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Retail Workers Face 'Abuse and Violence'

Samantha Clarke was sucker-punched in Modesto, Calif.
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 7, 2020 1:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – For weeks Samantha Clarke calmly listened to the insults and threats directed daily at her and her employees by people who learned they couldn't enter the Modesto, California, store without wearing a mask and following other coronavirus-related rules. But never, says the 17-year veteran of retail sales, did she expect she'd be sucker-punched and knocked to the floor, blood gushing from her battered face. Not until it happened. "I've been at this particular job 17 years and I've never heard of anyone being attacked, ever," Clarke said. After Clarke put photos of her bloody, bruised face on her personal Facebook page, it was shared thousands of times, prompting her to create a separate page, "Retail Life During COVID-19," which attracted tens of thousands of followers, the AP reports.

Several comments came from others who say they work in retail too and since the pandemic have been faced with an unending string of abuse. "My co-worker was spat on by a person who wouldn't wear a mask," said one person who works in retail. Others posted news stories of attacks occurring around the country, including at a Flint, Michigan, Dollar Store where a security guard was shot to death last month after telling a woman she couldn't enter without a mask. "We are hearing an increasing number of reports of abuse and violence directed against retail workers who are doing their jobs by asking customers to wear face masks or comply with other guidelines intended to protect their own safety," says an official at the National Retail Federation.

(Read more retail stores stories.)

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