Today, went to the local vegetable market, a health food type store (they sell bulk flour and grind your own peanut butter), a restaurant supply store (bulk New Mexico chile powder) and Costco. For Father’s Day, my wife and I walked to the local Baskin Robbins. I also hit a Safeway earlier last week. Here’e the report.
The state of California, while warning us they could change their mind at any moment for any reason, has decided that, as of last Wednesday, people who have been fully vaccinated don’t have to wear masks or even social distance anymore, even in stores. For now. So I, whose medical records are nobody’s business, cannot be required to wear a mask. I’ve been gritting my teeth and pulling out a mask when physically in the stores, because some, like the heath food and produce markets, are little mom and pop operations, or close enough to it, that a Karen or two could put them out of business; others are huge chains that hire minions whose lives I don’t want to complicate – having some lowly clerk have to harass you after some Karen has harassed her seem to be getting the wrong people in trouble. I just pull it off the second I pass through the door on my way out, and put it on as I walk in. I was supposed to be wearing it even outside – which is where I drew the line.
So: Produce Market. Mom and pop level store. No sign out front regarding mask wearing. Maybe 50% of the patrons were masked up. Clientele is largely not of western European extraction, and thus their attitudes toward doing exactly as the government tells them tends to be more – flexible. I’m happy to report that these good folks have generally gone easy on enforcement. The owners have an American flag and a God Bless America sign up on the wall. Employees were all masked. B+.
Harvest House, the health food store. I was worried. A few months ago, they had instituted a ‘no self-help on the bulk bins’ policy, which struck me as crazy. You had to wait for a store employee to fill up your plastic bags with whatever you were buying. Annoying. So I feared they would be more toward the Karen end of the scale. No sign out front about their masking policy. As I came in the door, an employee – masked – greeted maskless me cheerfully. So far so good. Then went back to get some bread flour (much cheaper in bulk, at least around here) and – all the don’t touch the bins! signs were gone. And maybe 30-40% of the patrons were maskless. Pleasantly surprised. Employees were all masked. B.
The restaurant supply store had printed up signs simply stating the governor’s new rules. Maybe half the patrons were maskless. Employees were all masked. B.
Costco had large, professionally printed corporate-level signs up about the state’s current recommendations. Maybe 60% of the patrons, and all the employees, were masked. B-.
Baskin-Robbins had no sign I could see, might have been one, but must have been small or poorly placed. When we got there, we headed for the door when a masked woman waiting outside told us they were only letting so many in at once, and she was next, and that they required masks. We’d been patronizing this particular Baskin Robbins for decades – they used to have $1 cones, and are a 20 minute walk from home, so we’d sometimes take the kids by. That has now ended. We walked all of another 1 1/2 blocks to where *2* other ice cream stores are located, picked one, and walked right in without masks and got some ice cream cones.
Baskin Robbins has decided to go the extra mile to appease Karen, and so has lost me as a customer. I sent them an email to that effect. F.
Finally, Safeway, the huge grocery store chain, posts the governor’s rules. I was disappointed that a sizeable majority of patrons (and all employees) were masked. C.
All that training to do as you are told and stick with the group can, one hopes and prays, backfire. If people see that most other people are not masked, they will start to want to skip it themselves. Alas, we have yet to reach that tipping point. Smart money says we won’t, or, if we do, the rules will change again.