Retail workers endure unfair abuse from angry customers

Published 9:48 am Monday, September 14, 2020

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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.
DEAR ABBY: My situation concerns my significant other’s 18-year-old daughter. I have been dating (now living with) “Frank” for two years. I have been a big help to him. With a healthy diet and loving care, I have helped him to lose more than 50 pounds, which got him off insulin that we were paying $250 every 10 days for.
I have always been nice to his daughter, “Franny,” on the rare occasions I have been around her. I wasn’t in the picture when her parents divorced. Frank’s family, i.e. sister and son, have accepted me, and his sister tells me often how much she loves me and appreciates all I have done for her brother.
Franny, on the other hand, refuses to visit him or even call him “unless he gets rid of me.” He loves me, but I worry this is breaking his heart. He naturally loves his daughter.
The reason she says she hates me is, I’m older than he is — actually, quite a bit older. Should I approach her to talk about it, or should I just leave things as they are? — “OLD” GAL IN THE SOUTH
DEAR GAL: You are not responsible for Frank’s pain or his daughter’s attempts at emotional blackmail. Leave things as they are. The person to talk some sense into Franny is her father, not you.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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