For the past few weeks I have been spending time with my daughter, on Vancouver Island, she lives in a smallish village with very pretty town centre. The town council have decided to keep box stores and franchises out of their community so it is really enjoyable to browse round the assortment of small, mainly family owned, stores all of which seem to be thriving in the busy little village.
Qualicum Beach is largely a retirement community and it was pleasing to see so many or the shoppers putting on their masks before entering stores. There are fairly strict Covid protocols being adhered to with hand sanitizer prominently placed by the doorway and one way systems in effect where possible. I was however, shocked to see that nearly every store had a sign stating that abusive or threatening behaviour to staff members would not be tolerated.
It seems so unlikely that this apparently peaceful, law abiding community would need to have these sort of signs posted. However I witnessed two upsetting events where a staff member was belittled and verbally abused. The first was in the local thrift store, one of my favourite haunts, where the staff are all volunteers. I was waiting to pay for my new (to me) outfit and observing protocol by standing on the line of tape, when an man, my age, came inside the store and walked straight past the hand sanitizer, with its large “please use” sign, The clerk called to the man to please use the sanitizer. He refused saying it was poisonous, so she offered him a pair of new, plastic gloves from a full box of gloves, sitting on the counter. He came out with a string of abuse about controlling women and ridiculous rules, he ended with the F word, then turned and left.
I felt a bit shaken and I was not even on the receiving end of his diatribe, the clerk was also about my age and obviously upset but she said it was all part of the job and most people were nice. The other instance was at the grocery store with someone who was asked to not put her reusable bags on the counter, to fill them. She remarked that for years, the store had been encouraging people to use them and went on to complain about stupid rules and regulations in a very loud voice. Not particularly offensive but how often do clerks hear this sort of grumbling every day.
While I certainly understand the frustrations of having to deal with all the restrictions of today’s world, and wonder how happy we will be in winter, if we have to stand, shivering in line, outside the bank or drug store, this is part of our world until a vaccine is not only created, but widely used, and we had better learn to make the best of it. Acceptance is not giving up ones rights, it is common decency, and if you don’t like having to deal with it, there are ways to avoid it. Almost anything can be ordered on line and delivered right to your door, including groceries, Restaurants offer delivery so if you don’t like the way things are, you have alternatives. I also have rights, those of being able to shop in peace, without listening to you spouting off about rules. If you don’t like the way things are, stay home or go and live off the grid and hunt for your food, I don’t think there are rules posted in the bush!