DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Fuming mad over masks.
Some retail experts say the increasingly hostile pushback from some customers who rebuff the face covering requirements are putting business owners in a no-win position.
“It’s very important for the health and safety of both the employees and the customers,” says Gary Huddleston, Grocery Industry Consultant and spokesperson for the Texas Retailers Association.
And yet, Huddleston admits that employers are not pushing workers to confront those customers who refuse.
“When there’s that confrontation at the front door, it doesn’t turn out very well.”
Over the weekend, one of the latest meltdowns over masks unfolded at a Dallas Fiesta grocery store and it was caught on camera.
A witness tells CBS 11 that the customer had worn a mask into the store; but, then later removed it as she waited in the checkout line.
The woman refused to replace the face covering when a manager approached her and then unleashed a profanity laced tirade, all while flinging her groceries from the cart all over the floor.
“Everything that I’ve heard from the smart people: wear a mask, social distance, and stay out of closed space,” says Tracy Harker while running errands in Dallas in his mask.
He says he doesn’t understand the pushback to taking small measures to protect others. “I’m concerned. I’m old enough that I don’t want to fight it.”
And yet the fight over face coverings isn’t confined to North Texas.
In California, a chain of taco stands decided to close temporarily, citing exhaustion over constant conflicts with guests refusing to wear masks.
The company telling customers in a social media post, “staff have been harassed, called names, and had objects and liquids thrown at them…” Then adding in bold type, “A mask isn’t symbolic of anything other than our desire to keep our staff healthy.”
Cedar Hill Police earlier this month released surveillance video of an as yet unidentified customer who shoved a female employee to the floor after being asked to wear a mask.
If caught, the man is facing an assault charge.
“In the retail business we want to treat customers extremely well and that’s another reason that it’s very difficult for our employees,” says Huddleston.
Some who see no problem with the face coverings believe mixed messaging on the virus threat is to blame.
“When everything reopened, I think everyone was like ‘well, coronavirus doesn’t exist anymore’ because everything’s opening,” adds Larissa Spies, “when in fact, that’s not the case. People just need to be smarter about what they’re doing.”