As America reopens, firms see a surge in dangerous habits

The crime is over. The spirits are high.

Businesses across the United States are struggling with a staggering increase in the number of people who can only be described as “badly behaved”.

Retail workers have been subjected to horrific attacks because of their race, gender, or disability. Flight attendants were verbally – and occasionally physically – assaulted. Aggressive driving has resulted in road anger with fatal consequences. Buyers argue in the aisles.

Experts point to increasing stress levels as a trigger for the increase in this type of incident.

The not so friendly sky is skiing

In May, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant had two teeth knocked out by an angry passenger, according to police who arrested the woman in San Diego. This was just one of the most recent examples of airlines grappling with an unprecedented onslaught of confrontation.

“We can say with confidence that the number of reports we have received in the past few months is significantly higher than in the past,” said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA is tracking incidents involving problematic passengers and says face mask-related issues contributed to this.

Union officials have described the situation as an “epidemic of aggression and attack”.

Alcohol can also be a factor. Both Southwest and American Airlines have decided not to resume the sale of alcohol on board for now due to the unruly behavior.

Perpetual bans for NBA fans

The return of NBA fans to the arenas is a welcome sight for the league, which reportedly fell $ 1.5 billion below revenue expectations last season as the pandemic resulted in lost ticket sales. However, the return of fans has brought a number of new problems.

In Boston, for example, a 21-year-old Celtics fan with a dangerous weapon was charged with assault and assault after lifting a water bottle from Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving as he left TD Garden.

In New York, Trae Young was spat at by the Atlanta Hawks during a playoff game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. And Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook was showered with popcorn by a fan when he left the pitch with an injury.

“To be completely honest, this s — is getting out of hand. … The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans who just do whatever they want to do … it’s just out of pocket,” said Westbrook in a press conference after the game.

The league issued a statement on the recent behavior and subsequently changed its fan code of conduct.

“The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is important that we all show respect for players, officials and our fellow fans,” the NBA said.

Many of the teams involved do not tolerate the bad behavior and indefinitely ban rude fans from participating in future games.

“Something is going to happen to the wrong person and it’s not going to be good,” warned Portland star Damian Lillard.

Retailers are joining forces

It’s not just sports stadiums and arenas. The retail sector is also seeing an increase in bad behavior, often targeting employees. According to Emily May, co-founder and chief executive of the nonprofit Hollaback !, retailers are seeing an alarming surge in discrimination, with ground staff targeting their identities while enforcing security measures.

“With the rise in hate violence – which is at an all-time high – frontline workers are more vulnerable than ever,” she said in a statement.

It’s gotten so bad that at least a dozen retailers, including Gap, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Sephora, have teamed up to work on a campaign with the nonprofit Open to All.

“We are trying to create a movement where everyone comes together to promote the values ​​of inclusion and safety, where we can all be safe, accepted, and be who we are,” said director Calla Devlin Rongerude.

“We weren’t in the crowd, we haven’t negotiated rooms with lots of other people for a long time. I think we are no longer able to be human with one another, ”she added.

As part of the campaign, participating retailers will have access to a toolkit and other resources to support the frontline workers.

Grown men argue over Pokémon cards

“The safety of our guests and team members is our top priority,” Target said in a statement.

The retailer said Pokemon cards have since returned to the store, but customers are subject to a strict purchase limit of two packs per guest. Sales of MLB, NFL, and NBA trading cards are still limited to Target’s website.

Remember “the golden rule”

Whether it’s aggressive driving or temperament in restaurants, gas stations or little league games, the bad behavior is caused by a combination of factors, according to Thomas Plante, professor of psychology at the University of Santa Clara.

“We have a tsunami of mental health issues out there, with anxiety and depression,” Plante said, adding that our collective stress levels have never been higher.

People juggle multiple stressors, he said. Including: pandemic, death, illness, job loss, homeschooling children, isolation and other challenges. This frustration can lead to aggression.

There is also “observational learning,” said Plante, explaining that when people see bad behavior all around them, even from so-called role models, they are more likely to repeat it.

“People model the behavior of others, especially highly valued models like … well-known politicians,” said Plante. “People look at how they act, which was pretty bad, and they go and do it too.”

What will reverse the trend? Plante’s suggestion sounds like something you might hear from the pulpit or a parent: treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself.

“People have somehow got out of practice to behave in public and in a polite civil society,” said Plante.

The Golden Rule can help us get back on track.

Correction: This article has been updated to indicate that Ian Gregor is a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

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