There have been a dozen retailers, including Gap and H&M, who have collaborated on a campaign to entitle customers to oppose against ill-treatment of retail workers. Initiated by the non-profits organizations Hollaback and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the movement gets a boost as several workers have to face an increasing harassment rate as the higher officials look for every opportunity to enforce social distancing and mask protocols pandemic. Among those who become the targets of abuse are mostly the people of color, especially those with a disability, along with the people who identify themselves as LGBTQ.
The director of Open to All, Calla Devlin Rongerude, openly stated that the campaign’s main motive is not to ask the customers to step in to stop altercations physically but rather to bring in a hand of help to de-escalate the situation and show the workers that they don’t lack support or compassion.
All the retailers who have been participating in the movement will have signage in their stores with a combination of QR codes that will allow all the customers to sign a pledge of support. In addition, there will likely be a tool kit that Hollaback will specially make to present how customers can help, which will include ways of creating a sense of derailed distraction for the abuser while documenting the whole situation through the help of someone else, most probably by bringing him to live into the picture.
Although, in recent times, the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 has slowed down, yet the retailers carry the fear. In that situation, usage of abusive behavior will worsen the situation as many stores anticipate big crowds for the back-to-school and holiday seasons. With more and more states and businesses relaxing the mandate of masks, the customers are experiencing pandemic fatigue at times, and the workers are also worried about their safety. “There is a lot of ambiguity. People have a lot of fatigue. That is when tempers flare.” Rodriguez said in a media report.
Opening up about the ongoing situation, the senior vice president of asset protection at Gap Inc, Chris Nelson, has stated that the chain will witness an increase in the incidents that go against store workers of color. Although, when asked about the numbers, he could not disclose any number.
Nelson also added that they spend a lot of time with COVID-19 responses, but there is another global pandemic, systemic racism. It is not OK and should not be a part of our values.