A video posted to Twitter on Tuesday showed a man walking out of a Seattle grocery store with cases of beer and not paying for them while a staff member lamented the store's inability to do anything.
The video was taken at the University Village QFC location, a high end shopping center located near the University of Washington in Seattle.
The man in the video, in ragged clothing with his pants below his waste showing his undergarments, is pushing a shopping cart with five cases of Corona. The man appears to be hunching over the cart in an effort not to be seen even though the person taking the video is narrating his every move.
"1, 2, 3… so like a hundred bucks just going to walk out the door."
The male voice of the videographer indicated he was a staffer at the store after he said, “We can't do anything about it, which is ludicrous.”
The videographer continued as the man pushing the cart made for the front exit of the store, "Well, he's going to try to walk out the door. Yeah. For some reason, this company doesn't care. And this guy doesn't care. He doesn't even have the dignity to hit other stores. He just comes back, hits us."
The area has been plagued by rampant theft from residents of nearby homeless encampments as well as others. With 911 response times in Seattle clocking in at over 60 minutes as a result of mass resignations following efforts by the Seattle City Council to defund the police, many retailers do not even bother calling the authorities.
"Look at this guy, look at him. Walking out, walking out. Yeah, there he goes. There he goes."
At the time many neighbors said that the stores were also plagued by shoplifters. According to KOMO News, "Both stores operated at a loss and the grocery chain says it can't afford to operate them with the new city-mandated higher wage in place."
The company told the outlet, "Unfortunately, Seattle City Council didn’t consider that grocery stores – even in a pandemic – operate on razor-thin profit margins in a very competitive landscape," the company said in a prepared statement. "When you factor in the increased costs of operating during COVID-19, coupled with consistent financial losses at these two locations, and this new extra pay mandate, it becomes impossible to operate a financially sustainable business."
According to KOMO, "QFC’s average hourly wage in Seattle is about $20 an hour and total compensation is over $25 an hour, including health care and pension benefits, the company says."
Kroger which owns the chain has also closed multiple stores in California after similar laws were passed.
Other grocery stores in Seattle, pharmacies and other retailers have closed recently citing rising crime in the city. Last week, a Starbucks near a massive homeless encampment in Ballard Commons announced the closure of the location. Employees told customers that the closure was due to the inability to keep their staff members safe.
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