A lot of the states now are making face masks mandatory when out in the public. Some states probably have exceptions. Honestly, it has not been easy for anyone. Since, I work in retails and my store manager enforces that every customers wear a face coverings I decided to share my thoughts on it. Just for everyone’s information our store has an official sign from corporate requiring face masks. Therefore, corporate is actually the one enforcing that everyone wears a face mask. Moreover, we provide curbside service through buy online pickup at the store for customers who cannot or choose not to wear any kind of face coverings.
The store I work at never shut down. Ever since the limitation of customers in the store, we’ve been getting so many nasty attitudes from customers. Then of course, a few months goes by we decided to reopen the doors instead of limiting the amount of customers. Even at this time I was so emotionally and mentally exhausted from the way customers treated me and my coworkers on a daily basis for following government and corporate regulations.
Then of course came the face mask mandate that is now some type of conspiracy in court. Face mask has now become a political topic. A sensational topic dividing citizens apart instead of making everyone working together through this whole pandemic.
My coworkers and I have no choice but to wear a face mask or any type of face coverings. One because none of us have medical conditions and secondly we work there. Every single day there are a handful of customers that we have to ask to put on a face mask. I work some mornings, mainly the closing shift, but I can say this for sure. The morning shift people don’t have to worry about rude customers because all the rude customers love to shop during my shift.
Most of the customers that we have to asked to wear a face mask always say the same thing, “I’m an exemption” or “I have a medical exemption.” I understand that you are an exception because like you I can also read. Maybe unlike you, I read through the whole entire mandate which allows stores to make accommodations for anyone that meets any of the exceptions. (Insert picture).
Every time I, along with my coworkers, tell them the same thing. “Face masks are require in our store as there is also a sign on the door. If you cannot wear one then you can use our curbside service, which is buy online and pickup at our store.” They would storm out and come back in with a face mask. They leave empty handed, but we can all care less.
We even have customers who have said they don’t have face masks or forgot it. Of course, we said the same thing (wear one or use the online service) in addition to telling them they can purchase face mask from the store. Some customers will buy one while the majority goes out to their car and come back with a face mask on.
Why do people do this? If you have a medical exception and you know for sure that the store requires face mask, but have accommodation for you why do you have to come in and then get upset? First all, if you are really that sick or have a serious medical condition why are you out and about shopping in such a small store where people can barely have room to stay six feet apart?!
I don’t like asking customers to put a face mask on in front of other people, but I do it because my supervisor tell us too and because corporate is enforcing it. I feel bad that a customer have a medical condition and can’t breath, but what can I do beside providing the customer with other shopping options. I’m just doing job.
If I ask you, a customer, to put a face mask on while I’m nice. Then just say you will put it on, trust me I’ll even say thank you and leave you alone. However, if I ask you nicely and you give me an attitude, don’t think I won’t give you one back. If you threaten to walk out because I ask you to put a face mask on, I won’t even waste my energy to stop you. If you make a smart and loud remark to me saying that you should have went somewhere else, I will tell you to go another store even if that store is our competitor. I will treat you like how you are treating me.
I’m working during the pandemic. I’m not even considered an essential worker. I don’t get but a two dollar extra pay, yet every day I have to deal with rude customers. Everyday I wear a face mask for seven to eight hours, sometimes ten. So, I can protect customers and my coworkers. Yet, some customers don’t want to wear a face mask to protect me, my coworkers, and other customers. There are times when I step into the back to take my face mask off for thirty seconds just because I feel suffocated or I start getting heat rash on my face. Nonetheless, I put it back on and continue doing my job.
There have been customers who claim that we are discriminating against them, just because they have a medical condition. So, what about your fellow customer over there with a face mask on and is also carrying a ventilator? What about that man over there claiming he has asthma, but he choose to wear one to protect strangers and people he love? There are customers who come in and tell us it’s hard for them to breath because of their medical condition, but they wear one because they choose too. Moreover, I’m sorry that you have a medical condition and I apologize if you feel that way, but I’m just doing my job of what corporate asked us to do.
Additionally, if you, a customer, think that retail workers really like asking you to cover your nose and mouth. Then you’re wrong. Just as much as you, the customer, hate being asked to put a face mask on. We, retail workers, hate asking you to wear one because we deal with it and we get nasty attitudes on a daily basis. As soon as we see you walking towards our doors with no face masks, or you don’t bother to stop and put one one. We’re having an eye rolling competition with our coworkers, preparing ourself to ask, yet again, another customer to wear a face mask. Everyday we deal with same cycle, yet, we to bite our tongue and continue servicing customers like nothing happened.
If you, the customer, refuse to wear a face mask and refuse to leave because you believe it takes away your civil rights. Then I have two things to say. I, as a retail worker, have the right to not service you. Also, you’re trespassing so I will call the authorities to come escort you out.
I don’t know about other retail workers, but I know that my coworkers and friends, who work in retails, are exhausted. We are mentally and emotionally exhausted. There have been countless days when I just want to turn in my keys, but I can’t. I live with my family, I’m the second oldest child so I have responsibilities. Plus, I’m in graduate school. I got bills and tuition to pay.
Some nights I silently cry myself to sleep because I should not have to go through the same cycle day after day. I, along with all the other retail workers nationwide, should not have to consistently ask customers to wear a face mask. It is not like COVID happen yesterday, it’s been happening for the past six to seven months. And you’re telling me, probably a dozen more retail workers, that you don’t have a face mask?! Where were you when everyone was busy buying materials to make face mask nationwide wiping out elastics? Where were you when other people were rushing to put in orders from small business owners to get their face masks?
As much as I have received so many bad remarks, rude and nasty attitudes from customers. I also like to thank the small handful of customers who stand up for me and my coworkers. As well customers who always tell me and my coworkers that they appreciate us working during these hard times.
Finally, even if this whole COVID-19 pandemic turns out to be conspiracy in court. At the end of the day, it will make me happy that you wear a face mask not because you were asked to, but you choose too because you care.