- Viral videos show anti-mask customers acting out at Target and Costco.
- A woman in Arizona destroyed a mask display at Target, asking employees "because I'm wearing a $40,000 Rolex, I don't have the right to f— s— up?"
- Another video shows a woman at a Costco in Oregon sitting on the floor and refusing to move when an employee asked her to wear a mask.
- The coronavirus pandemic has created a new crisis for retailers as they deal with anti-mask customers harassing and, in some cases, assaulting workers.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Anti-mask customers are creating a crisis for retailers, as employees at stores like Target and Costco have to handle customers throwing tantrums and destroying displays.
Over the weekend, a woman uploaded a video of herself destroying a mask display at an Arizona Target. In the video, a woman identified by The New York Post as Melissa Rein Lively yells "this s— is over" and "f— this s—," until she is approached by two Target employees.
"You let everybody else do it," Lively says. "I can't do it because I'm a blonde white woman? Because I'm wearing a $40,000 Rolex, I don't have the right to f— s— up?"
In a follow-up Instagram Live video, in which police appear to be in Lively's house, she claims to be a spokesperson for the White House and QAnon. On Twitter, Lively tweets frequently about QAnon conspiracy theories.
Video of the encounter went viral over the weekend, with many mocking Lively's actions with the hashtag #TargetKaren. ("Karen" has become a meme-able shorthand for white women acting in an inappropriate, entitled, and sometimes racist fashion.)
Target and Lively did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
In another video that was posted online last week, a woman refuses to wear a mask in a Costco warehouse in Oregon.
When an employee asks the woman to wear a mask, the customer demands to speak with the employees' boss. The employees responds that the boss will also require her to wear a mask, but that he will speak with her outside. In response, the woman sits on the floor in protest and refuses to move.
Costco did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. The company was one of the first major retailers to require customers to wear masks at all locations, making masks mandatory in early May.
This is at least the second viral video involving a Costco customer refusing to wear a mask. In May, another Costco employee went viral for enforcing the retailer's mask policy, with people applauding the worker for taking a stand against an anti-mask customer.
Anti-mask customer present a looming crisis for retailers and restaurants
The pandemic has created a new crisis for retailers as they attempt to figure out how to deal with anti-mask customers. A growing body of research indicates wearing masks can be key to preventing the spread of the coronavirus. But, a minority of aggressive, anti-mask customers are harassing workers — some to the point of violence.
Maria Resendiz was assaulted while working at McDonald's in late June after asking a customer to wear a mask. The 19-year-old fast-food worker told Business Insider that the customer told her "I don't need no Mexican b—- to tell me what to do," before grabbing and hitting her through the drive-thru window.
"I just want to tell customers not to disrespect us," Resendiz said. "We're humans as well."
Read more: A 19-year-old McDonald's worker was assaulted after asking a customer to wear a mask, revealing a growing crisis in the restaurant industry
Resendiz is just one of many workers who have faced violence from anti-mask customers. As some cities and states require people to wear masks in public, these workers can end up attempting to enforce local requirements, even if their employer has no set rules on customers wearing masks.
A Waffle House employee in Aurora, Colorado, was shot in May, after asking a customer to wear a mask. In early May, a Family Dollar security guard was shot and killed in Michigan after telling a shopper she needed to wear a mask. The shopper's father shot the security guard in the head later that day.
"In 30-plus years of studying retail and crisis situations, we have never seen a situation of customers being so rude to hourly employees," Larry Barton, a professor of crisis management and public safety at the University of Central Florida, told Business Insider's Mary Hanbury in May.
Some restaurants decided that anti-mask customers are creating too many problems, and are reclosing dining rooms to avoid confrontations. Restaurants in states including Texas, California, and Michigan have said that they decided to shut down dining rooms to protect staff after workers faced harassment from anti-mask customers.
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