You can't expect a personal shopper at the Family Dollar Store

The SE Texas Record Nov. 15, 2011, 4:18am

Discount stores can be haphazard at times.

They're often not as clean or organized as mainstream or upscale stores. They may be dark or dingy, merchandise and empty boxes may be left in the aisles, and the employees may not be models of solicitude, but the prices can't be beat -- and that's why people shop there.

You get what you pay for. Discount store shoppers aren't paying for elegant surroundings, fancy displays and kiss up service.

Family Dollar Stores is a discount chain. It's not Neiman Marcus, nor does it claim to be.

If a more aesthetically pleasing shopping experience and a wide array of luxury items are what you desire, and you're willing to pay for the privilege, you may want to consider going someplace else.

On Sept. 11, 2009, Mary Jane Walters went discount shopping at the hoi polloi hodgepodge of a Family Dollar store on 11th Street in Beaumont -- where, she claims, a box of merchandise tumbled from a shelf and fell on her.

Almost a year and a half later, Walters filed suit against Family Dollar Stores of Texas in Jefferson County District Court, alleging that she twisted her ankle while dodging the tumbling merchandise.

Upon a motion of her attorney, the judge ordered Family Dollar to furnish a list of all "incidents and lawsuits relating to falling merchandise in the Family Dollar stores located in the county ... for the five years" preceding her alleged mishap.

This is one of the slick tactics plaintiffs attorneys use to make the cost of defending a lawsuit prohibitively expensive and to convince defendants to settle out of court.

Unfortunately for Walters, the Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals vacated the lower court's order.

The motion fell flat but the questionable lawsuit keeps tumbling along in a courtroom you--the taxpayer--has to pay for.

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