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Maskless grocery shopper invokes Jesus Christ to maintain social distancing

A bystander argues with protestors outside the home of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker
A bystander argues with protestors outside the home of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker
Photo: Boston Globe (Getty Images)

If you’re wondering why McDonald’s is providing de-escalation training for its employees or why some store owners have gotten so exasperated with mask defiance that they’ve decided to shut down altogether, please take a look at the Twitter feed Fifty Shades of Whey, which catalogs videos of tantrums in grocery stores and restaurants around the country. All of the tantrum throwers are full-grown adults who seem to believe it is their constitutional right to call other people names for requesting that they respond to a public health emergency by covering their noses and mouths. It’s fascinating and it will make you want to stay home forever.

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Perhaps the most amazing video was taken last week in a Fred Meyer supermarket in Longview, Washington, where a woman orders her fellow shoppers and an employee, “I command you in Jesus Christ’s name, get out of this aisle! You are a demon! Get out of this aisle! That’s right! Until I can buy something and I will happily leave! I will cast you all into a lake of fire in Jesus Christ’s mighty name!”

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No one was especially impressed with these threats. “Really?” someone offscreen asks. “What is wrong with people?” In the foreground, store managers appear to be consulting each other about what to do about the situation and calling for reinforcements.

Some compassionate commenters suggested that perhaps the rebuking was a symptom of a mental illness. Others wondered what would have happened to her had she been a Black man instead of a white woman. And still others suggested that perhaps problematic customers should be sprayed with water, like angry cats.

No one reported what happened afterward, if the woman was able to get what she wanted, or how the store management dealt with her.

This is a very good time to remind you all to be kind to essential workers, especially those who have to deal with the public. (Like this woman who recites the preamble to the Constitution punctuated with Toastmaster gestures.) The world is insane right now, and they are on the front lines.

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Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

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Assistant Undersecretary of Only Okay

I just have no idea what it's like to only ever put myself at the center of the narrative. Coronavirus isn't about me, and it's not about you, and it isn't about some selfish woman who demands entire shopping aisles. We're all trying to live on this planet, so the good of the whole has to be a concern. Which is to say, have patience and wear a mask.