Retail workers fear for their safety: 'An anxiety attack waiting to happen'

By Suhauna Hussain, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

GameStop did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

A Nordstrom store in Westfield Santa Anita mall in Arcadia began counting customers at the door last week, when Newsom rolled out new occupancy restrictions. Sales associate Samuel Thorne, 28, said he's been stretched thin as the company gears up for the holidays due to layoffs and cutbacks brought on by the pandemic.

Thorne often handles the kids department, which he said can get "a little crazy" because people have been cooped up at home for so long.

"Families are looking for any excuse to get out of the house," he said. "Kids have tons of pent-up energy and don't quite understand masks and social distancing, so it makes it stressful and difficult when you see the lack of awareness from families coming in to shop."

Besides rambunctious children, Thorne said he hasn't had any troublesome customers yet. If he's asked someone to fix their mask or offered one to a mask-less shopper, they go along with it.


Nordstrom did not respond to requests for comment on the company's COVID-19 safety measures.

Thorne advises that if customers absolutely must shop in-person, they should make a game plan ahead of time — create a list of the items and know what sizes they need, in order to get in and out quickly. Thorne also suggested shopping solo because bringing the whole family in tow just increases the risk.

"Retail therapy is definitely a thing people seem to be taking advantage of," Thorne said. "I would hope people just understand we're people too."

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