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

Many retail workers will receive a new kind of preparation for this year’s holiday season: training on how to manage conflicts with customers who resist mask-wear, social distance and store capacity limitations.

The National Retail Federation, a trade group representing about 16,000 retailers, said Thursday it worked with a company crisis prevention organization focused on reducing workplace violence to help retail workers learn how to prevent and escalate shopkeeper disputes. Can be found. Emergence from epidemic restrictions

This training will address the unexpected challenges that store workers are forced to face during an epidemic. Most retailers initially required masks and gaps in stores, but some shopkeepers have violated the rules, putting employees in an uncomfortable and sometimes horrible situation. Attitudes with quarrelsome customers have routinely gone viral on social media this year and as employees try to increase foot traffic through stores, so has violence against employees and other shoppers.

Training In online training, “a key scenario revolves around an employee who tells a customer to wear a mask, and he responds,” said Adam Lukowski, vice president of the NRF Foundation, the business group’s for-profit arm. “There is another scenario where there is a mother and child and she is annoyed. This gentleman is not wearing a mask so the employee has to help make peace.”

Susan Driscoll, president of the Institute for Crisis Prevention, said the training online training program and the accompanying Covid-19 Consumer Conflict Prevention Identity Card “really focused on how to connect your thinking brain to your emotional brain.” It teaches employees what phase of consumer crisis they may be in and how to identify what they can do to worsen the situation.

“It’s very practical,” Ms. Driscoll said. For example, she said that if a shopkeeper is very upset, wearing a mask, the program provides tips on “how to empathize and support verbally and extraordinarily.”

Or, Ms. “When someone is defensive and loses their sanity, you give them a choice or set limits,” Driscoll said.

“Say, ‘Do you want to get out of line and talk through this, or do you want to talk to a manager?'” He continued. “Giving them a choice puts them back in control, and you get them out of the customer’s way and help overcome the crisis. “

The Emergency Management Agency has focused on training health care workers and staff working with children with special needs, but was motivated by the situation facing retailers, M. Driscoll said, adding that de-escalation information has been available since the epidemic began. The organization’s inquiries have doubled. .

The National Retail Federation said it did not have data on the controversy among retailers. But its research shows that consumers want to know what steps retailers are taking to ensure their safety in stores, said Bill Thorne, executive director of the NRF Foundation.

“This is an additional opportunity for our retailers to say: ‘Our staff members are trained. If an incident happens, they will handle it and you will be able to make a safe purchase. Mr. Thorne said. The program enhances the training of many large retailers, he said.