Ever since the world was captivated by colorful kiddie shoes with the crocodile insignia, horror stories about traumatized children and mangled feet have not been far behind.
Google search alone has yielded 425,000 results for Crocs + escalator + injury. Ranking first is the lawsuit filed by the parents of a 3-year old girl against the company for $7 Million for an accident which happened at the JFK airport in November 2007.
I would have dismissed these news, or they would not have come into my orbit, except that it happened to C.
9:50 p.m. We were going up the escalator of one popular mall in Quezon City when C suddenly felt her Crocs being pulled by the escalator grills. She tried to pull it but it would not budge. Looking up, she saw that she was nearing the top, the end of the escalator. She had the sense to pull out her feet and hop to safety. Horrified, she saw her Crocs go deeper into the grills, which kept going and going and going.
We called a security guard who tried to pull the Crocs from the grinding machine, to no avail. I went straight to Crocs, knocked at their closed doors (as it was almost closing time), and told them they have to assist me, and showed them the scene of the mishap. Before their very eyes, the security reversed the escalator and out came the mangled shoe. They can only mutter in a tone that sounded like a dismissal that their shoes already has a “warning” but that okay, they will see if they can replace it. The security guard, seeing some sort of a favorable outcome, walked away, until I hailed him and requested him for an incident report. He said, half mockingly, “What for? They will replace it, right?” I said I was not sure, got his name and his office number.
I was right. The next day, the people from Crocs told me they need to evaluate the situation. I need to give them the shoes (the corpus delicti!) and then they will evaluate if they will indeed assist me. I told them sorry, but it was not acceptable. After a series of phone calls to and from, I got an offer for new shoes in exchange for the mangled one, provided I could get an incident report from the mall security and if I can find my receipt.
Lesson number one: It’s true. Crocs + escalator = danger, especially to children. I made the mistake of dismissing the warnings. There is something about the material of Crocs that makes it fodder for the grills. Believe it, and do not, I repeat, do not let your kids wear them when you know you are going somewhere where there is an escalator.
Lesson number two: Know your rights. You have every right to ask for an incident or police report. No matter how small the incident is, or how big the bother, it is always preferable that you get a witness account or at least a summary from a presumably neutral person. You do not know what the other party would ask, or would claim. Better err on the side of over-cautiousness, than getting caught without any documents or without anyone to back you up.
Lesson number three: Knock. Although the PR prowess of our store clerks here leave much to be desired, there is one up there in the company who could smell a potential lawsuit and give you, at the very least, the equivalent of what you have lost. Sometimes, really, the thin line between a million dollar lawsuit and an amicable settlement is good PR.
Lesson number four: Advocate. I told Crocs and the mall security that they need to post signs to warn mall goers about the potential danger of wearing Crocs on escalators, which other countries already have. Either that or the escalators should have a stop mechanism when things get caught in its grills. Or Crocs should stop manufacturing shoes for children.
I have yet to see changes or improvements. In the meantime, C refuses to wear her new Crocs. I understand. I am not sure I want her to wear it.
Know your rights. Protect yourself. File an action if you must.
Article by Issa. Art and pictures by D.
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