August 15, 2005

Power Outage Makes WM a Short-Term Prison

Let's put this one in the lawsuits category, until further notice.

On Ask Metafilter, Lady Bonita tells us of not being permitted to leave Wal-Mart for 20 minutes after a power outage at 10PM at her local Wal-Mart Supercenter:

We were escorted (herded?) with flashlights to the front of the building and told we couldn't leave until power was restored . Babies and kids (including mine) were scared and crying and there was a lot of general confusion. Reason we weren't allowed to leave? They wanted to make sure we weren't stealing anything. Eventually, after 20 minutes or so, when it was obvious the power wasn't going to quickly be restored, they let us leave. After checking us over with flashlights.

What I want to know is if they had any right to do this? Were we being held hostage, kidnapped, falsely imprisioned? And how the hell could I have gotten out of there if they had insisted we stay any longer?

I'm no criminal lawyer, and have no competency to discuss the right and wrong of the conduct of Wal-Mart associates. But I think if they had let people leave, and something had happened to somebody, they would be subject to severe civil penalty.

(Thanks to this commenter for kindly linking to ALP).

Posted by Kevin on August, 15 2005 at 10:34 PM