No lie about that great coverage

My comfortable, sturdy work shoes.

My comfortable, sturdy work shoes.

Welcome to the club, my colleagues said.

That did not make me feel better.

I spilled paint at the store.

Setting up the scene:

My boss handed a work sheet to all in the paint department. One of my assignments was to down stock and fill in two bays in the major paint aisle. So I was reaching with a hoe to corral a quart can way in the back, to bring it closer to customers’ reach. Another would go behind instead. Rotating stock. And the little sucker slid off the side of the end shelf, from about four feet up.

Somehow it landed bottom side down. But the force popped the top. And out flew, say, a quarter of the quart. To the floor. To surrounding beams. To my closest shoe and jeans leg.

Our policy is:

Worker who goofs cleans up. So I grabbed the spill kit, poured out the absorbing powder, knelt, swept, swept, swept, dust-panned, shop-vac’ed. Used wet rags.

Some people walked gingerly around me, as if I were jinxed. Others walked straight to me and asked their questions. I got up and mixed their paint.

The floor and store look OK.

Me, not so much.

The dominant cleaning hand.

The dominant cleaning hand.

Even after repeated washing, a night of bowling, and more washing, my right hand was very dotted the next morning. Yes, with latex paint.

We’ll see what will happen after the jeans go through the washer, and my shoe gets some swabbing from an old, wet towel.

What’s the worst thing you’ve spilled? What did you do to handle the spill? What’s the worst spill you’ve seen, and how did people react?

27 thoughts on “No lie about that great coverage

  1. oops. At least that paint can didn’t fall on your head – I once had a soup can fall off a grocery shelf onto my head, and I saw stars.

    As for accidents, when we moved into our house 20 years ago, I replaced the orange shag carpet in my kids’ room to a beautiful ruby plush. Within the first month, my middle daughter managed to drop an entire bottle of India Ink onto that carpet. I got most of the stain out, but not all of it. To this day, every time I look at that darker area, all I can think of is the look on that poor girl’s face – she had been the one to pick that carpet out (the privilege of being the older child in that room), and she knew how hard it was for me to pay for it.


    • That’s a terrible stain on your daughter’s psyche, CM. Ouch!

      And your soup can story scares me, working in the paint department and all, with customers walking under all those stacks in the store. Knock on wood.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Looking good Mark! i like those shoes with white spots- where can I buy them? Ha! Messes, Wow, I could write a book on that one. I’ve created them, had them happen accidentally and seen some dandies. I’ll leave out the sad ones – I was safety director for a tanker company and every mess was mine – or so sayeth the manager. One memorable – funny after the fact – crash was over at the OC Transpo (our city bus company) yard where we delivered their diesel. The driver had just finished unloading and was doing paperwork when a young bus jockey moving a bus for repair roared around the corner looking in the opposite direction. He hit the rear of the tanker perfectly square and drove about 3 feet into the tank. The bus broke right in two behind the entry door. His response as to what happened : “I didn’t see the truck” (which was 80 feet long, covered with lights, sitting under huge pole lights, circled by safety cones and parked perfectly in a bright orange rectangle marked on the ground and labeled: Unloading Tankers Only. Ah well.

    When I managed in a warehouse we had a couple of cowboys diving forklifts that worked in other departments. I was constantly after their supervisors to do something about their careless driving because they would come onto my dock to drop or pickup skids and I considered them dangerous. The other managers would not discipline these guys because they got a lot of work done racing around the warehouse. I warned them there would be a bad accident someday and heaven help us if anyone was hurt. We had 30 foot racking with 5 vertical 6′ skid bins in each rack and about 10,000 skid storage positions in the warehouse – and we were always looking for space. The warehouse boss decided that he would install more bin locations over the entrance to each aisle. This was called tunnel storage (the forklifts drove below the bins like it was a tunnel) and gained him about 120 skid spaces (about around 6 trailer loads). And so it came to be that we had tunnel storage. In the food department, the supervisor decided to store skids of honey in glass jars over the tunnels. Ha! It wouldn’t have been my choice – remember, we had 30 foot racking and that meant that every forklift had an extendable mast to reach the upper levels. Sure enough, it was only days before one of the cowboy forklift drivers came racing down an aisle putting his lift boom down as he went- against policy which said that forks had to be set at ankle height before the machine was moved. He hit the lower skid in the tunnel with the mast and he was going so fast that all three skids stored above came tumbling down. Fortunately the forklift had steel roll bars over the driver’s head because when the skids hit the roof of the forklift, the glass bottles inside all broke releasing about 12,000 pounds of liquid honey all over the driver. There was not one square inch of him that wasn’t covered in honey – even his shorts- which he stripped down to. It took three guys 30 minutes to dig him out of the cases and glass and honey. No one was hurt and the driver lost his job – and it took hours to clean up with a big crew and machines.

    Anyway, this is getting a bit long – suffice it to say that your accident was little and you cleaned it up – we used to have little stuff like that happen regularly- in a warehouse environment that is normal Mark. Think about it this way – you handle hundreds, if not thousands of cans of paint daily and even as a novice you have dropped only one can in what – a few weeks? Warehouses call it shrinkage – a reduction in inventory value – and a good warehouse experiences about 1-2% shrinkage. Where I worked we got it down to about .1% but that was because of the huge volumes we handled – a billion dollars through one warehouse.- and was very low.


    • Yeah, Paul, I knew you’d have some honey of a story to tell about warehouse-type accidents, and you certainly came through with a couple! Not seeing the truck is preposterous, isn’t it? What an excuse! And that forklift driver is a perfect example of what happens when overconfident people don’t respect what could happen when any little thing goes wrong. Thinking about that list is a shirnkage problem in its ownself. Just saying.


    • Yes, as I was lifting the five-gallon buckets and four-gallon boxes off the power lift machine and onto the top shelf just today, Gatorette, I was saying, don’t drop it, don’t drop it, don’t drop it. That would be a major spill. Knock on wood.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Geeze Mark if you keep that up you may apply for workman’s compensation and sit home again and work-on the computer! Yay-get off your feet. No early store hours that type of thing…Yay I am all for that-but don’t really hurt yourself too bad. LOL Gatorette


  3. I’m a mom. That means I’m a walking kleenex, towel, and trash bin. Spillage of everything from dinner to er…bodily fluids…is part of the job description.


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