People are becoming increasingly aggressive in stores due to the measures to curb the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), according to trade federation Comeos.
At least 75% of store owners had to deal with aggressive clients over the past few months, Comeos said.
“It often concerns verbal aggression but sometimes physical aggression as well,” said Déborah Motteux of Comeos.
"The shopkeepers also hardly have any rights to take action against aggressive customers,” Matteux added. “They can only call the police and it sometimes takes some time for them to intervene."
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“It is mainly the measure of individual shopping that leads to a lot of misunderstanding among customers,” she said, adding that the rule is “difficult to explain” as the rule applies even if the store would be empty.
The trade federation wants to see the rule abolished. “Not only because it is detrimental to shopkeepers' turnover, but also because in our opinion it leads to more aggression.”
It is not the only rule leading to more aggression, however. On Friday, a man was refused service in an ice cream shop in Lanaken, in the province of Limburg, because he wasn’t wearing a face mask, leading him to shatter the plexiglass counter with a metal napkin holder.
The man, who had his two children with him, was identified and has been arrested.
Comeos organises workshops for store owners on how to deal with aggression, and due to the increased requests, it has added extra workshops, according to Het Laatste Nieuws.
The Brussels Times.