The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Combatting the issue

Target is one of few stores that has been able to address the issues with security by hiring and implementing a store-centered security team. 

“It helps that we have those two teams together to de-escalate [the situation]. Partner with security if you can’t de-escalate, that’s all we can do,” Inalod said. 

It’s like sticking a bandaid on it; it causes more customer issues because we have to open the doors for them, and it takes time.

— Chris Ramirez

However, hiring a store-focused security team is costly and challenging for some stores, leaving them struggling to combat violence. That struggle has employees looking to larger powers, such as the government, to solve the issue.

“I think more government spending, through education [would help], because I feel like it’s not as targeted as it should be,” Smith said. “I think government spending goes to things that aren’t necessary. The less wealthy areas are overlooked, especially by the government.”

While Inalod and Smith mentioned long-term options, short-term choices, like Target’s practice of locking up high theft items, are what many retail workers are resorting to. Throughout Target, several signs inform customers that they are required to get an employee to open the glass doors due to the high demand for those products.

“It’s like sticking a bandaid on it; it causes more customer issues because we have to open the doors for them, and it takes time,” Ramirez said. “They try and break the glass all the time, but they usually stop once they see us looking at them.”

As for retail workers themselves, Smith and Inalod provided similar advice; never encourage customers’ behavior and do not use escalating words. The saying “the customer is always right” is the quickest way to escape a situation and avoid a more significant problem. Although the expression might not always be accurate, customers often stick to their beliefs, and siding with them may keep employees out of dangerous encounters. 

“At the end of the day, all you can do is just agree with what they’re saying because it will keep escalating otherwise. Those types of customers are going to be everywhere; violence is [always] going to be everywhere,” Smith said.

*This name has been changed to protect the anonymity of the source, in accordance with Carlmont Media’s anonymous sourcing policy.

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