Will Clarke said he spotted the rats on June 30th at around 11:30 p.m. when he got off the elevator on the 2nd floor of the Wallingford QFC store and went around the corner. The store is located at 1801 North 45th Street in Seattle.
Clarke told an employee about what he saw and then went back to the bulk food aisle two more times, he said. At one point, Clarke said he saw three rats come out from under the bins to snoop around. He said he could hear several more rats nearby.
"To a certain degree, I understand the fact that we live in a city. These things happen," Clarke said. "I was shocked there were so many. Like clearly the situation had kind of gotten out of control. It wasn't just like a rat or two. It was like a bunch of them."
Other shoppers were shocked to hear about the rats.
"A rat in your grocery store is not cool. Not cool," said customer Diana Pearce.
"Unless ratatouille is on the menu, I'm not interested," Lisa Helker said with a laugh.
A spokesperson for Kroger, which operates QFC stores, said the store has corrected the problem and is working closely with the King County Health Department to keep it from happening again.
Employees threw out the store's bulk food items and sanitized the affected area, the spokesperson said. The company also plans to ask health officials to help the store work with its neighbors to ensure the environment around the store is as healthy as it should be, the spokesperson added. The store's bulk food bins have since been restocked.
A spokesman for the King County Health Department said the store got a satisfactory report during its most recent health inspection in April 2014. Recent inspections showed no rat-related violations, he added.