Opinion: Businesses putting profit over employee safety

Balance scales with money being the heaviest and people falling off the top.
Illustration by Mattheau Faught

Businesses are putting customer satisfaction and profit ahead of employee safety, and personally, I’ve had enough.

While many countries around the world have been able to flatten the curve of their coronavirus infection rates, the United States is being held back by conspiracy theorists who view a mask as a matter of political expression instead of a simple act of common decency.

No matter how many times health organizations or trained medical professionals repeat themselves, the message isn’t getting through the solid concrete wall these people call a skull.

So, let me act as the pickaxe that half of this country so desperately needs and hammer out this message for the umpteenth time.

Masks do not prevent contamination. They prevent spread.

One more time for the people in the back: Masks prevent the spread of the virus.

The idea is simple. Much like the Greek phalanx, a military formation used in ancient times consisting of spears and interlocking shields held to each soldier’s left-hand side, the idea isn’t to protect one’s self. The idea is to protect the person standing next to you.

A phalanx required a collective mentality, and with it Alexander the Great was able to conquer the entire known world of his time. But a single weak point in the chain could cause the entire formation to fail.

As a country, our metaphorical phalanx couldn’t even stand in a straight line. Some fell into formation while others ran around in circles screaming about how we should “make the phalanx great again.”

These “Don’t Tread on Me” keyboard warriors and delusional self-proclaimed activists aren’t making a statement by removing their masks in the grocery store. They’re endangering the health and well-being of essential workers who don’t have the option to just leave the building.

Large stores have put up plexiglass at counters and made masks mandatory for all employees. Businesses do this while presenting the front that they care about their workers.

This is a blatant and obvious lie given the scientific data concerning how the virus actually spreads though respiratory droplets. If businesses cared about their employees, then they’d enforce the state mandate and require their patrons to wear masks.

Instead, stores will simply hand out masks at the front door then do nothing to enforce the state mandate once a patron removes it after entering. Some corporations, such as the one I work for, have even gone so far as to actually make non-enforcement a matter of policy.

All businesses are doing is protecting their profit and masquerading behind a façade of concern for employee safety.

This is simply to boost their public image and it’s working on the feebleminded masses like a charm.

Walmart stock was valued at just over $118 at the start of January. Now they’re worth $130, and that number is expected to keep climbing. Kroger’s stock price rose from $28 to $36 during the same time span.

Yet with profits at an all-time high, employees are still being told by higher-ups to ignore customers without masks and serve them anyway. For the sake of “running a business.”

God forbid corporate America misses out on a buck for the sake of their employees’ lives.

Jordan Lackey is the Opinion editor and a journalism major.


1 Comment

  1. I’m wondering where you are getting your information from. My wife works in retail for one of the stores you mentioned. She does her best to ensure everyone wears a mask and refuses service to those who refuse.

    I have many friends who work in retail as well. They have horror stories about people refusing to wear a mask, yet they refuse service to them at the cost of verbal and sometimes even physical abuse.

    My ultimate question becomes, why is it the responsibility of businesses in the first place? Unless law enforcement can do something beside issue a trespass, we have to face reality. It’s not up to anyone working in retail to enforce a public mandate. It’s not even a law friend.

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