DEAR ABBY: I'm considered an essential employee during this pandemic. I am writing on behalf of myself and all retail workers.
First let me say that it is my pleasure to serve on the front line. We are all a little apprehensive, but we feel we are called to help.
Our problem: A lot of shoppers coming into our stores are extremely rude to us. They are angry when they encounter longer lines and waiting times. One customer actually spit on a plexiglass shield we put up to protect our cashiers. They also bring small children and babies in with them to shop.
We have been cursed at and yelled at for reasons beyond our control. Please let the public know we are trying our best to serve them even though a lot of us are afraid for our health and the health of our families. My daughter is a nurse, and she has experienced some of the same things. -- IN THIS TOGETHER
DEAR IN THIS: Your letter carries an important message. There is no excuse for the abuse you have described. Fear, stress and extended isolation have brought out the worst in some of us.
I don't offer this in an attempt to excuse unacceptable behavior, but the customers you describe appear to be so upset and on edge that they can no longer control their emotions. Yes -- some of them are also entitled, impatient and arrogant. Personally, I think that when a customer acts out, the store manager should step in and remove that person from the premises. Some stores have increased their security staff to deal with this. If enough managers did this, customers would be put on notice that bad behavior won't be tolerated.
P.S. As to mothers with babies and small children who are unable to arrange for child care while they shop, try to cut them some slack because they may be doing it because they have no other choice.