43.3 F
Fort Worth
Monday, November 30, 2020
Business Bloodied store manager describes life in the age of COVID-19

Bloodied store manager describes life in the age of COVID-19

Other News

Left for dead, twice, RadioShack gets another shot online

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — RadioShack, a fixture at the mall for decades, has been pulled from brink of death, again. It’s the most prized...

JC Penney sees bankruptcy protection exit by Christmas

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney believes it will emerge from bankruptcy protection before Christmas under a new ownership agreement that would save tens...

Petalo, not Charmin: Virus brings Mexican toilet paper to US

By JOSEPH PISANI AP Retail Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Toilet paper is back on store shelves. But you may not recognize some of the...

Mall owners close to buying JC Penney out of bankruptcy

By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO AP Retail WriterNEW YORK (AP) — Mall owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners are close to a deal to...

By JOHN ROGERS Associated Press
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 months of living with such restrictions, the level of stress among people clearly has reached a boiling point, and not just in California, said Rachel Michelin, the California Retail Association’s president and CEO.
“There’s just a high level of frustration everywhere right now,” Michelin said last week in words that seemed to presage the nationwide eruption of protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes.

Although the protests that are gripping major cities and suburbs from Coast to Coast have been mainly peaceful, riots that have broken out during some have resulted in retail businesses being looted and vandalized.

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.

Thousands commented on her original post and subsequent messages as she talked of contacting the police and of healing physically and emotionally. 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.

“We are hearing an increasing number of reports of abuse and violence directed against retail workers who are doing their jobs by asking customers to wear face masks or comply with other guidelines intended to protect their own safety,” David French, senior vice president for government relations for the National Retail Federation, said in a statement.

He called on authorities to prosecute such cases “to the fullest extent of the law” and do a better job of protecting retail workers.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause pneumonia and death.

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.
Modesto police put the photo of the woman on their crime stoppers page and are continuing to investigate, said Sharon Bear, the department’s public safety information coordinator.

Despite the attack, Clarke says she still loves her job, the people she works with at the store (she declined to name it under orders from its corporate owner) and also the customers who frequent it in Modesto, a Central Valley city of 200,000.

As people have found her Facebook group, she’s noticed it’s become not only a place for other sales people to vent but also for customers to express condolences.
“I think something good is coming from this,” she said. “People are showing a lot of support for anyone who posts what they’ve gone through that day. It’s just really cool to see people supporting retailers.”


Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Latest News

Several local Walmart Supercenters remodeled in time for holidays

Fort Worth and Arlington residents will soon get a first look at the newly remodeled Walmart Supercenters at 9500 Clifford Street, 8401 Anderson St....

Retail trade group sees solid holiday sales despite pandemic

By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO AP Retail Writer NEW YORK (AP) — The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, expects that holiday sales could...

Grapevine company acquires San Antonio family business

Grapevine-based Able Machinery Movers, a heavy machinery-moving and rigging company, announced Nov. 24 the acquisition of Diamond E Rigging, a family-owned rigging and heavy equipment relocation business...

Arlington firm designing new hotel in Las Colinas

Arlington-based Type Six Design & Development has announced the firm has received zoning approval from the City of Irving for a new six-story Hotel...

New ownership at WineHaus

WineHaus Fort Worth announced a change in ownership and updates to the popular wine bar located at 1628 Park Place Ave. New owners Robyn Davis...