One of the big ideas in retailing in the last 20 years has been the warehouse store. The idea is that, by combining stacked-high storage with aisle shopping, the store is more efficient and merchandise costs less.
A good business idea poses dangers to shoppers
Today there are hundreds of warehouse stores in our region: Walmart, Staples, Sam's Club, Lowe's, Costco, major grocery chain outlets, home centers and other "big box" stores.
There is only one problem with the warehouse retail idea: gravity. Warehouse stories have higher ceilings, to accommodate pallets of merchandise stacked above eye level. Most of the time these towers of merchandise are quite safe.
Occasionally, however, they come tumbling down. Because of the enormous weight of shelving and merchandise, people are killed or catastrophically injured - paralyzed, brain-damaged or crushed.