Unmasking the Virus: A Retail Diary of the Plague Years (Volume 2)

June 18, 2020

He was a large man in an expensive suit, and he was yelling into his cell phone as he walked through the entrance.

“Don’t tell me that! Don’t you dare tell me that! It was supposed to be done last week!”

He had on a Rolex watch, a spray tan, and no mask.

“Sir,” I said, preparing to give him the company spiel about safety protocol.

Without looking in my direction, he held up his index finger and continued to yell into the phone. Of all the fingers in all the worlds in all the galaxies, I hated that finger the most.

While he was standing there, a little old black lady slipped in the front door quiet as a church mouse. She wore a fabulous weave, a dress that looked like it was made from numerous doilies, and a handmade floral-print mask. She was so stooped over she looked like a human question mark.

“Thank you for wearing the mask,” I said. “We’re also asking people to observe social distancing.”

“Okay, baby,” she said. “I got you.”

I expected her to start shopping, but she just stood there behind the man in the suit.

Finally, he got off the phone, and I told him he needed to wear a mask in the store.

“I’ll just be a second,” he said. “I’m picking up a book for my wife.”

“I understand,” I said. “But we still need you to wear a mask. If you would like to wait outside in your car, I can get the book for you and bring it out.”

He gave me a smug look and said, “No, that’s not necessary, boss. I know where it’s at.”

“In that case, I need you to wear a mask.”

“But I didn’t bring one,” he said.


The man practically jumped out of his Armani suit. He spun around and found the black woman glaring up at him.

“It’s in your back pocket,” she said, pointing with a long wrinkled finger. “Right there.”

“Oh, right,” the man mumbled.

He put the mask on and started to walk off.

“And stay six feet away from other people!” she yelled after him.

We’re not allowed to applaud customers, but lady, trust me when I say we were giving you a standing ovation.

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