Guardian/iMediaEthics interview: contributing editor Philip Auissara and cashier’s daughter Ellie Chase on the effectiveness of positive discrimination and the fallout from a report of an American cashier dealing with frightening behaviors from customers
Working For Walmart Amid Covid. Every Day Is Frightening.
Every day is scary for me. I have to work, so I go to Walmart every day. I get in the car when I get to work and I breathe. I don’t sleep. I try to go to sleep at a decent hour.
What is wrong with me? I get angry at myself for not doing anything to stop the next experience that might be upsetting. I get so stressed about the people that I work with. Every day is scary for me. If something doesn’t get in my way or I can’t handle it, I literally just leave and say a prayer and wait for it to go away, hoping it never comes back.
For me, work is the best thing in the world. It’s a quick two hours of waking up every day, filling up a tank, buying some cheap food and seeing everybody’s smiles and shaking hands and saying thank you to customers for buying our food.
I get a paycheck every single pay period, so I’m always motivated to do my best. I start at 5am with six customers and two checking lanes to work in. I continue working in there until I run out of money.
I feel like a failure sometimes because I’m not able to stop the scary customers that come into my store. There were a lot of people here that were having gunfights while I was working in here. If I’m having a gunfight in the parking lot while I’m changing some customers’ groceries, is that acceptable? Is that okay? It’s just not fair. I just knew I had to put a stop to it.
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Every day is scary for me – and everyone who is with me. I have five friends and two family members with me in Walmart. There’s people who believe that I’m the one to blame for what’s going on, and we just have to live with it.
I just want everybody to know that these negative incidents never happened to me. These people are all sick. It’s not my fault. It’s not my job, it’s not my company. It’s not my store. It’s not my company, so please don’t try to blame me. I’m not there to wait for people to harass me. Stop bringing these people to my store.
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Ellie Chase has worked for Walmart in California for five years. She is the daughter of Cashier Elizabeth Chase, who was forced to watch as customers threatened her with a gun and told her they would shoot her. Elizabeth and Ellie spoke at the US Department of Labor in Washington DC last month on what is known as Positive Discrimination, about how they are dealing with stress, and the psychological and emotional impact of negative experiences they experience while at work.