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article imageBedbugs force closure of second Abercrombie & Fitch store in NY

By Laura Trowbridge     Jul 2, 2010 in Lifestyle
Abercrombie & Fitch have closed two of their Manhattan, New York stores this week because of an infestation of bedbugs. The South Street Seaport store and the Hollister Epic store in SoHo are now closed until the bedbugs can be dealt with.
Abercrombie chairman and CEO Michael S. Jeffries wrote a letter asking Mayor Michael Bloomberg for “leadership and guidance” on how best to address the bedbug problem.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said: “It is the responsibility of companies to handle bedbugs on their own.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, bedbugs have come out of the bedroom and are becoming an issue in commercial buildings throughout New York City, causing management to make regular, preventative appointments with bug-sniffing dogs.
Bedbug lawsuits are a growing practice for Marc Miner, a lawyer for Zalman & Schnurman in Manhattan. Miner said that when a bedbug issue is not resolved by a company, employees will sometimes turn to the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration agency and file a complaint.
“In my experience there are very, very few places that have a protocol for bedbugs,” he said. “Often people come to us because they have a post traumatic reaction to it. For some people, the post traumatic stress is the worst part.”
“Bedbugs are hitchhikers and they will travel,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. “They could be coming home in a bag, on merchandise or a suitcase.”
Henriksen gave these tips to follow when anyone goes shopping in stores:
Be aware of any stains that seem unusual on clothing. The stains could be telltale blood spots left by feeding bed bugs.
Inspect clothing carefully before purchasing.
Check behind dressing room mirrors and any other crevices where bed bugs could hide — even wall sockets — before trying on clothing.
Hang your clothes on hooks, rather than lay them across cushioned seats in dressing rooms or on the carpeted floor as these are safe and popular havens for bed bugs.
Always inspect your shopping bags before bringing them into the house.
Wash all of your new clothes in hot water and tumble dry on high heat prior to wearing for the first time.
An Abercrombie & Fitch company spokesman said the bedbug problem in the Hollister Epic store has been “eliminated and the store will reopen Saturday morning at 10 a.m.”
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