Store workers need new training: how to handle fights over masks

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Many merchants will receive a new kind of preparation for this year’s holiday season: training on dealing with conflict with customers who resist wearing masks, social distancing and store capacity limits.

The National Retail Federation, a trade group representing around 16,000 retailers, said Thursday it had partnered with the Crisis Prevention Institute, a company focused on reducing violence in the workplace, to help retail workers detail to learn how to prevent and defuse disputes between buyers. emerge from pandemic restrictions.

The training highlights the unexpected challenges that store workers faced during the pandemic. Most retailers were quick to demand masks and distances in stores, but some shoppers flouted the rules, putting employees in awkward and sometimes frightening positions. Quarrels with belligerent shoppers have steadily gone viral on social media this year and have even led to violence, scaring staff and other shoppers, just as stores try to boost traffic.

In online training, “one of the main scenarios is where an employee asks a customer to wear a mask, and he reacts,” said Adam Lukoskie, vice president of the NRF Foundation, the non-profit arm. lucrative business group. “There is another scenario where a mother and a child are there and are upset that this gentleman is not wearing a mask, so the employee has to help make peace.”

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