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Posted at 9:31 PM ET, 02/ 4/2010

Markets a 'parking lot' -- and that's inside the store

By Erica Johnston

A hooded Whole Foods clerk armed with a walkie-talkie waved his hands over his head Thursday night, signaling to incoming cars that the parking lot was full.

Inside the grocery in the Logan Circle neighborhood of the District, you could say it was also a parking lot, of the human variety.

The store was so crowded about 7:30 p.m. that management had to shut the doors for 30 minutes out of concern that they exceeded the fire marshal’s limit. Store officials acknowledged they didn’t know what the limit was, but when shoppers couldn’t move, barring incoming customers seemed like a good idea.

“The lines were longer than for Thanksgiving,” said Patrick Grother, 43, as he hauled two bags of groceries to tide him over until Sunday.

Store employees also posted signs announcing that they'd be closing to additional customers an hour early, at 9 p.m. But it wasn't because of a sell-out of chicken or dairy products, workers said, but a long-scheduled employee meeting.

-- Clarence Williams

By Erica Johnston  | February 4, 2010; 9:31 PM ET
Categories:  DC  
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