(Keep an eye on the right side of the video, around the 8-second mark)
UPDATE 9/27: Video Coverage From Good Day NY & Eyewitness News
UPDATE 9/26: Ratgate continues… A reader just sent in a new video shot at the same store — this time it’s of a baby rat ** IN ** the store’s olive bar
UPDATE: 4:30 pm: Fairway has responded to this post in the comments section — you can read it in its entirety below (here’s a link directly to their response).
In brief, they call the incident “unconscionable” and have brought it “not only to the attention of the Store Manager and our Quality Control team, but also to the attention of senior management.” They also report they’re “already in the process of conducting a thorough investigation and are taking immediate steps to remedy the problem.”
To their credit, they also appear to be responding by Twitter to people who included @FairwayMarket on tweets about this today.
If you have thoughts or comments on the situation, you can contact Fairway directly by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy to hear from them — seems like a good first step.
UPDATE 2:10 pm: Comments have been trickling over the past couple of hours, both on this page and via the MUW Facebook page and Twitter.
Most include some variation of “that’s disgusting,” “I’ll never shop there again!” or “they should be closed by the health department!”
All are valid opinions, but I liked the one below by MUW reader and frequent contributor @PeteLabrozzi. While I definitely don’t think Fairway should be given a free pass on this, it more or less reflects my thoughts on the matter as well. I think most people would be horrified if they knew just how omnipresent rats are in NYC businesses. From Pete:
Part of me thinks “gross”, the other part of me thinks how monumental a task it must be to try keeping them out. Fairway overall is one of the nicest, cleanest grocery stores I’ve come across in the city, and I’m sure they are constantly battling vermin. I’ll still be shopping there.
I suspect that viewpoint may be in the minority (although there have been a few others along the same lines), but I think it’s a mostly rational perspective on an otherwise entirely off-putting incident. That said, I think Fairway clearly needs to step up their efforts here.
Also, just FYI since someone asked me to clarify — this happened at the Fairway at 2127 Broadway (at 74th), not the one near 125th Street.
I’m not at all bothered by rats and begrudgingly accept them as a part of NYC life, but even I thought this was a bit much:
While shopping at the Upper West Side Fairway around 12:40 am the other night, I spotted a group of rats scurrying back and forth across aisle #2 — sometimes with food in their mouth.
After seeing one rat streak across the aisle, I figured it was a one-time, freak occurrence.
It was not.
A few moments later, it happened again.
I spent the next 20 minutes watching in wonderment as at least two rats (although I’m pretty sure there were three) darted back and forth across the aisle.
After a while, I realized they were going in between the shelving units that divide aisles #2 and #3 and snagging peanuts located at the bottom of aisle #3. It’s a little hard to tell, but if you look closely at the video above, you can see the rat has a peanut in its mouth (easier to see if you watch it in “full screen” mode). You can also kind of make out a peanut in this slightly blurry photo.
God only knows what else they were doing back there…
While I’m far from an expert on vermin behavior, it looked to me as if this wasn’t a new experience for these rats. They appeared to have the process down pat and did not seem to be intimidated by people — after I had been there for about 10 minutes, one of the rats scampered within a few feet of me for a closer look. Apparently dismayed that I didn’t have any peanuts, it went right back to “shopping” after spending a good 5 – 10 seconds out in the open.
I wasn’t able to snap a photo in time, but at one point a rat perched itself on the pile of onions pictured below and appeared to be surveying the lay of the land.
While the hour was late and the store was obviously not crowded, I found it surprising that I was apparently the only person to witness the rat shenanigans. They probably crossed the aisle close to a dozen times while I was standing there.
It appears that Fairway is aware of the problem (at least to some degree), as I spotted a mouse trap just a few feet from where the action was happening (it looks to be in the “sprung” position).
Given that the rats in question were at least twice the size of the trap, I was reminded of the scene in Jaws where Chief Brody tells Quint “you’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
I can’t be the only person to have ever seen this — anyone else have a similar experience?
Would this stop you from shopping at Fairway? Does it cross the line between “Hey, it’s New York — shit happens…” and “Dude — seriously?!”
Sound off in the comments.
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