Supply shortages, inflation, high gas prices, being short staffed and several other contributing factors have tensions running high as the holiday season approaches. It also has many retail workers who live, shop and work feeling just as frustrated as the next person while also being forced to deal with the frustrations of consumers.

“When you work in retail, people can be kind of brutal,” said Taunja Chapman, a local retail worker. “Since Covid, there are still many nice customers, but unfortunately, they’re starting to be the exception and around here, people aren’t usually like that. It is sad because people here are usually nice.”

On any given day, as you travel from business to business, more and more are displaying signage at the door requesting customers be kind to the employees.

“Don’t take it out on our staff”, “Please treat our staff with respect” and others of a similar nature await patrons at the door, something that, quite frankly, shouldn’t be necessary but has become common practice.

As someone who has worked steadily throughout the pandemic, Chapman, is not alone in feelings of frustration and the hope that consumers will be kind.

“There are supply issues. We haven’t been able to order anything since the pandemic started and we sell what we are sent to sell. We’re frontline workers too and we’re held hostage behind a counter. Whether you have Covid or not, immunization or not, I’m not going to treat you any different,” Chapman said.

Blame is being placed on retail workers for shortages which they have no control over.
“Some blame us personally. There have been accusations we’re hiding product in the back or that we’re trying to keep it for ourselves and that is just not the case,” Chapman said. “We’re frustrated too. We shop and need things that aren’t on the shelves too.”

Many employers are facing employee shortages and it is not because of wages, many employees have walked away from careers in customer service, retail, and food service because of the attitudes of customers.

“People get mad at the employees. If you have a good team that’s been with you a long time, it can really make it a challenge because a person can only take so much. After being berated enough, for something they don’t have control over they will leave and take another job,” Chapman said. “This is happening everywhere in any type of job where employees deal directly with the public, and it is because people choose to be unkind.”

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Lauren is a an award-winning journalist who decided after 10 years of newspaper experience to venture out. Hallmark Times was born.