Anyone Know What Happened at the CH Giant Last Night?

Photo from PoPville flickr user rosiedawn

A reader writes:

“Last night around 6:30pm, the CH Giant was evacuated due to some fire alarms. Carts and baskets left strewn throughout the store. Fire Trucks came and left. I waited at Sticky Fingers for sanity to resume then moseyed back on over. I was told the store was closed due to malfunctioning sprinkler system and “too bad”. So I got my parking receipt stamped and left, sans the groceries I had spent nearly an hour collecting and then waiting to pay for in astronomical lines. On my way out of the garage I notice that all of a sudden folks are going back in to shop. This was almost immediately after a police officer and store employee told me they were closed down by the fire department. What the heck happened here?”

Anyone experience this as well?

16 Comment

  • Worst fairly-new grocery store ever. I only go there when it absolutely cannot be avoided. I’ll get what I can at Target and drive over to Harris Teeter before I set foot in this crap hole.

  • I’ve certainly suffered frustration there, but have learned to work around their busy times and am so glad to have it nearby. You can’t get everything at Timor Bodega.

  • go there during Redskins games – completely empty

  • This is a fine, affordable, convenient grocery store. That’s why there are long lines. I also wish they were shorter. As the previous commenter wrote, try to go during Redskins games.

  • Soo…what’s the question here? Why did people evacuate when the fire alarms and sprinklers went off? Why did the fire department respond to a fire alarm? Why were customers let back in after it was determined to be a false alarm?

    It all seems pretty obvious and mundane to me.

  • Sounds like the letter-writer was told what the heck happened here: malfunctioning sprinkler system resulting in a fire department order to evacuate. I walked past last night, didn’t talk to any cops or employees, and surmised as much.

    Given that, what is the point of this letter? Couldn’t the writer have waited til tomorrow, to put it in Random Reader Rants, where it belongs?

    Agree with Petworth Guy. The Giant isn’t that bad. As evidenced by this post, people just love to complain, and love to be seen complaining. It’s very cool to be too good for something.

  • Ogden, people didn’t evacuate when the alarms went off. It was AWESOME. Every single line was so long that nobody (myself included) wanted to lose their place in case it was a false alarm. The managers had to announce over the loudspeaker that it “could be a real fire” and “for your safety” everyone should evacuate. When that didn’t work, they announced again that the cashiers should stop ringing customers up, and that is when people finally started leaving.

    It was inconvenient, but also hilarious.

  • I think the larger concern here is that the employees couldn’t figure out how to get the emergency doors open! It took them about 15 minutes of fooling around until they asked customers if “anyone had a screw-driver?” In the event of a real fire, do they really plan on having the throngs of customers that shop there daily after work to exit out of a single exit?

    Someone could die, and if it were my time to go, I would not want to be trampled in Giant (Whole Foods, sure — I jest).

  • It makes me laugh whenever people criticize something that’s really popular as being awful. Funny how many people patronize things that are awful.

    How could the Giant in any possible way make your life worse? You are still welcome to go shop at the crappy bodegas or the Safeway up the street.

    Sure, the lines are long sometimes. It didn’t take me very long to figure out the days and times that are bad, and I avoid them. I can honestly say I’ve only waited more than a few minutes once or twice since it’s opened, and as a result I usually have a good experience.

    Since you admit that you go there “when it cannot be avoided” then it sounds like it’s better than if it were not there. Since that “cannot be avoided” situation presumably means there’s no other choice than the one that didn’t exist a couple years ago.

    • I was there last night and the whole thing was hilarious. Since I’m pretty sure no one got hurt, I think I can say that. The employee holding her latte in one hand and trying to open the emergency door in the other took the cake. She finally put her drink down and tried to open it with another employee before announcing, “It’s frozen shut.”

      I also saw a number of folks look at the reusable bags (they’re giving them away this week) and decide there was a chance they wouldn’t get their free bag later so they should sweep up a handful and just take them now.

      I felt really really bad for anyone in the middle of checkout who had to leave. What a pain.

      The worst part was that we all left still hungry!

    • Not everybody has the luxury of being able to go there at the least crowded times. And while it’s definitely smaller and a little more expensive, the customer service experience at Harris Teeter makes it worth the trip.

  • I was in the parking deck right when the alarm went off. A sprinkler (or pipe?) was gushing EVERYWHERE on the deck by the elevator. It was drenching the cars under it. A person walking with me actually notified the police of what was going on because they didn’t know what set off the alarm.

  • I was there. An employee came out and said potential gas leak, nothing official though. I went to Harris Teeter.

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