By Chad Ross, Manager, Industry Relations & Total Store Collaboration, FMI

With help from Root Inc., FMI hosted a virtual session discussing de-escalation (De-Escalate: Tools for Conflict Management in the Grocery Store). Our conversation focused on how uncertainty can lead to fear, and fear can lead to tension. The grocery store is the one central external activity that everyone engages with, and because of this, grocery retail workers are sometimes faced with agitated and on-edge shoppers.

How does a grocery store employee communicate with shoppers, particularly when they are agitated? What should they do when they observe shoppers calling one another out for failure to comply with these requirements? How should the grocery associate ask the shopper to comply? These are questions that store managers face as they navigate mask rules and new safety and sanitation regulations. While no two situations are the same, what we can control is how we approach tense moments that need to be deescalated. Remember to think L.A.S.T:

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We encourage food retailers to download and share the L.A.S.T. tool with their employees and to continue the discussion of de-escalation best practices. Our FMI Crisis Management Guide: De-Escalation guide has additional resources and techniques. 

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