The man in front of me at the supermarket checkout had a scarf loosely round his lower face and was ranting at the woman serving him about the requirement to wear a mask.
She responded with commendable restraint, he continued to rant, paid for his groceries and stalked out, still ranting.
I congratulated her on her response. She replied that the man’s ranting was mild compared with some of the behaviour she’d had to face.
Media reports back that up with stories workers in a variety of customer-facing roles having to deal with verbal, and sometimes physical, abuse from people who either don’t know, or don’t care that the people serving them don’t make the rules and even if they’d did, abuse is inappropriate.
I share the frustration people have about wearing masks. They’re uncomfortable enough when the weather is cool, far worse when it’s hot. I also hate the way it’s hard to read people’s faces when masked and harder to recognise people I know.
But customers have to wear them only when in shops, the staff have to wear them all day.
And whether or not you think masks have a role to play in protecting the wearer, and others, from Covid-19, the requirement to wear them is not the rule of people serving us in shops.
Common courtesy should stop people from taking their frustration out on shop staff, and probably would have in the past, but courtesy is no longer so common.
Please, thank you and excuse me are absent from many people’s vocabularies. Holding doors for people with walking sticks, prams or wheel chairs isn’t’ second nature to many; and other aspects of good manners and consideration for others that used to be normal behaviour, appear to be foreign concepts to them.
And far too often doing as you would be done by has been replaced by doing what you feel like, with no heed of the impact it would have on other people.