At the very least, people are being assigned to do a job with insufficient training and support from their employers, rendering those so-called mandates largely meaningless platitudes – and, in most circumstances, impossible to carry out properly.
Ask Christopher Vanderpool, a former "health ambassador" for walmart wire, the nation's largest private business. Vanderpool did not receive “special training to help make the procedure as easy as possible for customers,” as indicated in Walmart's announcement of the mask requirement.
“The management just told me to ask a customer to put on a mask, and if they didn't have one or didn't want to wear one, let them in without one,” Vanderpool told Vox. Despite Walmart's promise to train health ambassadors to "work with customers who show up at a store without a face covering to try and find a solution," Bloomberg reported in July that a two-minute Walmart training video specifies that associates "should simply allow the maskless customer inside and alert a member of management to determine the next steps, which are not detailed."
Vanderpool was never shown the footage, and he told Vox that after allowing an unmasked person into the business, he saw no further enforcement. Furthermore, his attempts to enforce the rule were extremely difficult.
“It was outside the store where I received the most threats and encountered the most enraged customers, who would hurl expletives at me as I tried to do my duty to safeguard public health,” he claimed.
The example of Vanderpool exemplifies the disconnect between what firms say publicly and what they do quietly. Other retailers, such as CVS, Walgreens, and Lowe's, have admitted to not enforcing their own policies due to safety concerns.
In July, Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, told CNN that if companies "are not asking customers to wear a mask within their store, then they never had a necessity." “All they had was a public relations stunt,” says the narrator.
In his own words, Vanderpool describes what it was like to be on the front lines of the mask issue, and why he's standing up to help other workers who are still there.
The length and clarity of this interview have been altered.