UPDATE: We called the Sears in question and they say there’s no high-pitched ringing going on at this store. They didn’t install any Mosquito devices and they aren’t having any malfunctions right now that would cause such a ringing. The woman who picked up in women’s apparel said that in response to what was being said on Twitter, they even sent out some young associates to check out all the entrances and they didn’t hear anything.
If you’re under 25 and happen to be in Pennsylvania at Granite Run Mall, you’re probably going to want to avoid shopping at Sears. Like many stores across the country, the Sears here is using an ultrasonic weapon known as the Mosquito to deter teens from loitering, according to the experience of reader Jonathan K:
This past friday I was walking into a Sears and almost fell to my knees. All I heard was an intense ringing sound in my ear. I wanted to make a tinfoil hat to keep the aliens or CIA out of my head, but it turns out it was the Mosquito. It was down right debilitating. I had a painful headache for about 20-30 minutes.
Though most adults and young children don’t hear the Mosquito’s high-pitched sound, teenagers do, and the effects can be quite startling.
Though the device was placed at the store entrance-presumably to deter loitering outside-it could be heard inside the store as well, say Jonathan.
Granted, not everyone has nearly as strong a reaction as Mr. Knippschild, but why would Sears use an approach that indiscriminately alienates a whole lot of people? If teenage loitering was a problem, the managers could have just blasted classical music or show tunes. That often does the trick and, besides, it’s a lot funnier.