see blood."

"That's not blood, that's red nail polish."

"Do you feel any pain in your foot?" she asked.

"Only when you twist and turn it."

"Do you think anything might be broken? Try, Mom! It doesn't have to be a big bone; a tiny bone will do."

"My bones are fine."

"Could you walk with a limp? You won't have a chance in court without at least a limp."

"Forget it!" I said.

At that instant, the oldest daughter skidded into the kitchen with the bathroom scale in her arms.

"This is a strange time for a weigh-in, isn't it girls?"

"This isn't for you, it's for the groceries. The woman who's suing was carrying a bag packed with a jar of Miracle Whip, a bottle of ketchup, three cans of fruit, a bottle of ranch salad dressing and a bottle of mustard."

They gathered up the groceries scattered across the floor and gingerly piled them on the scale.

"Bad news," I overheard one of them said. "The woman suing had seven items in her bag, and Mom only has five."

"Yes, but the rump roast and fresh pineapple will make up the difference in weight," said the other.

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"When did you two turn into Johnnie Cochrans, and what did you do with my daughters?" I demanded to know.

"Mom, you need to think carefully. The woman suing says the store overloaded her bag and put her in a 'position of peril.' At any time, did the store put you in a 'position of peril.'"

"Definitely. When I went through bakery and saw French bread was 'Buy one, get one free,' my diet and I were in a position of peril. When I went through frozen foods and saw vanilla fudge swirl ice cream on sale, when I saw the Sara Lee — "

"Mom, you can't blame the store for everything."

"You can't?"

"No, but according to this lawsuit you can blame them for almost everything. Did you ask the bagger to double or triple bag?"

"No. I only asked about the weather and his mother."

"We're running into a dead end, unless you think dropping this bag of groceries would, um, somehow, um, affect Dad."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, the woman's husband is also suing for $30,000 for loss of comfort."

"Your father turns to sports for comfort. As long as the remote works, we don't have a case. Besides, I know precisely what cause this accident. It was my own clumsiness, my own fault, my own stupid mistake."

"Maybe," the youngest said, "but you'll never get rich talking like that."

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids and "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.). To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman