The Sad But True Reason I’m Staying The Hell Out Of Stores This Holiday Season:

Trump’s love affair with the Fox Network is well-known, and that’s very much in evidence with the co-hosts of the morning show, Fox & Friends.

In early December one of those co-hosts – Steve Doocy, on the left in the image below – appeared to have had an epiphanous moment:

According to the story,

Fox and Friends took time Tuesday to discuss the massive spread of coronavirus and desperate overflowing hospitalizations.  Co-host Steve Doocy brought up a Kansas survey that found some perplexing information – to him.  Wearing masks to protect oneself from being infected, and infecting someone with COVID, works.

“‘In the month of July [Kansas] had a statewide mandate for masks!’  Emphasis his.

“Doocy continued, ‘The problem with Kansas was some counties would actually enforce it; in other counties they would not.’

“‘In the counties that enforced the mask mandate, the number of cases of coronavirus actually went way down.  And in the counties where they did not enforce the mask mandate, it went way up,’ Doocy said in disbelief.

“Then a light bulb went off in Doocy’s head and he said, ‘It means – apparently masks work.’”

I wondered if Trump was watching, and if so, would a barrage of angry, ALL-CAPS tweets follow.

Perhaps along the lines of,

“DOOCY IS A TRAITOR!!!  HE SHOULD BE TAKEN OUT AT DAWN AND SHOT!!!”

Echoing the words of Trump’s campaign attorney, Joe diGenova.

Suggesting that face masks are effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus is, after all, heresy to Trump.

And that’s why – sadly – this has become necessary:

In normal times, brick-and-mortar retailers looked forward to – and counted on – the holidays as a prime revenue-generating time.

And this holiday season, retailers need that revenue more than ever.

But now their anticipation is diluted with a great deal of trepidation:  As the number of shoppers in their stores increases, so, too, will the confrontations between those who wear face masks and those who don’t.

Since the pandemic started – and Trump came out vehemently on the no-mask side – the news has been filled with stories of shoppers and store staff going head-to-head over the issue.  Sometimes the situations escalate into shouts and threats; at other times, into violence:

So it’s no wonder, according to the New York Times article, that:

“The National Retail Federation, a trade group representing about 16,000 retailers, said…that it had teamed up with the Crisis Prevention Institute, a company focused on reducing workplace violence, to help retail workers learn how to prevent and de-escalate shopper disputes that emerge from pandemic restrictions.”

Now, I am no fan of wearing a face mask. 

I’m a touch claustrophobic, and sometimes the mask starts to feel like this:

But I wear it anyway, to try to keep myself safe from others, and keep others safe in case I’m unknowingly infected.

But so many don’t.  And so many of them are going to head out for some holiday shopping, maskless, because they believe some version of this Trader Joe’s customer’s sentiment:

“‘We are in America here,’ she said, ‘Land of the free.’  Then she turned [to]…other shoppers, who were less than amused:  ‘Look at all of these sheep that are here, all wearing this mask that is actually dangerous for them.’”

What possible response can a store employee make to that?

According to the National Retail Federation’s website, there are “four stages of the Crisis Prevention Institute’s Crisis Development Model” to help retail employees “learn to avoid and de-escalate conflict.”

And store employees, managers and security staff will do their best to “de-escalate” this holiday season.

But for me, I’m going for the “avoid” strategy.

And staying the hell out of stores.

And for everone’s sake, hoping that when store owners install signs like this, they mean it:

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