North Texas Daily

Lifting the mask mandate hits retail workers the hardest

Lifting the mask mandate hits retail workers the hardest

Lifting the mask mandate hits retail workers the hardest
March 19
16:00 2021

The mask mandate in Texas is officially lifted, and I am terrified. There are a lot of initial thoughts that ran through my head when the news first broke, but the one thought I always found myself going back to was how retail workers are going to have to deal with even more ignorant customers than before. We have all been in the uncomfortable situation of watching some self-righteous customer try and use their privilege on the employees before, and now I can only imagine those situations being immensely worse than before.

Retail workers endure enough as it is, even before a global pandemic happened, and the most important thing to do at this moment is making sure that those retail workers feel like someone has their back. At this point I am convinced that people will stroll into any store they like, with no mask on, just to see if anyone will try and confront them about it.

It is important to note that certain stores have every right to throw you out if you are not following mask guidelines. While the premature move of lifting a mask mandate leaves a lot in fear, we should encourage supporting businesses that are holding strong and still looking out for the safety of their customers. We want to be able to shop and go out in public again, but we want to do it safely. Retail workers are now going to turn into nannies, making sure that they have to reiterate one of the easiest rules ever. Just wear a mask.

Having a partner in the retail world, I hear horror stories of how customers belittle employees on a daily basis. If there is one thing that we have seen this past year, it is that people like to get aggressive if their views are being opposed. Any Twitter thread or Reddit post can show how mad people get when they are asked to simply cover up their mouth and nose during a global pandemic.

It seems like the madness would stop at some point, but lifting the mask mandate is only encouraging more of these interactions on a daily basis. A lot of retail workers are teenagers and they did not sign up to deal with adults twice their age having half their maturity.

As I said before, supporting retail workers in a time like this is essential. Please be aware that they may have gone through something that day they should not have had to. I know that there are a lot of people that are happy the mask mandate is being lifted, and I will be the first one to say that those people are the problem and they are the reason we are going to end up back at square one over a year later.

Retail workers are some of the most underappreciated people in the world, and that is going to be put on full display as more of them have to deal with ignorant people that don’t care for any real life consequences. Supporting retail workers is crucial in times like this, so if you know someone that is a retail worker, or if you see a retail worker that looks like they are going through a great deal, extend a bit of sympathy.

Featured Illustration by Robynn Aviles

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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