The only way the government can maintain the pretence of the fake pandemic is by bullying businesses into acting as if there is one. Their efforts to carry on with the charade are entirely pathetic, and deserve to be treated with disrespect and tacit opposition. The businesses might not feel able to avoid carrying out the necessary requests, but it is the manner with which they do this that matters.
For example I strayed into Asda, encouraged by my daughter who wanted some accessories to pretend she was a grown up lady – handbag, dressing table, lipstick and so on, though she’s only recently turned three. She obviously knew what she wanted and where these toys were as she headed straight into the toy section and announced, ‘That one!’ I placed them onto the small shopping trolley, and proceeded to the check out. There was the tiniest hatch so I shoved them through for the check out lady to process. She pushed them back through informing me that I was the one who had to find the bar code and present it to her on my side of the barrier so she could scan it. This was no problem, and I duly found the barcodes and presented as requested, but she then went on, ‘We’re putting signs up all round the store telling people not to use trolleys unless necessary. Had I not seen these?’ she demanded in a school prefect kind of a voice.
I couldn’t be bothered to reply and did not utter a sound or a word. Dragging a three year old round a shop requires both hands to be available, I am sure even she would know, but I held my breath and conserved my energy for the handling of my daughter, not any more of this bureaucratic mindlessness. Instead of leaving it there, faced with my non reply, she blundered on, ‘You can hear me, can’t you,’ she announced, loud enough for the other waiting customers to be able to hear. I just informed her not to worry as I wouldn’t be coming back into such a terrible place ever again, and that shops like hers were finished. Clearly a response she was not expecting, this finally shut her up. I paid my bill and left the bemused shop assistant contemplating the future security of her employment!
Later on back at the wine wholesalers, the usual reception at the till was, ‘Have you got a mask?’ I simply said, ‘No,’ knowing this was just the start of their standard greeting.
‘Would you like one?’ came next as is the normal procedure in these premises. ‘No. Thank you,’ I retorted with no explanation as to why, which is, of course, none of their business.
This brief encounter then met with silence from both parties, her no doubt expecting me to crack into some long-winded explanation.
Masks are too boring to discuss any more. It’s all gone on long enough. We need to move on.
Waiting a few seconds I did move on, calmly enquiring if the bottles I was buying were Chianti Classico, as I had left my glasses in the car and couldn’t read the label.
‘Oh yes they are,’ she bubbled, ‘and very good to drink too’. The fortnightly mask confrontation at Tanners was over. I am still waiting for them to begin with the correct mask request from a retailer, and that is to say to a customer, ‘Are you able to wear a mask?’ That would be a lot more polite. But for some reason the manager at Tanners likes to put his clients on the spot. I notice he’s not wearing a mask himself in his glass office, which just about says it all.
Lastly I asked my wife to drive me to the pub as I had had a few ciders after playing cricket in the hot sun all day, and I was gasping for a pint of IPA (or two). She kindly agreed to do so, and I landed at a bar in the middle of a quiz still going on at 10 pm. I ordered a pint of IPA from the bar maid, and then after she’d already landed it in a pint glass, asked her if she could put it into a plastic cup for me to take out. For some reason she then said, ‘If you going to walk around the pub asking questions, you should be wearing mask.’ I had the beer in my hand by this stage and was about to take a large sip, when the idea of being told to wear a mask seemed the most comical or daft thing anyone could think of. I burst out laughing and was surprised to find the charming bar maid did exactly the same.
Everyone’s had enough of them, with either little Hitlers like the lady getting off on power trips bossing people around in shops like Asda, or most people totally confused about when, where and even why they need to be masked, push a trolley or whatever. One place I would say that no one needs to be anywhere near a mask is when they are half pissed and about to swallow a pint of beer at ten o’clock at night. The charming bar maid never mentioned masks each time I wandered back, and simply smiled the most wonderful smile. My wife waited patiently in the car, and I returned home to a wonderful contented sleep.
My son and his friends at school have invented a ‘joke’. The Lone Ranger walked into Sainsburys, and was asked at the door if he had a mask? ‘What the heck do you think this is?’ he replied. They’re only nine years old, but hey they’re getting the pointlessness of it all.