Anti-mask shoppers find themselves publicly shamed
Videos and photos of in-store shoppers purportedly behaving badly have been going viral on social media for years, but the occurrences have spiked in recent weeks as some shoppers rebel against face mask mandates.
Last Friday, a woman at a North Hollywood Trader Joe’s was filmed cursing, slamming her shopping basket to the ground and calling employees and shoppers “Democratic pigs” when confronted about not wearing a mask. She is heard saying mask mandates violate federal laws. Millions watched the video on social media over the weekend with the incident earning widespread news coverage.
She later told an ABC News affiliate she had permission from the manager to shop without a mask, has a medical condition and was cursed by a male shopper for not wearing one. Trader Joe’s said her story was false and that a manager offered to shop for her while she waited outside, but she refused.
Two days earlier, a woman attempted to publicly shame a barista at a Starbucks in San Diego with a Facebook post after he asked if she had a mask. The women wrote in her post, “Meet Lenen from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I’m not wearing a mask. Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption.” She took a picture of him wearing a face mask and included it in the post.
The post led to an outpouring of support for the barista. A GoFundMe page, entitled “Tips for Lenin Standing Up To A San Diego Karen” started by a stranger has raised over $100,000. The barista plans to use the funds to pursue his dream of teaching dance and donating to the San Diego community.
Other incidents include a man trying to fight his way into an Orlando Walmart after being told of a mask requirement, a group of shoppers in a Staten Island ShopRite vilifying an unmasked shopper until she left and a Costco employee calmly escorting a man refusing to wear a mask from the store.
Retailers generally respond to such incidents by restating their mask policy.
- Woman Kicked Out of Trader Joe’s for Refusing to Wear Mask, Blames ‘Democratic Pigs’ – Newsweek
- Woman speaks out after mask tirade at Trader Joe’s store in North Hollywood – ABC7
- Starbucks Barista Gets $87,000 in Donations After Customer’s Mask Complaint – The New York Times
- Tips for Lenin Standing Up To A San Diego Karen – GoFundMe
- Woman Who Shamed Starbucks Barista for Refusing to Serve Her Without Face Mask Speaks Out as Barista’s GoFundMe Grows – NBC San Diego
- Video shows angry Florida man trying to fight his way into a Walmart after refusing to wear a face mask – Orlando Weekly
- Shoppers at Staten Island grocery store scream at woman for not wearing mask – CBS News
- ‘This isn’t about the mask, it’s about control’: Costco customer asked to leave after refusing to wear a face covering – USA Today
- Face Mask Confrontations Go Viral At Retailers, Starbucks – Mediapost
- The Problem With Politicizing Face Masks – Refinery29
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the viral shaming of shoppers who refuse to wear masks on social media more of a positive or negative development for retailers? How should and can stores respond?