Grocery Store CEO Gives Out Her Number to Customers Refusing to Wear a Face Mask


Enforcing face masks has often become part of the job for some grocery store and retailer workers.

One supermarket CEO decided to take the burden off of her team and handle any and all mask disputes herself.

King Food Markets CEO Judy Spires came up with an innovative way to handle customers who didn’t want to wear protective face coverings when entering one of the chain's 25 locations.

If someone walks in without a face mask, they are handed a packet that includes a complimentary mask and a card explaining why face masks are a requirement, according to "TODAY."

Towards the bottom of the card is Spires’ personal cell phone number, which customers are encouraged to ring if they have any questions or concerns.

"This is something that we really thought long and hard about. I didn't want our associates being put in any kind of situation where they had to deal with a customer who was refusing to wear a mask," she told NBC News referring to the many now-viral videos of customers getting angry and hostile with employees who are enforcing masks.

"The buck stops here. I want to be responsible and if there's a problem that needs to be taken care of that could escalate, I don't want to put that on anyone else but myself,” she added.

She hopes her personal approach diffuses any conflicts that may arise.

"It breaks my heart. I mean it's just a simple thing, it's not 'Big Brother' trying to control us," she said. "It's us begging you, 'Please help me keep my people safe so they can be here to serve you.'"

Spires recalls one customer who wasn’t interested in following the rules, but other than that, most customers have embraced the policy and appreciate her going the extra mile to protect employees and customers.

"I've received so many wonderful letters from customers thanking us, thanking our associates, celebrating our associates," she said. "It's really protecting our associates and keeping our customers safe at the same time."

Spire said employees are trained to support the shoppers who cannot wear masks for medical reasons.

"Our teams are instructed to also let them know that we have curbside pickup for their next shopping trip or online ordering and get it delivered to them that way," she said.

Kings Food Markets is all about safety. In addition to the mask policy, all locations have plexiglass shields at registers, sanitizing stations that are set up throughout the stores, and signs directing foot traffic.

The focus on safety seems to be paying off as the company hasn’t had any positive COVID tests since April when five employees were initially diagnosed.

"People, please don't let your guards down. We've come a long way. We know that as we work together, we can do this," she added.

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