157 - Retail violence: Baseball bats

Defence or fighting? Videos of owners using force on customers

Both of the video examples in the link below show altercations that happened in the US.

However they link to legal situations that we have covered in workshops in the past week - are you defending yourself or will you be seen as a willing participant in the offence of fighting?

In the past, any use of force by a business against a customer in a retail setting was a literal minefield of possible litigation. Last year though, new laws were introduced with little fanfare that allowed UK business owners and employees to use force on any person seen to be not following mask/distancing restrictions so there are some considerations here above just analysing tactics or technique etc.

Both videos show a business owner using a baseball bat as a weapon against a customer, neither of these examples go to plan.

In the first video, the owner uses a classic Dos Manos push to the chest of the customer driving him very forcibly out of the premises. However, the bat slips out of his grip - perhaps adrenaline effects and lack of training this tactic - and he drops it.

He then follows the customer out of the shop and very poor MMA type responses can be seen from both parties.

Customer 2, who is filming, lamely, videos the events while shouting about legal repercussions etc.

When the situation started:

The customers should have left.

The owner would have lost his justification for weapon use and force.

“What are you going to do? Hit me with a bat?” should be a familiar script to trainees and readers from previous articles.

This is goading, it escalates the confrontation.

Filming is not a shield that stops harm coming to you. Using this as some sort of threat while not removing yourself from harm’s way is stupid.

You are demonstrating that you take no responsibility for your own safety and look always to a higher authority to protect you. Think! Leave!

When the customers were pushed and ejected, the door should have been closed and the police called - in fact, this should already have happened.

Leaving the premises and following the customer is fighting. Depending on the local laws, if they had started trashing the place then force to stop that may have been legal but that is not happening here.

Both parties are out of emotional control and want to fight.

The second video shows a male and female that are visiting a bakery business to challenge the owner about her policy of refusing certain customers.

The signs outside clearly show that the owner refers to certain customers as “Maskholes” along with other divisive comments - hardly a professional business ethic - which is probably why her business looks empty.

A screaming match ensues about “rights”.

The owner makes the mistake of what can be perceived as aggressive encroachment toward the customer, who then claims that the owner has touched her despite having her hands in the air and then shoves her.

Immediately the owner goes to retrieve a baseball bat from the counter area and returns stating her right to use reasonable force.

This is a challenge and results in the predictable, yep you guessed it…

“I fuckin’ dare you!”

Pulling a weapon with absolutely no idea how to use it can be a massive mistake as the owner is about to find out.

She allows access to the weapon by the other woman.

People will not always have fear of the weapon itself rather your visible intent to use it - the other woman simply snatches it from her hands and the fight is on!

This incident ends badly for both parties.

The owner is beaten in her own business, disarmed and robbed…of her bat.

On the floor , she asks for her bat back while showing her mobile as a threat to call for police.

The two customers/crusaders are so sure of their aggrieved status that they visit the ,very disinterested, looking police and try pressing charges, while waving a bat around.

To their surprise the female is arrested. The male argues and is then…arrested.

Like the first video, these two idiots should have left when asked clearly. Refusing in the idea that you will win some kind of victory is stupid.

They went for a confrontation and …got one.

I have some sympathy for the female owner in the fact that two on one is a very intimidating situation and she went for the bat in her defence.

However, in polarised times like these with mentally ill people (I would class all parties in these videos as displaying worrying lack of judgement and mental health) on both sides of a polarised society everywhere - to draw attention to yourself with aggressive insults to other people’s choices on the front of your business is to invite challenge - a challenge she was obviously ill prepared for.

As the saying goes, “Life’s hard. it’s harder when you’re stupid” - all of these people decided to make their own and each others’ lives just that bit harder.




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