An H&M clothing store in New York City has been temporarily shuttered thanks to an employee who’d taken to Twitter to call out the store for its bug problem.
The Twitter user, who goes by the alias Madesonee, posted a tweet Wednesday showing bugs of some kind on “a rack of hoodies” and expressed frustration over the store not closing or “notifying employees of the problem.”
“I work at the H&M in the Oculus at World Trade & today a customer discovered lice on a rack of hoodies. They’re not closing the store nor are they notifying employees of the problem. The section was just blocked off,” the tweet reads.
Oculus is a transportation hub in the World Trade Center. It’s brimming with stores and restaurants.
Madesonee’s tweet unexpectedly went viral, triggering backlash against H&M.
View the tweet below:
I work at the H&M in the Oculus at World Trade & today a customer discovered lice on a rack of hoodies. They’re not closing the store nor are they notifying employees of the problem. The section was just blocked off. pic.twitter.com/eAIlOxfmJu
— G’s Technician 🤍 (@Madesonee_) December 29, 2021
About three hours later, she announced that the company had learned about her tweet and that she’d voluntarily resigned “cause I hate that place.”
She added in additional tweets even later that she hadn’t meant for the photos to go viral and had gracefully apologized to her store manager because “it wasn’t his fault.”
I literally said damn I hope they don’t fire her for that tweet tho smh they firing you? https://t.co/TwmRoFRVSh
— HER. (@Adore_Shay) December 30, 2021
nope ! im not in trouble. my last day is friday anyways, I resigned cause I hate that place
— G’s Technician 🤍 (@Madesonee_) December 30, 2021
I apologized to my store manager because I did not expect my tweet to go up like this. I was just annoyed that it was being treated like a minor issue & it wasn’t his fault. It’s the company.
My coworkers thanked me 🤍
— G’s Technician 🤍 (@Madesonee_) December 30, 2021
A day after the original tweet was posted, H&M confirmed to Newsweek that the store has been temporarily shuttered.
“We take customer and employee safety extremely seriously. Out of an abundance of caution, we closed the store in question in order to investigate fully,” a spokesperson said.
Madesonee also spoke with the outlet. It turns out her real name is Netroya B., and she appears to have doubts about whether H&M has really shuttered the store.
“A customer pointed the hoodies out to me and I informed my manager, who then informed my store manager. As a quick solution, they blocked off the section to await further instructions from someone higher. We thought they would tell us to close but that wasn’t the directions given,” she said.
“Supposedly pest control was going to be sent to the store. The store didn’t close and I still don’t think it is. I left because I did not want to work with that going on.”
You may have noticed that in her original tweet, she’d identified the bugs as “lice.” Some have pushed back on this, noting that lice tend to be significantly smaller and arguing that what she’d likely actually seen were bedbugs.
These are adult bedbugs. Store needs to be closed immediately. pic.twitter.com/SMUilEQTBI
— Lucy In The Sky on her Dragon With Her Dogs n Wine (@WantedRedhead01) December 30, 2021
Meanwhile, critics are continuing to bash H&M.
I’m glad I stopped shopping @hm years ago. 🤢🤮 They were great when they were just in Europe & I was a flight attendant & shopped there on layovers. They went downhill as soon as they came to 🇺🇸. We ruin every thing. https://t.co/qXyS3K99e2
— Call Me By Your Name (@NYprepChelsea) December 31, 2021
@hm uhm, ew. Completely unacceptable. How much of a chance the rest of your NYC stores are impacted too, if everything comes from the same warehouses? Gross. Close that store, burn everything, steam clean, and burn again. Til then, imma be at Old Navy https://t.co/AyscR1DqXu
— Richard Perkins (@RichieOnTheRun) December 30, 2021
@hm we need answers plz because the store should be closed and given a deep clean. you are putting people at risk.
— frederick! 🌈 (@frederiickx) December 29, 2021
@hm Y’all nasty! Close that lice infested store. Get it together! What’s wrong with y’all? 🤮
— Natasha Clayton (@TarsharMcMcLeod) December 31, 2021
Why so much anger and concern? Because bedbugs are no laughing matter, and if they manage to spread outside the H&M store, they could wind up infecting the entire Oculus.
“Bed bugs are a public health pest. While bed bugs have not been shown to transmit disease, they do cause a variety of negative physical health, mental health and economic consequences,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
They can cause “allergic reactions to bites,” “secondary infections of the skin from bite reaction” and “mental health impacts,” the EPA notes.
More importantly, once they’ve taken root, they spread like wildfire.
“Ultimately, it can take mere minutes to travel from room-to-room, with infestations growing in a matter of weeks or months. Every day, bed bugs can lay between one and 12 eggs, and anywhere from 200 to 500 eggs in a lifetime,” according to Terminix, one of the largest pest removal services in the world.
“Those numbers should speak for themselves if you’re wondering how long it takes to get an infestation of bed bugs and how quickly those bed bugs can spread. It doesn’t take long for a problem to grow out of control, so the sooner you contact a pest control professional for inspection and treatment, the better off you’ll be.”
Somebody might want to tell that to H&M …
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