Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Safety, Sex and Death at the Home Depot

It's just the best Home Depot image I could find today...

The other day I'm in Home Depot looking for a bracket to hang some decorative stuff on the wall of Chateau CasonBlog. As I'm moving down the center east/west isle in my local Home Depot, I hear the telltale sound of an approaching picker/fork lift. We're all used to seeing these machines at the Depot. They are usually found abandoned and clogging up the isles. You can't miss them when they are in use, since they beep incessantly and have that little flashing orange police light on top.

Well, now Home Depot has gone one step further. On this past Saturday, the picker was preceeded by a little man of undocumented citizenship status waving two small orange flags. His job, I assumed, was to add yet another element of customer safety to my HD experience. I watched him meticulously scout out every intersection and signal to the driver in some sort of crude semaphore whenever the coast was clear. The driver, who bore a strong resemblance to Larry The Cable Guy, seem unamused.

Looked to me like some flaming toilet seat (in the Navy, that's what the lawyer's collar insignia looks like) at corporate hq decided this would be a good idea - one that would cover the corporate six should some crazed picker driver run somebody down. What, you can't already see and hear these machines coming from across the warehouse? It didn't look real safe for the flag man who was forced to operate with his back to this fiendish machine. Why not let Rachel don her lil orange apron and work with the picker. I'm sure nobody would miss her sauntering up the isle. No flags necessary. SCHWINNNNG!!!

All this seemed like so much silly, lawyer-driven overkill...until I found an article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle during my search for images (the search that gave us the lovely Rachel above). According to the article, HD averaged 185 customer injuries per week back in 1998. Included in the article are vignettes about people getting killed by countertops and boxes of wood that have fallen 20 feet to crush women and children. Maybe they need a flag corps to man each isle and alert customers to falling inventory.

Today I was in McDonalds. The french fry sous chef was wearing what looked like a welder's mask and a rubber glove that telescoped all the way to her arm pit. She looked more like a bovine insemination specialist than one of Ronald's minions. I don't think I want to look into what caused this radical change in work attire.


The Acid Queen said...

If the gal was wearing a big heavy apron too, then she wasn't making fries. She was cleaning the fryer and filtering the hot shortening to remove fry debris (having done it myself, I can tell you that it actually is a very dangerous job and requires all that safety equipment).

CasonBlog said...

She didn't have an apron on and it looked like she was just making fries. During the image search, I did come across this pic that shows the inherent danger in that line of work: http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/safety/holidays/deep_fryers.shtml