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Hikari
03-27-2013, 03:25 PM
Few days ago I had this little novel idea spark inside my head and once everything seemed to be so clear, I hit a brick wall. Please imagine the following scenario:

1. Person A goes to a shop, picks up item 1 and sees it has a faulty thing about it. person A being too lazy to notify the shop's owner, puts back item one and buys item 2.
2. Few hours later person B goes to the same shop, being ignorant about the fault in item 1, they buy it. The shop's owner has already checked all items before stacking so doesn't bother.
3. Person B goes home, uses item 1 and the fault causes sever injuries that eventually lead to person B's death.

Okay, what is totally confusing me is what could this item be? Can electronic devices cause enough electric shock to kill a person? I was thinking about a small power generator, but people usually try such products before paying for them and taking them home.
What kind of device could this be that can kill a person and pass the eyes of the cashier and the buyer?

Would appreciate any help. :)

SomethingOrOther
03-27-2013, 03:29 PM
A dildo.

Bufty
03-27-2013, 03:30 PM
This is exactly why ideas on their own are worthless.

Torgo
03-27-2013, 03:35 PM
[I]1. Person A goes to a shop, picks up item 1 and sees it has a faulty thing about it. person A being too lazy to notify the shop's owner, puts back item one and buys item 2.

Why do we need this bit?

Hikari
03-27-2013, 03:37 PM
Why do we need this bit?

It's important to tie someone's life with another. It goes to show how someone else's choice changed someone else's life.

JustgoWrite
03-27-2013, 03:40 PM
Why do we need this bit?

Perhaps person A is the MC and they have to deal with the guilt of the fact that they could have prevented person B's untimely demise by reporting the faulty product?

For some reason the first thing that popped into my brain was a circular saw where the blade would come off when the saw is turned on. It's not a good idea but the thought of somebody getting a saw blade lodged into their head...well...it's just the first thing I thought of :)

Mr Flibble
03-27-2013, 03:49 PM
Thing is about using something inherently dangerous in this scenario (like the saw) is that person A would come across as an incredible asshat if they saw something wrong with a lethal bit of kit but couldn't be arsed to mention it...same for a wiring flaw or similar -- everyone knows how dangerous that is, so why would you not mention it?

You need something that isn't inherently dangerous. Like.. a big statue with a crack in it. Probably just cosmetic, right? Only then there's an earthquake/someone bumps it and the crack expands, the statue destabilises unexpectedly and crushes person B. :D

gothicangel
03-27-2013, 03:49 PM
Few days ago I had this little novel idea spark inside my head and once everything seemed to be so clear, I hit a brick wall. Please imagine the following scenario:

1. Person A goes to a shop, picks up item 1 and sees it has a faulty thing about it. person A being too lazy to notify the shop's owner, puts back item one and buys item 2.
2. Few hours later person B goes to the same shop, being ignorant about the fault in item 1, they buy it. The shop's owner has already checked all items before stacking so doesn't bother.
3. Person B goes home, uses item 1 and the fault causes sever injuries that eventually lead to person B's death.

Okay, what is totally confusing me is what could this item be? Can electronic devices cause enough electric shock to kill a person? I was thinking about a small power generator, but people usually try such products before paying for them and taking them home.
What kind of device could this be that can kill a person and pass the eyes of the cashier and the buyer?

Would appreciate any help. :)

Okay, even if he were an electrician, he would need to dismantle it to know it was faulty.

Phaeal
03-27-2013, 03:55 PM
If the store checked the item before shelving, the store should have caught the defect and is liable.

Unless someone came along after shelving and either tampered with or accidentally broke the item. It might be a good idea for the MC to break the item himself, then hide the evidence of his mishap to avoid having to pay for the item.

Exposed or frayed electrical wiring could work. I'd look into that, maybe find a friendly electrical engineering forum for advice on specifics.

I_love_coffee
03-27-2013, 03:58 PM
you might want to post this question under "brainstorming sandbox" or "story research". you might get more help there.

fwiw, i too get stuck sometimes on little details like this. what i have done is just write something like , so blank happens to blank and then blank.... and keep writing, giving it a few days for ideas to percolate in my brain and ideas to spark....


oddly enough the only thing that came to mind for your item is like a loose head on an ax. it always scares me to swing stuff around and imagine that the top is going to come flying off....

Buffysquirrel
03-27-2013, 04:08 PM
I was watching a programme just the other day about fake goods. They can get into surprisingly reputable shops. So A picks up Bosch chainsaw A, realises it's too flimsy to be genuine and passes it up for Bosch chainsaw B. (for example) B isn't so wise to Bosch manufacture, buys the fake, and is injured fatally. The fake is good enough however to pass a superficial inspection.

Hikari
03-27-2013, 04:10 PM
you might want to post this question under "brainstorming sandbox" or "story research". you might get more help there.
Ah, I'm still learning my way around the forums. Will do that in the future, thanks.

