The 40,000-square-foot "epic" Hollister in Soho is currently undergoing a similarly epic extermination to eradicate the reportedly epic bedbug infestation that forced the store to close yesterday. A sign on the store says it is closed for "maintenance," but a Hollister spokesperson confirmed that bedbugs were running amok. In a place where models are hired to stand around practically naked, the bites can't be easy to hide if the store is to maintain the integrity of its dress code. But the problem had gotten so bad that one employee found a bedbug and bedbug shell hanging off her clothes, according to a fellow employee who wrote to Gothamist about the problem. According to this person, an employee and manager first reported the bedbugs three weeks ago, but Hollister ignored the problem:
On Tuesday the 29th, an employee found that she had been bitten, and also found a live bedbug and an exoskeleton on her borrowed Hollister outfit. All of the employees were forced to continue working even though more and more bugs were being discovered.
Multiple employees were covered in bites. Hollister was more concerned about losing money than the health and safety of their hundreds of employees and thousands of customers. If they were concerned in the least, the store would have been shut down the moment the first bugs were discovered. Just today they closed the store down, but who knows how many employees and customers were exposed to the outbreak in the past three weeks, only jeopardizing the rest if the stores in the area as bedbugs spread like wildfire.
Bedbugs only feed at night, and if you've ever been inside Hollister, you know that it is almost completely dark. I'm sure you can imagine the store has become a bedbug breeding ground since it was first exposed. Go Hollister!
Well, now we can start calling it the bedbug Hollister instead of the "epic" Hollister. If you've been in the store the past few weeks, you risked the chance of carrying the bedbugs home with you. The good news is that if you've recently discovered bedbugs, at least one lawyer would be happy to help you sue! He spoke to The Wall Street Journal:
"Technically it's a breach of warranty of merchantability," said Michael M. Martin, a professor at Fordham University School of Law. "They are defective because they don't meet consumer expectation. The usual remedy for that, first of all you can get price back and, second, you might well be able to recover for the consequential injuries. I'd be willing to take that case."
Shopping in there was frightening enough before all this.