Opinion: California ruling a victory for big-box stores -- and capitalism

The California Supreme Court has ruled that big-box stores in the state don’t have to keep automated external defibrillators.Maura Dolan writes: “The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the family of Mary Ann Verdugo, 49, who suffered a fatal heart attack in 2008 while shopping at a Target store in Pico Rivera. Paramedics were summoned, but by the time they reached Verdugo, she could not be ‘revived.’

“Verdugo’s family argued that Target should have had a defibrillator, an electronic device that gives an electrical shock to the heart. According to the American Heart Assn., a victim’s chance of survival drops by 7% to 10% for each minute that passes without defibrillation.”

This is, of course, excellent news for Target and other big-box stores, for capitalism and the American way (which is capitalism). With assets of more than $48 billion, there is no way that the impoverished chain could afford to spend a whopping $3 million (1,916 stores @ $1,600 each) just to save a few of the 600,000 Americans who die each year of heart attacks.

It might be argued that some of those heart attack victims succumbed to coronary disease associated with buying the kind of fatty foods sold at places like Target. But not by me! As a God-fearing American, and thus someone who places corporate profitability above all other concerns, I have nothing but contempt for the inconsiderate louts who first clog their arteries, and then clog the aisles at places like Costco with their obese selves, and then have the gall to collapse and croak on the floor. Sometimes this happens right in the middle of a major savings event! With child shoppers present!


Suing a large store merely because it doesn’t keep a solid-gold luxury defibrillator around is unconscionable — especially when some, like Costco, do offer them online! And what about the disgusting bodily fluids released by the corpses of heart attack “victims”? Who do they think has to clean them up? Big-box store employees! Who have to be paid!

So this ruling is clearly a victory for the forces of good. Yay, good. Go, good, go!

For this week’s cartoon, I note that some big-box stores bend over backward to accommodate their dying, non-defibbed customers. For example, Costco also carries coffins, urns and everything you need for your final shopping spree.

So quit complaining! All it can do is give you a heart attack.

Follow Ted Rall on Twitter @tedrall