Furry gift with purchase, anyone?
New York City has had a rough enough year, and the last thing anyone needs is the local grocer's meat case housing a local rat— but that's exactly what happened at one Manhattan Whole Foods store, and the video went viral thanks to a crafty TikTok user.
The TikToker caught the rodent nibbling on a piece of high-end veal in the butcher case according to the video. Obviously the little guy has good taste, because the osso bucco piece he chose sells for $22.99 per pound at the Columbus Circle store that straddles the Midtown West and Upper West Side neighborhoods. Shoppers were obviously distraught.
“We talked to the manager. People say that’s like a Karen thing but it was disgusting,” said @DefineBritt on TikTok, who posted the footage, and then later clarified in a YouTube video later. “I never want to set foot in this Whole Foods again.”
The footage she recorded and posted to TikTok now has well over two million views and a hundred thousand likes. Whole Foods reps are now reporting to various news outlets that they're looking into the matter and taking the issue, "very seriously." We hope so.
"We immediately removed and disposed of all products in the case, performed a deep cleaning, and brought in a third-party service for a thorough inspection,” a spokeswoman told The New York Post. “The store diligently followed our detailed protocol in response and continues to work closely with our food safety team.”
It's less than comforting for @DefineBritt though, who was shopping at the posh Manhattan store with her mom when she spotted the rodent. She now says she has no plans to return to Whole Foods.
The ever-expanding New York City rat population is one that has been reported on extensively throughout the pandemic and mass exodus from city living thanks to remaining residents saying they're clearly more abundant than ever before.
Wildlife expert Brian Thames says we should expect more of this in coming days, weeks, and months. "To be frank, until the city is filled back up to pre-pandemic levels, the rats and other critters have more license than ever to live the way they'd like. They're emboldened by less risk, and by risk I mean humans, and need to search for food in more creative ways. Just think of all the pizza shops, sushi spots, and diners that have closed since the pandemic. Those were great little places for families of rats and field mice to hang out, wait for scraps and crumbs, and live relatively quiet lives. The displacement of the human population has changed all that, and it's just a new reality we have to deal with."
It's not all bad news though, even if mice are stealing our meat. "The upside is that birds New Yorkers haven't seen in decades or longer have returned to Central Park, the aquatic life in and along the rivers is improving, and even coyotes are making their way back into green spaces in larger numbers. You have to take the good with bad, and maybe just skip the veal case for now. Vegetables are better for you anyway."
Have you ever spotted a rodent at your local supermarket or favorite eatery? We'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below.