I like the idea of person A breaking the item and placing it back to avoid paying for it. This also makes it reasonable why the shop had a faulty item on the shelves.
@Buffysquirrel: Fakes items sound like a good thing as well.
The problem with Person B is that she's a woman around the age of 50-60, so the items she could be buying are... sort of, not limited but depend on her interest. For one, she'd not be buying saws or axes.

How about kitchen appliances, can faulty wires in them cause enough electric shock to kill?

Buffysquirrel
03-27-2013, 04:35 PM
Any appliance that's plugged into the mains can give you a shock that'll kill you.

Kallithrix
03-27-2013, 04:42 PM
How about kitchen appliances, can faulty wires in them cause enough electric shock to kill?

Anything plugged into a mains socket can kill you - depending on length of exposure, and conductivity. For example, the current would conduct better, and the effects therefore be more severe, if her hands were wet.

Most homes have a fuse box to break the connection and therefore prevent prolonged exposure to the electric current, but older homes may not.

The shock may not be enough to kill immediately, but for a woman in her 60s it could certainly trigger secondary conditions, such as heart failure or stroke.

mirandashell
03-27-2013, 05:09 PM
An electric shock from a dodgy appliance can also throw you across a small kitchen. I've witnessed this happen to a relative of mine. So if you want to get creative with the death, there are all kinds of possibilities.

Lyra Jean
03-27-2013, 05:27 PM
I think you give the cashier too much credit. How are they supposed to know it's faulty?

It's on the store or the manufacturer if a person dies while using a faulty item unless it can be proved that an outside person is deliberately manipulating the items in order to hurt random people.

Like in the 70s or early 80s a woman put some sort of poison into her husband's aspirin bottle in order to kill him. They looked just like aspirin. He suffered from migraines so he took aspirin all the time. In order to make it look like an accident or the fault of the manufacturer she went to various drugstores in town and mixed in some of the poison into random bottles of the same aspirin her husband uses. She ended up killing 3 other people just to cover up the murder of her own husband.

That's why we have safety/tamper evident seals on bottles of medication now.

cbenoi1
03-27-2013, 05:40 PM
Anything electrical (imports as well as locally manufactured goods) has gone through certification testing which includes cycles of four-story-high drops followed by testing for shock hazards and sharp edges. It's mandatory in Canada (CSA) and I suspect the US is even more zealous in this matter.


> If the store checked the item before shelving, the store
> should have caught the defect and is liable.

Err ... no. The extend of a retail store's liability to consumers is in replacing a defective product with a new one (unless the retail store can be found guilty gross negligence in shelving the product).


If this is the end effect you seek (the legal hassle), then have person A displace a large and heavy product on a shelf in a way that it is about to fall. Have person B be at the right spot in the aisle and nudge the shelves just so that the big box falls over and kills B. That would put the retail store in a bad position. A store with tall shelves that can sustain heavy merchandise is even better (ex: Home Hardware, Comp USA, etc). There is nothing like trying to find the right rubber washer size for a hot faucet when an industrial air conditioning unit falls on your head...


-cb

I_love_coffee
03-27-2013, 06:08 PM
maybe person a has ocd or is a news junkie and they go to the shop, see a toaster, remember it was on a "product recall list, for faulty wiring or whatever" doesnt buy it, buys the toaster next to it, and then does not tell the store clerk that they are carrying a recalled item ..... then person b comes in and buys it and dies of electric shock . person a feels guilty etc....

Buffysquirrel
03-27-2013, 06:30 PM
Most homes have a fuse box to break the connection and therefore prevent prolonged exposure to the electric current, but older homes may not.

Fuse boxes protect the appliance from overloading. Circuit breakers are better at protecting the poor sap using the appliance....

Susan Littlefield
03-27-2013, 07:06 PM
It's a blow dryer with a funny looking on switch, which is why Person A did not buy it. No big deal, Person A is into perfection.

Person B doesn't give a hoots putout about perfection and buys it. Person B needs to dry his (or her) hair after a shower, little did he (or her) know is that the faulty switch would send an electrical current right through them.....

The store is at fault.

nkkingston
03-27-2013, 07:53 PM
I'm thinking person A is the sort of person who unpacks boxes to see what's in them, then puts them back on the shelf, and person B is the sort of customer who doesn't mind if a box is a little foxed. Person A is looking at kettles, gets one out, has a fiddle, hears something snap or something, packs it back up and puts it on the shelf and walks away, twiddling thumbs. Person B takes kettle, maybe has a quick glance in the box since it's open (just to make sure it's actually in there and not stolen), and takes it up to the counter. No, no, mate, I don't mind, I work in a shop and this happens to us all the time. Come cup of tea time, kettle leaks all over its base, massive electric shock, the end.

cbenoi1
03-27-2013, 08:03 PM
The store is at fault.
Retail stores are NOT liable for defective products beyond replacement or refund.


