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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic since 2005; Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic Discussion Forum.

Retail Rage

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Tabitha111 View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 08 2020 at 9:53am

 For weeks Samantha Clarke calmly listened to the insults and threats directed daily at her and her employees by people who learned they couldn't enter the Modesto, California, store without wearing a mask and following other coronavirus-related rules.

But never, says the 17-year veteran of retail sales, did she expect she'd be sucker-punched and knocked to the floor, blood gushing from her battered face. Not until it happened recently after a customer was told the last above-ground swimming pool in stock had just been sold to someone else.

"I've been in retail my whole life. I've been at this particular job 17 years and I've never heard of anyone being attacked, ever," Clarke said by phone one recent evening after finishing the night shift.

But in retrospect she says, perhaps she should have seen it coming.

"We had the normal upset customer from time to time, but rarely did someone lose their temper and cuss at us," she says of life before the store she manages began operating under state-issued coronavirus safety guidelines.

"Now it's just daily, sometimes back to back to back," she said.


After Clarke put photos of her bloody, bruised face on her personal Facebook page along with an explanation of what it's like to work in retail sales these days, it was shared thousands of times, prompting her to create a separate page, "Retail Life During COVID-19," to handle the response. Within days the page attracted tens of thousands of followers.

Several comments came from others who say they work in retail too and since the pandemic have been faced with an unending string of abuse.

"My co-worker was spat on by a person who wouldn't wear a mask," one person who said she worked in retail in Riverside, California, told Clarke.

Others posted news stories of attacks occurring around the country, including at a Flint, Michigan, Dollar Store where a security guard was shot to death last month after telling a woman she couldn't enter without a mask.


The masks seem to upset customers the most, said Clarke, although many shoppers don't like rules requiring people to stay 6 feet apart or the store's policy of banning the return of items during the pandemic.

"I had one lady threaten to burn the store down because we wouldn't take her return," she said. "It's insane."

Clarke was attacked on May 6 as she was hearing a complaint from a woman angry the pool she wanted to buy was gone by the time she got there. A cashier had agreed to hold it for 30 minutes but by the time she arrived, about an hour later, the hold had been lifted and it was sold.

"She just started throwing stuff off the counter and in such a rage that items were hitting her baby stroller," Clarke said, adding she couldn't tell if there was actually a baby in the woman's stroller, which was covered by a blanket.

She was about to tell her to leave, Clarke said, when she was hit.

By the time she got up, blood gushing from a gash above one of her eyes, the woman had left. Clarke followed her outside and got a fairly good photo of her, her face partially obscured by a mask. But the woman had used the baby blanket to cover the car's license plate before she drove away.

An ambulance took Clarke to an urgent care center to have the gash above her eye patched.

(continued at link)

'When you feel as though you can't do something, the simple antidote is action: Begin doing it. Start the process, even if it's just a simple step, and don't stop at the beginning.'
Marcus B
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WitchMisspelled View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WitchMisspelled Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 09 2020 at 6:44am

I was discussing things like this with my sister just yesterday.  The anger in people is downright insane.  It's fueling incidents like this, road rage, shopper rage at other shoppers and quite frankly, I think it's what's fueling these nation-wide protests.

Another issue I've found is that so many I know seem to be over-imbibing.  I have to wonder if alcoholism rates are/will skyrocket. 

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CRS, DrPH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 10 2020 at 9:18pm

In Arizona, I've noticed that the temper of the masses has calmed down a bit with the (premature) lifting of the state stay-at-home order.  

However, I still always carry a loaded firearm whenever I leave the house.  (I'm FBI trained in firearms). 

My concern is that the populace is not going to tolerate a return to stay-at-home shutdown orders if they come.  Based upon recent data on case increases, I'd say that this is probably a certainty in many states. 

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BeachMama View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BeachMama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 11 2020 at 10:42am

CRS, my family and I were discussing this very thing yesterday. We also live in Arizona — the large city next door to y’all, I believe — and I have people at my church who seem quite upset that things aren’t returning to “normal.”  However, when I tell them the statistics of what has happened with the virus, they seem unimpressed, and I think some people truly feel that they are being faked.

It leads me to wonder how many people will simply ignore a second lockdown.  And, following that thought, I wonder how the state government will enforce one (given that Ducey really seems more beholden to business considerations than to the good of the populace during a pandemic).  Will people react more violently to stores being emptied out a second time? Will they anticipate it, with shelves being emptied sooner?  There are many questions, and I worry we are about to find out the answers with the 93% increase in cases we have seen in AZ since the end of the lockdown. 

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