High-Pitched Buzzing Noise Keeps Some Shoppers Away - NBC4 Washington

High-Pitched Buzzing Noise Keeps Some Shoppers Away



    There's an unusual noise at a local Harris Teeter grocery store, and only certain people can hear it. News4's northern Virginia reporter David Culver has the story. (Published Tuesday, June 18, 2013)

    A high-pitched noise is keeping some shoppers away from a northern Virginia grocery store -- trouble is, only certain people can hear it.

    A buzzing noise emits from the front of an Alexandria Harris Teeter store.

    "It sounds like a bunch of birds having fun," Demontriel Adams said.

    "There's two different tones," John Tyler said.

    The tones project onto the parking lot, but more experienced shoppers are caught off guard when asked about the noise.

    "These 70-year-old ears don't hear that!" Mervyn Bowen said.

    Young Finn Richardson from Alexandria said he feels as though he is being transported to another world by the noises.

    "I feel like I hear a flying monkey or something... like in the 'Wizard of Oz,'" Richardson said.

    The noise seems to be generation-specific in nature. In an email, a Harris Teeter spokesperson told News4 the noises are "specifically designed ultrasonic devices to deter birds." The company has been using them for almost 12 years, and they're located in less than 10 local Harris Teeter stores.

    The noise does bother some shoppers, who have decided to stay away from the store altogether.

    "I just don't like it, so I don't shop at Harris Teeter often," Megan Rolla said.

    Three years ago, officials installed a similar device at the Gallery Place commercial strip to discourage teens from loitering. About a month later, the device was removed.