I am pig-bitin’ mad about the perilous toddler-driven kiddie carts dogging the aisles at supermarkets. Parents assume that if the store has these vehicles of destruction, their offspring are entitled to drive them at liberty and without penalty into my wheelchair, my cane, my crutches and my shins without even as much as an apology. Here is the message I sent today to Choices Market, the City of Vancouver, the B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities and even to our new Attorney General, the Hon. Wally Oppal, a former justice at our appellate court.
I invite your readers to use the proceeding message as a template to lodge their own complaints regarding dangerous kiddie carts, which pose a very real hazard at grocery stores, places none of us can avoid.
I have just returned home from a nightmarish visit to your store at W. 16th Avenue in Kitsilano, where a fleet of kiddie carts operated by toddlers well below the average shopper’s visibility level were liberally roaming the aisles, ramming shoppers, including this one, with no direction or correction either from parents or store employees. I’m still awestruck that following such unwelcome and unexpected contact with ankles and shins, rather than being offered an apology by one parent, I was actually insulted! I also note that there were no warning signs alerting me to the dangerous presence of kiddie carts, nor did there appear to be any employee monitoring their operation.
I suggest that you are in serious breach of the doctrine of occupiers liability set out in no fewer than 33 decisions at the B.C. Superior Courts website when I searched the terms, ‘ grocery and cart and injury’ on June 27. Here’s a sample from Moses v. Thrifty Foods http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/96/13/s96-1367.txt, in which the plaintiff was an 83-year-old woman:
Mrs. Moses founds her claim on s. 3 of the Occupiers
Liability Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 303, which sets out the duty of
care owed by an occupier of premises to a person on the
premises. Subsections (1) and (2) of s. 3 provide:
3. (1) An occupier of premises owes a duty to take
that care that in all the circumstances of the case
is reasonable to see that a person, and his property,
on the premises, and property on the premises of a
person, whether or not that person himself enters on
the premises, will be reasonably safe in using the
(2) The duty of care referred to in subsection
(1) applies in relation to the
(a) condition of the premises;
(b) activities on the premises; or
(c) conduct of third parties on the
And further at para. 6:
Particulars of the Defendant’s negligence are as
(a) failing to take any or any
reasonable care to ensure that
the Plaintiff would be reasonably
safe in using the premises;
(b) exposing the Plaintiff to risk of
damage or injury on entering the
premises from debris being left
on the floor, of which the
Defendant knew or ought to have
(c) failure to take any or any
adequate measures, whether by way
of examination, inspection, test
or otherwise to ensure that the
premises were in reasonably safe
conditions or to ensure that the
floor was clean of debris at all
times and not dangerous for the
Plaintiff to use;
(d) failure to give the Plaintiff any
or any adequate warning of the
dangerous conditions of the
The court in that case concluded as follows:
Mrs. Moses’ sole claim is for her pain and suffering.
There is no claim for lost wages or special damages. I assess
her non-pecuniary damages at $18,500. Mrs. Moses is entitled
to her costs.
Anyone injured today by your awful kiddie carts would also very likely raise as evidence the fact that similar grocery stores, such as Safeway and IGA, no longer provide those same carts but, in fact, replaced them fairly expediently with huge red plastic models that are slower and far more visible to the average shopper.
It is considerably difficult for seniors and persons with disabilities to get about the essential business of grocery shopping, and it has been an especially onerous burden to get accessibility on the legislative agenda and keep it there. Kiddie carts pose a very serious, easily foreseeable risk both to shoppers and employees, who might reasonably balk at the prospect of having to admonish negligent parents.
I don’t know why this would be so, but in the event that you are reluctant to solve the problem in the simplest way by removing the things altogether, I am sending this letter both to the City of Vancouver and to our new Attorney General, who has no doubt seen his share of personal injury actions that might have been prevented with just a small measure of foresight.