By Ethan Huff
Article Source

The land of the free is fast becoming the land of the free stuff army as chaos and crime sweep the nation’s grocery and retail sectors.

Supermarkets are reportedly hiring security guards to keep unpaid-for items in the store while popular retail chains like Starbucks are actually closing stores for the first time ever in some markets, allegedly due to rampant crime.

Howard Schultz, the interim CEO of Starbucks, says employees at the stores slated for shuttering no longer feel safe coming to work because of the breakdown of society in these areas.

“We are facing things that the stores weren’t built for,” Schultz said. “We are listening to our people and closing stores.”

For the first time, the Kroger grocery chain says its profit margins are being directly impacted by theft, while the casual dining chain Noodles & Co. says it continues to find drug addicts partaking of illicit substances in store bathrooms.

In the UK, many grocery stores are also now affixing security tags to cheese and other products to stop people from stealing them.

Covid restrictions resulted in increased crime

Crime really started ramping up after the Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19) plandemic restrictions were lifted. Nearly half of all people surveyed in a poll last month say they are more fearful about going out in public post-covid because of bad behavior and rampant crime.

Back in March, a national online survey conducted by food service research firm Lisa W. Miller & Associates LLC found that 39 percent of people are leery about venturing out anymore. Since that time, that figure has ballooned to 44 percent.

Major cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and New York are among the most hard-hit crime areas. These are the same cities where grocery stores are hiring private security guards and Starbucks is closing up shop.

Government officials, including law enforcement, blame the breakdown on post-plandemic stress, which has pushed more people to buy alcohol and guns.

“The number of aggravated assaults that took place in restaurants increased by 60% from 2018 to 2020,” reported The Wall Street Journal, citing data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“… and the number in grocery stores increased by 73% during the period.”

Pizza chain Mod says there has been an uptick in theft and violent crime at its stores as well. An armed robber recently hit a Bellevue, Wash., location, and this is just one example among many of what that chain is facing.

“There seems to be a layer of stress going into the restaurants, more than it used to,” says Becky Mulligan, Mod’s senior vice president of operations.

As inflation soars and the economy sours, Mod and other chains are expecting even more crime, which is why the chain is installing more panic buttons in its stores and offering emotional support resources for terrorized employees.

Burger King and McDonald’s also say that there are more violent brawls happening in their parking lots post-covid. All the way around, Western society seems to be breaking apart at the seams.

“Nothing is out of the ordinary anymore,” says Kosta Drosos, general manager of Fresh Market Place in Chicago.

Fresh Market Place has been dealing with crime for a long time, but pre-covid it was mostly just the occasional homeless person causing a problem. Now, employees are discovering people shooting up heroin in the bathroom.

The situation is so bad at Fresh Market Place that Drosos says store management has discussed furnishing employees with weapons for their own protection.

“We’ve had incidents where we had to close stores for a period of time, or close stores early,” says Good Food Holdings LLC Chief Executive Neil Stern about his company’s New Seasons Market and Bristol Farms grocery chains, which face a similar plight.

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