Videos of rats frolicking in a Dunkin Donuts in New York City emerged on YouTube this week to the dismay of fast-food customers and the company.
The titles of the videos – "Rats chowing down at New York Dunkin Donuts" and "Rat stuck in NYC Dunkin Donuts window" – aptly describe the 16-second clips shot at 2:30 in the morning by user "pjayone," a 52-year-old Bronx resident.
In an email to Gothamist.com, Pjayone related that it's a common occurrence
he sees at the Dunkin Donuts location on 37th Street and 8th Avenue. "Every [day] the workers load the shelves with the mornings [sic] wares. Shortly thereafter like clockwork the rats come out and party."
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Discouragingly, it's "apparent that the store was overrun with them," he writes on one of the videos.
Even more horrifying, he confirms the worst-case scenario: the rat-nibbled pastries were later sold to customers. "The items in the video that are being besieged upon by the rats were to be sold for that mornings [sic] breakfast rush."
After the videos went viral – garnering tens of thousands of views – Pjayone told the New York Daily News an employee continued to stock the overrun food racks
with fresh croissants, bagels, and donuts.
"There's no way he could of missed that!" he said. "He was totally lackadaisical. He couldn't care less."
Before he'd had enough and turned away from the stomach-churning feeding frenzy he said he counted "seven to nine joining in the festivities."
Confronted by reporters at Gothamist in the morning, the store manager, who wished to remain unnamed, replied, "We don't have any issue like that."
Dunkin Donuts' corporate arm followed his statement with its own. "We take this matter very seriously. Immediately upon learning of the situation at the Dunkin' Donuts restaurant at 265 West 37th Street, a certified Operations Manager inspected the restaurant to ensure that all appropriate Dunkin’ Donuts food safety standards are being followed."
Health Department records indicate the establishment currently has an "A" rating for cleanliness, despite a November 2013 comment by inspectors that the facility was "not vermin proof."
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