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Opinion: Burnaby cashier ‘visibly upset’ as anti-masker unloads on her

People need to top abusing staff for enforcing the health orders
Photo contributed

I’ve written a lot of columns about how people should wear masks and highlighting the bad behaviour of those who refuse to wear them despite a provincial health order.

In response, I get daily emails from anonymous trolls calling me a snowflake, a “piss baby”, a Nazi, a communist and more. I’ve also been threatened.

But, hey, I can take it. Thirty years of journalism has helped me develop a thick skin.

You know who shouldn’t have to take it? Frontline workers like servers and grocery store cashiers who are only trying to enforce the rules and, more importantly, protect themselves from people who refuse to wear a mask.

I was sent a first-hand account of an incident that happened several weeks ago at Burnaby’s Real Canadian Superstore. The customer who witnessed it is a senior who was appalled at the abuse this worker had to endure. I’m sharing it as yet another reminder of how low-paid workers are bearing the brunt of pandemic rules.

“I saw a prominently posted sign at the entrance that clearly stated masks are mandatory in the store,” the reader wrote about the incident. “The sign gave me a degree of confidence in shopping there … I looked up and in front of me was a man engaged in a confrontation with a cashier. He was not wearing a mask. The cashier was visibly upset. Even though there was a barrier between the two, the hole for paying is large. The cashier picked up the phone, made a call, spoke to someone and then hung up. She continued to converse with the man who was refusing to do as requested. It was clear it was around the masking issue. The cashier left her cubicle and went and stood against the wall on the exit aisle. A floor walker eventually came and checked out the man’s groceries. The man deliberately took extra time bagging. The floor walker left, the cashier returned to do my order. She apologized profusely for the delay saying she lives with her elderly mother and cannot risk serving people who take no precautions. I told her it wasn’t her fault … I asked if it happened frequently and was told several times a week for her.”

Imagine having that happen to you and feeling the need to apologize afterwards. Imagine having to go to work every day under the threat of being abused by people too childish to wear a mask for a measly 10 minutes in a store.

It’s quite an indictment of our society.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.