The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best and the worst in human kindness. The groups of people who have seen the best and worst acts of humanity are the brave souls who work in the retail industry, namely cashiers.
Laura Ferrario of Valrico is the human resources administrator for BJ’s Wholesale Club in Wesley Chapel. She has heard a number of complaints from her staff about how customers have treated them.
“The main thing is people not being nice,” Ferrario said. “They get upset about product shortages that we have no control over because the manufacturers are delayed. We are getting limited shipments and once we put them out, they are gone in minutes. These are things our employees have no control over, [and over] the course of six to eight hours of dealing with angry customers, it tends to wear down the moral of our staff; they feel defeated.”
In a recent online article by Boston News (www.boston.com), retail workers are finding new stress in the age of COVID-19.
“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 of the National Retail Federation, said in a statement. “After months of living with such restrictions, the level of stress among people clearly has reached a boiling point.”
Ferrario does her best to offer comfort to her staff by letting them come into her office to talk about their day on the sales floor. “The main thing is just to be kind,” Ferrario said. “Everyone is experiencing the same issues. We are all having issues trying to find cleaning products. Your retail employees are doing the best they can with situations that are completely beyond their control. Have a little patience when you are shopping.”
Ferrario also suggested calling ahead to the store to see if the items you are looking for are in stock. This may help cut down on some of the customers’ frustration when shopping.
“Being a bit proactive by calling the store to see if the item you are looking for is in stock before you leave to go shopping can help cut down on some stress,” Ferrario said. “This can help the shopping experience be more enjoyable for the customer and the employee.” Kindness goes a long way while living in COVID-19.