Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bad water leads to panic, charity

As you all know by now, I sleep all day, so if something "major" happens during the day, I don't usually hear about it until much later, which makes for some really interesting surprises.

So Wednesday night, I go grocery shopping, and I think I noticed the increased traffic. Not sure on that - Greenville can be pretty funny at times. But then I got to the supermarket, and that's when I noticed it. I like to shop at night on weeknights, because usually it's not as busy, but this Wednesday night might as well have been a Friday or Saturday night, or hell, a weekday around 6pm. It was slam packed.

It didn't take long to figure out what was going on. The first clue I got was, I overheard another customer asking an employee if they were giving away any more water. Giving away water? Indeed, the water shelves looked pretty bare - see the pic below - and the store had what looked like at least a dozen pallets of Deer Park 24-packs. What the hell?

Turns out E.Coli was found in the water, and all of Greenville was "infected" with this "bad water". Greenville Utilities has since rescinded their "boil water" alert as of this evening, which was a pretty quick cleanup if you ask me, but if they say the water is now safe, I believe them. (They're in enough hot water (if not legally, in public opinion) as it is, so rushing and botching the cleanup would be even worse.)

Water is all sold out at the 14th St. Harris-Teeter in Greenville, NC.

What I thought was more amazing, though, was that the same grocery store, local to North Carolina, shipped out two truckloads of water within an hour or so of the "epidemic" breaking out. Better yet, the water was to be given away, free of charge, to Greenville residents for whom tap water all of a sudden became unsafe. Read the press release here. Now of course, there are a few cynical ways to spin that, but it's much easier to assume that every now and then, a company does what seems to be the right thing as opposed to just looking at the bottom line. (Of course, they had a killer sale on those Deer Park 24-packs, $3.99 each, and they were flying off the shelves. But still.) I didn't even know they sent out a second load, but there it is on their website.

I don't know if any other stores gave away any water. I didn't even hear about this on the news (the local news only reported the bad water) so naturally I had to come up here and share the good news, since it's bad news that tends to get reported (and read) more.

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