WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Employees in retail, entertainment and food service across the country have been policing customers to adhere to health and safety guidelines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Claire's in Jordan Creek Town Center, a pair of employees voiced their frustration with their wages and what they said is a lack of respect from customers.
They shut down the store Sunday by posting two handwritten signs.
"Sorry! We are closed due to the fact that Claire's does not pay or appreciate their employees enough. We are tired of it! Bye"
The other reads:
"PSA: CUSTOMERS: Retail workers are tired. Stay kind & respectful, or stay home. This location has run 2 good people ragged."
Lindsay Crowe of Roland was on her way out of the mall after shopping with her kids when she noticed the sign. She snapped a picture.
"At first, I was like, well, what happened?" Crowe said. "I thought, 'Oh, they're a bunch of teenagers and they didn't want to work anymore'. But then I thought about it and I really liked the second part because I've noticed a huge uptick in just, you know, customers being really rude to service workers."
Crowe said her original intent was to share the photo with her friends and family on Facebook as a reminder to be kind to service workers. In just 24 hours, Crowe's post was shared more than 1,000 times.
"It was really fast," Crowe told Local 5. "And I didn't know that I would end up reaching the two women. And so I got to hear their story a little bit."
Crowe said she has tried to be more mindful and kinder to service employees during the pandemic, as they have to be on the front lines and are often policing customers to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.
"I give these people a lot of credit and think they have a lot of courage," she said. "And I think we can all be nicer because we want good people working these jobs, and we want these stores to remain open."
Claire's left a comment on Crowe's Facebook post: "Thank you for notifying us about this. We appreciate it and will be investigating this immediately."
Claire's sent this statement to Local 5.
"Claire’s, as a result of the pandemic, has faced staffing challenges like much of the retail and service industry. We value all of our employees and are constantly working to allow each individual to prosper through competitive pay, benefits and personal growth. We will continue to strive to be a great place to work."
This isn't the first social media post sharing frustrations of service workers.
Last month, owners of 5 Borough Bagels asked customers for patience:
"Right now, restaurants are severely understaffed. Food and service workers are exhausted and are continuously being mistreated on a daily basis."
Some restaurants, like Dublin Bay Irish Pub & Grill in Ames, temporarily closed to give workers time off because of limited staffing.
Recently, some owners are giving sign-on bonuses to recruit workers.
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