-cb

Hikari
03-27-2013, 08:32 PM
These are very great ideas and they are helping me brainstorm this whole thing.
It doesn't really matter what the store would be liable for, as this would not be the main issue of the story. Person A would never find out that person B died because he neglected reporting a faulty item to the cashier. The main point is that person A had a chance to indirectly save a person and didn't, he wouldn't know but the reader would. Of course the whole thing will come back to bite him in the nick later.

I'm thinking more of the kettle or the hairdryer, these two seem more likely to apply to her needs. What I am not sure of yet is whether the store would have to do something about it, I mean, would they be obliged to pay something for the victim's family?

Edit: I did some research and it seems that if the store can give evidence of who supplied the product then the manufacturer would be the one liable to offer compensation. However to take such measures the victim's family will have to hire a solicitor and these might be expensive for person b's family. Is this research correct?

cbenoi1
03-27-2013, 08:47 PM
What I am not sure of yet is whether the store would have to do something about it, I mean, would they be obliged to pay something for the victim's family?

*breaks into a long sob*

-cb

Al Stevens
03-27-2013, 08:54 PM
Estate sale: Dr. Kevorkian suicide machine. Only used once.

benbradley
03-27-2013, 08:57 PM
Anything electrical (imports as well as locally manufactured goods) has gone through certification testing which includes cycles of four-story-high drops followed by testing for shock hazards and sharp edges. It's mandatory in Canada (CSA) and I suspect the US is even more zealous in this matter.
Not sure of the laws in the US but UL is a private entity that does safety certification. Few if any US retailers will knowningly sell something without UL certification, but I've heard of products with fake UL stickers on them, and they would definitely be more dangerous.

Fuse boxes protect the appliance from overloading. Circuit breakers are better at protecting the poor sap using the appliance....
Only GFI (Ground Fault Interrupt) outlets and circuit breakers protect from electric shock. These have the "Test" and "Reset" buttons on them. Standard fuses and circuit breakers only protect from shorts that might otherwise cause a fire.

Hikari
03-27-2013, 08:57 PM
*breaks into a long sob*

-cb

Thanks for emphasizing my ignorance. -.-
I did edit my previous post with research results.

cbenoi1
03-27-2013, 09:41 PM
Thanks for emphasizing my ignorance. -.-
I did edit my previous post with research results.
I was languishing about my inability to properly communicate.

-cb

Hikari
03-27-2013, 11:06 PM
I was languishing about my inability to properly communicate.

-cb

I'm confused. :/

BDSEmpire
03-28-2013, 06:14 AM
Grandma, noooo!!!!

http://users.moscow.com/groovydave/grandma.jpg

Death by mortification.

slhuang
03-28-2013, 07:06 AM
My first thought was equipment for some inherently dangerous activity (like rock climbing gear, SCUBA gear, fireworks) that an experienced aficionado might notice a problem with that a novice wouldn't.

I'm not sure this fits with what you want, reading some of your later posts, but I thought I'd drop the suggestion regardless. :)

Lyra Jean
03-28-2013, 04:42 PM
maybe person a has ocd or is a news junkie and they go to the shop, see a toaster, remember it was on a "product recall list, for faulty wiring or whatever" doesnt buy it, buys the toaster next to it, and then does not tell the store clerk that they are carrying a recalled item ..... then person b comes in and buys it and dies of electric shock . person a feels guilty etc....

I know at Walmart we get recall notices all the time. So even if it is not immediately pulled from the shelves a cashier cannot ring the item up. It will say sell not allowed. I assume similar thing happens with other large stores. So unless this is a small independent mom and pop place I don't see this happening.

Hikari
03-29-2013, 11:29 AM
Thanks everyone, your suggestions made it more clear what I need to do to make this work. I'm still outlining so hopefully I'll start writing soon. :D

debirlfan
04-01-2013, 04:07 AM
Coming late to this party.... How about this - customer A actually buys some sort of electrical appliance and takes it home. Unpacks it and prepares to use it, and accidentally drops it in the sink/splashes with water/plugs it into the wrong type of outlet, etc. Sparks fly and circuit breaker trips.

Customer cleans item off and carefully packs it back into original packaging and takes it back to store. Rather than fessing up to what happened, customer claims he bought the wrong item and simply returns it - stock boy looks at item, it appears ok and he returns it to shelf.

Customer B comes along, buys item and takes it home. ZAP! If you want "A" to eventually find out about this, you need to make it dramatic - perhaps the house burns down, or the person who attempts to rescue her also is electrocuted - in any event, something that will lead to an investigation of what started the fire/incident and will get the attention of the press.

Lyra Jean
04-01-2013, 06:08 AM
That would depend on the item. Some items once they've been opened won't/can't be resold no matter the reason for the return. Like PCs.

And if he plugs it in and sparks fly out wouldn't that burn something in the machine rendering it inoperable by customer B. Most likely they would plug it in and nothing would happen.

I know if a customer is evasive as to the reason they are returning the item 9 times out of 10 it will be sent back to the manufacturer anyway. Why take the chance of trying to sell a possibly broken item and possibly losing a customer when I can just send it back to the manufacturer and get my money back.