Last October, a woman in our very own Santee, CA, berated Starbucks employees for asking her to wear a mask. It went viral – people couldn’t comprehend this grown adult throwing a tantrum before their eyes. She walked out saying, “This is America and I don’t have to do what you say!”
Watching this video made me count my blessings as a barista. I work at a cafe with a strict mask policy and have to enforce the rules every day. Some people are kind about it, understanding that even if I didn’t agree with the rules, I didn’t think up this policy in my own spare time. Some are not so generous. Here are those stories and how I wish I could have handled them.
Me: Do you have a mask to wear?
Anti-Masker: I’ll go somewhere else!
What I wanted to say: Thank you for wasting your gas on this conversation.
(after being asked to put on a mask)
AM, after putting on a mask: I would normally turn around and leave.
Me: Well, what can I get for you?
What I wanted to say: I wish that this was not the exception.
(AM complaining about the mask policy)
Me: It’s better to be on the safer side.
AM: No it’s not, this is all a money-making scheme from the vaccine companies.
Me: Okay, what can I get you to drink?
What I wanted to say: And yet, it’s not making me any money.
Me: Do you have a mask you can put on?
Me: Okay, we have one you can wear.
AM: Actually, I have one.
What I wanted to say: Behold, the great magician who can make a mask appear out of nothing.
Me: Would you mind putting on a mask?
AM: Yes, I would. But I will because I’m in a rush.
What I wanted to say: This woman can outrun a virus!
There are only two times I actually said what I was thinking:
AM: Tell them the cases are all a lie.
Me: I’m not going to tell them that.
AM: Okay, I’ll tell them.
I assume she did, and yet our policy remains unchanged.
AM: You really think these help?
Me: I make minimum wage, I don’t know.
If you don’t believe in the effectiveness of masks, ordering your coffee is not the time to make your stand. Baristas do not make enough money to deal with this delusion of “freedom fighting,” we make enough money to serve coffee and talk about the weather.
By: Sarah Cooper