Article by Gem of the Sound Reporter
The following is a two-part story of what Safeway Burien employees face daily while trying to do their job. It is based on an extensive interview of several employees, including the store manager, who quit that night due to the abuse they’ve taken.
Violent crimes are going on inside Burien’s unsafe Safeway! Criminals come in with sticks and guns! 4 employees stated that the situation is out of control and growing worse by the day. People have been shot in the parking lot. One man had his arm macheted and almost lost his arm. Another night a man came in from the parking lot with a bashed-in head. “I could actually see his brain,” said one employee. “There was blood all over our counter.”
The Safeway workers feel like it is hopeless: “It’s not going to change,” spoke one. Regina said, “There’s no safety and no backup.” No one wants to work at this store, and fewer customers are shopping there these days. It is agreed upon by the workers that in the past 2-3 years, there has been a downhill degeneration, and conditions are the worst they can remember. They feel like, inevitably, someone will end up being killed before anyone will take action.
Apparently Safeway Corporation is not concerned about the Burien customers or their hard-working employees. The workers say they have “cried for help” to Safeway Headquarters and are ignored. Even putting in some safety features and hiring more security guards who are actual crime fighters could help, but it has yet to happen. The manager has been assaulted twice in one day. One Sunday night, $10,000 worth of merchandise walked out the door in the hands of thieves, and nothing was done. Safeway Corporation will not take action. (This is not the type of store I would want to work for!)
Manager Carrie has departed. Heidi has worked there for 21 years, and she is also going. Heather has lived in Burien since she was 4. Burien has been her hometown, and she would like to stay and work here, but can she continue to put her life at risk? These are the type of wonderful, hard-working people Burien has been served by, but now, one by one, they are departing. One worker said they used to like people, but now she feels differently: “They are so vile to you, they spit on you, etc.”
Reporter Joseph Riverson has worked among people experiencing homelessness. But during his interview with Carrie and other Safeway employees, he was absolutely shocked! They showed him photos that were horrifying, disgusting…. beyond gross! He heard about how drug users and thieves were parading around naked and lewd in front of children who came to the store with their parents. The odors and filth some people carry have made customers sick and have driven shoppers away.
What is causing the insane, perverse behavior? “It’s the drugs,” said one employee. Literally, every single night after midnight, there are addicts in front of both sets of doors, doing drugs. (One night, they counted eight !) It is just as bad at the store’s opening at 5 a.m. in the morning….(one day, there were 11 big thefts in the first hour after they opened. )
“What would you say to the Burien City Council?” Riverson asked Carrie this question. “The problem is huge; it’s “ginormous!” said Carrie. (For example, Burien recently had 3 shootings in one week!)
When will the council wake up and take decisive steps to end this lawlessness in Burien? Why is it allowed to continue? ( By comparison, Normandy Park, which is close by, does not have such horrific problems, Riverson noted.)
What will it take for the Burien City Council to wake up?