Changes to QFC location bring Plexiglas ‘maze’, worrying and frustrating customers – KIRO 7 News Seattle

SEATTLE — Changes to a QFC store — apparently for security reasons — have some customers saying the store is going too far. Some worry about safety and getting out in an emergency.

Two Seattle QFC stores now have extensive plexiglass inside, directing traffic for shoppers and limiting how people can exit. The grocery chain told KIRO 7 the changes were aimed at “maintaining a safe shopping environment,” but customers believe the goal is to thwart shoplifting.

“It’s like shopping in a dystopian novel or something, it’s really weird,” said Chris Mobley, a shopper at the store. “It seems like a way to annoy customers – it’s really hard to navigate the store,” he said.

QFC calls the change a pilot in two places. One of the stores that tested it is at 417 Broadway Ave. in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

The new plexiglass walls section off certain sections of the store, such as fresh produce and florals, away from the exit and the entrance. To reach the products, customers must first walk in a circle around the store.

“To trap people in a literal maze, it’s like you’re a bunch of rats walking around a maze in there,” said Rigo Gutierrez, who was outside the store on Friday.

Longtime Capitol Hill residents say that due to shoplifting issues, QFC has tightened security over the years, closing two other exits and shrinking the main gate.

“The reason they closed the entrance there was because people were running out,” said Genn MacGilvra, a frequent visitor to Broadway QFC.

Some people say the latest change is too much.

“When they added the plexiglass, it totally shocked us,” Tammy Luthy said. Luthy says she has been shopping at QFC several times a week for over 30 years.

“If there’s a fire, where do you go, how do you get out?” said Luthy.

She posted her concerns on social media, calling her “dangerous” in a tweet and contacting Seattle Fire Department Code Compliance.

“There is a real concern for the safety of people when shopping there,” Luthy said.

KIRO7’s Deedee Sun has contacted QFC about the situation. A spokesperson said in an email: “We are committed to our core value of security. Following customer feedback, we have reconfirmed with the local fire department that it is up to code. »

The Seattle Fire Department said Friday morning it is “currently investigating.” By late afternoon, firefighters said inspectors had checked and confirmed that the plexiglass barriers did not violate Seattle’s fire code.

Some buyers say they don’t mind the change.

“It does not affect my life. I can still walk into the store,” said Shealynn Foster, another customer. “Plus, you need to protect your business,” she said.

Others say it’s just a shame that the region is in this situation.

“I’m saddened by what it means to the world and our ability to be honest and not desperate in this world,” MacGilvra said.

QFC and parent company Kroger have not confirmed that the plexiglass is intended to prevent shoplifting, but rather to “help control traffic” and “maintain a safe shopping environment”.

The full statement from QFC is below:

“QFC has proactively installed the additional security protocols to maintain a safe shopping environment for our associates and customers. We are committed to our core value of safety. Following customer feedback, we have reconfirmed with the local fire department that it is up to code. We are currently testing this in two stores in Seattle. »