60 shades of gray condition loom in every Retail establishment

60 Shades of Gray Conditions loom in every Retail establishment

I am often called upon to provide an opinion as to the cause and effect of conditions at a retailer, which were believed to have contributed to a significant liability case. As a Store Designer and Display Designer for over thirty-five years there is a lot more to a retail accident than meets the average eye.

Often there are several contributing factors, which led to an accident in a store some of which are obvious. Many times it is the less obvious factors that are the main culprits and remain undetected until the Retail Expert reviews the case.

1- Lighting- Was the area in which the accident occurred properly lit. That includes allowing for the eye to adjust when entering into an artificial lighted area from a bright sun shining parking lot
2- Floor condition, level, slope, texture of surface, maintenance of surface, coefficient of friction factors.
3- Aisle location and measurement.
4- Color and contrast of circulation area verses display area
5- Definition of aisle boundaries
6- Display system type
7- Display attachment details
8- Positive display connections verses removable
9- Ergonomic design of display
10- Method of product secured and displayed
11- Ease to review product
12- Method to replace product to insure proper placement
13- Angles imposed to review product and removal
14- Safety of display construction
15- Template for Store staff to refill product presentation
16- Plan-o-gram instructions for product placement
17- Shelf capacity by volume and support
18- Customer interaction with product visually and review process
19- Aisle size and direction
20- Permanent display expectation level,
21- Promotional display expectation level
22- Signage addressing policy, instructions, warnings, and information
23- Rules for parking lot interaction including traveling, shopping cart, traffic and alerts
24- Specific events or conditions leading up to the event
25- Additional party interaction that impacted the accident
26- Determining the liability as to retailer, customer, or accident related items such as displays, shopping carts, product sold.
27- Reaction by store at time of accident to document the condition, event and injury status.
28- Following company policy in documenting accident, retaining evidence involved in accident and proper video or still photos of the event before, during and after.
29- Requirements for customer to review product and experience product performance.
30- Review immediate area surrounding the accident to see if conditions created elsewhere had an impact on the accident scene
31- Distance of reach to product
32- Distance of angle to product
33- Ample space of product when removed to review and handle item
34- Product on display dynamics such as weight, center of gravity, size and surface texture
35- Stacking aspect to product if levels of product were placed on display off one surface
35- Effect of display, materials, other elements when left in position of extended periods of time.
36. Method of replacing defective display or materials
37- Was the initial manufacturers instructions followed when installing the displays
38- Did the retailer follow the manufactures recommended maintenance schedule
39- Store staff’s conformance to company policy relating to the factors surrounding the accident type,

40 through 60 will be specific to the case itself and require years of experience working with retailers, designing for retailers and vendors to unearth. One thing
is for certain, The whole is equal to the sum of the parts and there are at least 60 parts of gray to every case.

Jerry Birnbach F.I.S.P., Assoc A.I.A.

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