Showing posts with label ATTENTION SHOPPERS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ATTENTION SHOPPERS. Show all posts

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Have you ever been in a big store and heard that call coming over the PA system?
I imagine you have on occasion.  Most times it is a lost child or a car in trouble in the parking lot. Today we heard what you really don't want to hear.
A male voice calmly speaking over the speaker.."Ladies and Gentlemen..we have a situation that is out of our control and we are asking that you calmly leave your carts and come to the front of the store as soon as possible, we are evacuating the store."
Some people never really heard what he said, some people just ignored it completely. Some people had no urge to leave the store at all. Some were told by employees to leave everything and go. Some who were checking out their items were told to leave the purchases and walk out. Told they could come back later. As I walked to the front of the store..I grabbed my camera out of my purse. Odd pictures started coming one after the other. Carts sitting everywhere in the store full of items and no people. It was so strange. There was no panic really, but
when you hear something like that all sorts of things run through your mind. When 9-11 occurred it changed the way everyone thinks about things. A very busy store at the first Saturday of the month and the day before the Superbowl game. The store was jammed with people. The parking lot was filled quickly and many people just up and left completely. We started asking employees if we should walk away from the building farther. I wasted NO TIME, I went to my car which was parked quite a distance from the front of the building.

We saw police cars, but no fire trucks. I knew it was probably NOT a bomb threat. Employees streamed out of the building one after another as they finished "sweeping" the aisles for stragglers. One woman said she had been shopping almost 2 hours and had a large cart full. "I still want my stuff..I will wait." Some employees were busy on their cell phones asking others what was going on. Sis stayed behind and asked how long this whole thing was going to take. She was told "at least an hour". A Gas company truck arrived and then we knew.. some switch or alarm had went off and they had to worry about a gas leak. Several men went inside with police and they started their search.

There was quite a traffic jam in front of the store with people and cars all trying to leave at the same time. I was so happy to see everyone being calm and very courteous to one other. We were took only half an hour to check out the store. The weather co-operated and we had a nice clear day to stand outside and wait. When we walked back inside the store we immediately went to where we left our carts. Some employees were already rounding carts up and putting them to the front of the store.
I did not envy their long task of sorting all the items and re-stocking the shelves later on. One employee said that they do drill for things like this but it was the first time they had "really" had to do an evacuation. I hate to think of all the money the store lost in that thirty minute time frame. Thousands of dollars, I imagine, as many people left the premises and did not return. Our short visit to the store lasted way over two hours. It was educational in a way. When a person makes an announcement over the PA from now on, I will be listening even more careful than before. You just never know what will happen next.