The Anxiety Is Real

, , , , | Working | April 6, 2018

(A new worker has been put on the fitting rooms this shift. I walk by him occasionally, and after his first hour I decide to see how he is doing. I check the inspection log and see that he hasn’t completed it.)

Me: “[Worker], have you been trained on fitting room procedures?”

Worker: “Yep!”

Me: “Have you checked the fitting rooms? You need to do it when you first start, and every hour after.”

Worker: “I can’t go in.”

Me: “Are there customers in?”

Worker: “No.”

(Not believing him, I inspect them myself. The men’s is a mess, and I find several tags stuffed behind the handicap chair. I inspect the women’s, and given I am a man, I shout beforehand. I quickly tidy up and sign the log.)

Me: “If no one is in there, you are allowed to go in. With the men’s you can go in anytime, but with the women’s, shout beforehand just in case.”

Worker: “But I can’t!”

Me: “Why not?”

Worker: “The customers might get offended.”

Me: “[Worker], if a customer gets offended by something you have the authority and responsibility to do, there isn’t much else we can do there.”

Worker: “But, the customers!”

(As hard as I tried, he just couldn’t get past the risk of offending customers. I dropped by for the rest of his shift and inspected for him. He was moved onto something else in later shifts, which he fared better with, but he would completely freeze if a customer approached him. Several customers even expressed concern with him — I decided not to tell him about that. Over his remaining time here, he seemed to suffer more and more from anxiety, and he eventually resigned, saying working with other people was probably not for him. I gave him the details for a mental health organisation which helped me deal with my husband’s death. I haven’t heard anything else from him, so I hope he is doing better.)

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