RE: moral dilemma

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;>
Date: 01/24/04-07:07:17 PM Z
Message-id: <>

On Sat, 24 Jan 2004, Bill Finger wrote:

> I don't know which is the bigger fantasy - the photo op scenerio or the idea
> that the average American gets enough money to buy camera equipment from the
> bush give away to his rich buddies. Maybe you could buy a roll of film at
> Walmart. But I guess you can dream. I say take the picture; photo ops are
> what this president is all about. Perhaps he could save himself with a
> plastic turkey.

Unh unh..., even if we had a Walmart in NYC (I don't think I've been in
one), speaking of moral dilemmas, I'd have trouble shopping there. They
mistreat and exploit their employees brutally, as has been well documented
in the press lately -- and as I know from a private account. AND folks,
this has indeed something to do with alternative photography, so if you
own Walmart stock -- too bad.

This was probably about 6 years ago, or maybe a bit longer, because my
daughter had been a reporter in LA and might have been some use, but she'd
left a while previously.

I got a call from a rep at Photo Warehouse. He knew that I'd used the
direct reversal film, because I'd bought a bunch of it (for students and
self) and probably talked to them about it.

He had a customer, he said, who was trying to use it, but failing, could
only get a very faint image, and he wondered if I could advise. My
thought was, good grief, it was a couple of years already, maybe I
couldn't remember. I tried to explain as much as possible, but I think he
wasn't a photographer. In any event, he finally asked could he have the
customer call me. I said sure, I'd try.

So the customer called and one of the most hair raising stories I've heard
ensued, which I will try to condense here, though if you don't like the
tale so far, why not delete now? It seems the woman had been a computer
programmer or software developer, something along those lines, until the
boom in silicon valley bust and she was unemployed. She took an interim
job at Walmart -- and there had an accident that nearly killed her. It
seems employees were sent into the warehouse, without any training or
special safety measures, taking down merchandise from 20 foot ladders. She
was on the ladder when something swung out from somewhere and knocked her
down and out.

We've read about injured Walmart employees locked in the warehouse. This
was extreme brain damage, though she has no memory of how long she lay
there. She was ultimately hospitalized, and after a period of time (which
I forget) in a coma, returned to consciousness but not intelligence, able
to speak and eat on her own, but mentally enfeebled.

Walmart, however, stonewalled on workmen's compensation, and excuse the
expression, doctored the records so that they couldn't be sued. Since she
herself was incapable of managing her case, and there were no funds for
lawyers, and it seems almost none of the doctors in the system would stick
out his/her neck to challenge them, the settlement offered wasn't enough
to pay for her immediate care, and she was more or less consigned to
custodial care on welfare for life.

The conventional wisdom is that what in the brain hasn't come back in two
years, won't come back, but this woman continued recovering and after FOUR
years felt capable, at last, of managing her own case. But now she found
herself stymied at all points, not just by laws that said the period for
suing was past, but by a hospital establishment apparently in cahoots with
a corrupt system, with that hospital essentially run by workmen's

Among the other points of deception, and the one I was called about, they
were presenting as "evidence" brain scans which they said showed no brain
damage, but which the woman said she could see by looking at the film had
sections that had simply been put out of focus.

Somehow, the details of which got lost in this conversation of about two
hours, she had managed through a sympathetic worker access to a record
that showed the damage, and needed to copy it for evidence. She was not a
photographer, but had learned to use simple equipment and this reversal
film was recommended. Although the case had been timed out in the courts,
she had found a sympathetic judge, appalled by the history, who she
thought might be able & willing to re-open. She also understood that
publicity was important, and hoped to find some of that, though I don't
know if she did. (See results of NY Times reportage of several cases in
recent news.)

I don't know if my suggestion helped solve the immediate problem, though I
like to think maybe of some use... My experience with that film was that
exposure is EXTREMELY long, we sometimes exposed for 15 minutes. I
remember one student claiming she went out for coffee and came back to a
perfect negative. It did make very beautiful full tone reproductions. I
also at that time remembered the developer we used.

I never heard more about the case. I kept the woman's phone number for
several years, but.... but, but immediate east-coast hassles take more
energy than exists. I think the story would make a good movie, tho it may
NOT have had the "happy ending" of Erin Brokovitch. In any event, for me
shopping at Walmart is not really a moral dilemma.

Certainly not as long as I have other options. I might have thought it was
a local aberration, but recent reports show it's general practice.

Received on Sat Jan 24 19:07:29 2004

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