Last month, a video on TikTok got millions of view. It’s at a Lowe’s store and an employee who looks like he’s in his 20s or early 30s is using a Ballymore lift to get patio furniture that is reportedly over 100 pounds off a top shelf that looks about 15-20 feet from the ground. After a while as he’s trying to lower the equipment closer to the ground holding a huge box containing the furniture. Then it looks like the lift stops working.
Lowe’s officials say this is when things went wrong and a shift as he was holding on to the box caused the machine to stop moving as he was about 10 feet in the air. The box becomes pressed up against his face, head and chest and his body is pressed against the rail. The worker whose name has been withheld because of fear it will lead to more harassments is referenced as Kelly in the TikTok video. It’s unknown if the person shooting the video is a customer or fellow worker nor if the worker in the video is named Kelly.
Another worker, an older man, looks to help but doesn’t as he moves out of the way. The younger worker begins to scream and call for help saying, “I’m begging you” at one point. The TikTok video has received millions of views with some people criticizing the worker for being “soft” or “weak.” Others are saying that a ballymore shouldn’t be used to get this equipment. Lowe’s has reported the worker has resigned from his job following the video and officials say what happened in the video is contrary to training.
Someone says, “That’s not a good idea,” but it’s unsure who said it. The person recording seems to offer encouragement and says the worker has “got it.” I’m not sure a Ballymore is the right thing myself. I’m thinking a forklift would’ve worked better but it’s on the top shelf so I’m not sure if the forklift would’ve raised that high. Somehow it was placed on the top shelf.
This raises a lot of questions that Lowe’s as well as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) should have pondered and need to address. Where was the better equipment to get the furniture off the top shelf? Was the worker even trained on the Ballymore? Did a manager approve this? Is the person recording a customer? If so, couldn’t he have waited for a safer piece of equipment to be used? And why the hell did he think posting it on social media would be funny?
The person recording the video if he is the customer sounds like a douchebag and strikes me as one of those impatient employees I used to deal with as a teenager. Customers want items 30 seconds ago and don’t like to wait. I used to have people hand me $100 bills for minor purchases and get mad that I had to go to the customer service desk to get change. Customers are just the worst when it comes to treating those in the service industry with a shred of dignity and respect.
This also highlights how dangerous jobs are for many workers who don’t get a lot of pay and don’t have a lot of training. Retail workers, along with food handlers and those in the food service industry are working themselves to death. People in their 20s and 30s, who work at Amazon warehouse are showing signs in their bodies normally seen in people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.
Of course, a lot of the commenters are joking around about this “younger generation” but it always makes you wonder just how dangerous things have always been in the workplace where people are only paid minimum wage. Some people are very sympathetic and caring for the young man. I feel a lawsuit may be filed which is why Lowe’s isn’t saying much but has approved for the man to resign. It also raises a questions of social media and when should it be okay to post footage of other people.
Not everyone can hold 100 pounds. The worker doesn’t look like he competes in strongman competitions. Most injuries are from simple things such as someone turning the wrong way while walking or picking up something. If the worker had fallen off the Ballymore, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been a laughing matter. Sometimes, when my back hurts too much, I’m in the worst pain and it doesn’t sound so pleasant. And I got this way from working some of these jobs at K-Mart and Wal-Mart in my youth where people expected me to destroy my body and health for minimum wage.
Just because someone is young doesn’t mean they should be used as a workhorse. Young bodies can suffer serious injuries just the same as older bodies. And if someone thinks something is a pulled muscle or sprained wrist or ankle, it could be something worse. I’ve been having serious back problems from my late teens and I used to just pop a Tylenol, Ibuprofen or some aspirin and just sit down and rest before it got better. But after I slipped on some icy steps and fell on my tailbone in 2011, it only got worse from there.
Sadly, a lot of people won’t see a problem. To them, they view people who work in retail as lower class. So, they should be force to do whatever the customer wants. That’s what people don’t understand about The Great Resignation (or The Great Restructuring as some call it.) A lot of people in their 20s, 30s and 40s have seen people older than them and even their peers hurt their bodies at work. And they’re denied worker’s compensation and have no insurance to help them.
The problem in this country is simple. We don’t want to pay people for the work they do. We never did. The minimum wage hasn’t been raised in over a decade but prices are at an all-time high. Eventually, people are going to get enough of it. If a customer really wants a product, they will wait for it. If they haven’t done so already, I hope TikTok takes the video down. Thankfully, more younger generations are getting on the sides of the employees. And we’ve all gotten frustration when a place is busy and there aren’t enough employees to help. But it’s no need to embarrass or insult an employee who could’ve seriously injured themselves.
And finally, all these “tough-as-nails” Boomers and Gen Xers who wanted to show off the “Big Dick Energy” by saying they’ve done it before, so others should. They ought to lead by example and show us how it’s done. If you think you can do a better job, then be our guest. Go work at Lowe’s or McDonald’s and then see how hard it can be at times.
What do you think? Please comment.