Video goes viral after Costco employee and new hero takes away customer’s cart and kicks him out of the store for refusing to wear a face mask. This brings up the question of what does it actually mean to “live in a free country?”
Let’s take a look at what the laws actually have to say about our rights and freedoms and how the overall good of society is always weighed against an individual’s rights.
The pandemic quarantine is truly bringing out and surfacing the best, the worst and the downright ridiculous in people.
One man released a video of his Costco encounter and then another video afterwards from his home.
In this event a Costco customer refused to put on a mask. Then the customer said he would put the store manager on his “3,000 follower feed” as if to expose him for upholding store policy (aside, are we getting entitled to do whatever we please if we have a small following now?), to which the employee quickly responded by introducing himself and saying he is asking the man to wear a mask because it is their company policy. The customer continued to refuse because he claimed he was “in a free country”. To which the worker calmly responded “Sir, have a great day. You are no longer welcome here in our warehouse. You need to leave. Thank you very much.” and wheeled away his cart (he has probably seen this a lot). (Oops the customer forgot, that while he thinks he is free to not wear a mask, the establishment and its employees are also free to refuse service.) The customer kept shouting after him and saying he refused because he is “not a sheep” and continued swearing, name calling and berating the essential worker and saying “there he goes with my stuff” (well technically it was still Costco’s stuff, and with this man’s attitude where he seems to think he is living all alone in his free country, let’s hope he can farm his own food and treat his own illnesses as clearly he doesn’t believe in a system in society, nor in the policies proposed by experts and establishments, so why go to grocery stores or hospitals or doctors at all ever? One can’t have it both ways, pushing their so-called “rights and freedoms” which in effect sacrifice other’s rights to be safe, and then to get upset that they were denied service when an establishment reserves the right to refuse service to those who don’t comply with safety policies.)
Tison, the Costco employee is now praised as a hero after he handled this irrate customer calmly and professionally, yet with a no-nonsense-in-a-pandemic attitude.
The Costco worker was doing his job upholding store policy that is trying to keep everyone safe, including vulnerable persons and essential workers on the front lines that we all depend on for essential services while we stay safe, as well as health care workers and hospital patients who we are trying to flatten the curve for and not endanger unnecessarily.
This Costco customer continued stating in another video that “I’m not the fucking sheep; y’all are the fucking sheep.” and that “I was one of the only people in that store not wearing a mask, which means you’re protected from me and I’m protected from you… So if everyone else is wearing a mask, then one person should be able to fly, if anything.”
Hmm? Where do we begin explaining logical fallacies or trying to reason with the unreasonable? (Aside, that’s actually why policies and laws are in place, for the unreasonable who can’t take it upon themselves to do the decent thing, like say, not to drink and drive or to wear a mask in a pandemic, especially in higher risk areas).
Masks serve to protect other people from you. If he wasn’t wearing a mask everyone would still be at risk, irregardless of their own masks and efforts. And then there’s the health care workers risking their lives and potentially having to treat him or anyone around him that might sick from his lack or responsibility and co-operation.
He continued to state “It’s not about the mask, it’s about control.”
I am afraid it is people like this guy and some conspiracy theorists who want the control- and not for the good. And thankfully in a rationally reasoning society, they do no fully have it (though mixed opinions on American political landscape can arise here). They are fighting for their rights and freedoms-and no one else’s. But a free country is not an anarchist one where one can do whatever one wants in the name of their rights and freedoms, while running over other people’s rights to be safe or to have policies in their establishment. As in the words of Trevor Noah, from the Daily Show, in his Costco showdown video,
The vulgar way this customer treated the store employee, if in any other setting, would fall under harassment and disturbance of the peace, and might warrant a phone call to the police. But because “the customer is always right” is usually a business strategy in stores (though thankfully not in a pandemic) this type of behaviour and abuse is treated with little consequence, even though there have already been incidents of non-mask-compliant customers physically hurting, shooting or even running over employees with a car-so these incidents have to be taken seriously as there is no doubt they can cause a real threat to the employees as some of these unreasonable customers are unpredictable and not always stable.
In a way I am sad that this man’s videos are going viral and that he is getting views and attention in the worst kind of way.
Everything that has come to light in this pandemic is possibly showing that there are some areas that could perhaps be improved upon in our education system. Graduating high school with a basic understanding of health sciences, the scientific method of thinking (knowing how to question things based on scientifically sound facts and credible research, not simply being a “free thinker” using a ” f*ck the system excuse to do whatever one wants) and some psychology or education on interpersonal relationships and empathy seem quite basic, not only in a pandemic, but just to be better equipped in life as a better human being in general, as well as to potentially prevent abuse and bullying and unhealthy relationships.
Sadly it seems Tison, the Costco manager, though hailed a hero, has also had some haters, but thankfully most of the Twitter community has supported Tison (@Thoff821), saying he really deserves a raise and that not all heroes wear capes. A lot of appreciation for the stress these essential workers have to deal with from customers, as if being at risk on the daily in a global pandemic is not enough.
Many people are also voicing how tired they are of people using their “rights and freedoms” as an excuse to not only be inconsiderate, but also to not follow basic societal rules, safety measures that the experts are putting out, and policies during a pandemic. Because this is such a new event in our lifetime, people are trying to fight the new rules, laws and fines that were put on them for society’s and their own good. So how about we take a look at what the laws actually say about our rights and freedoms, you know for a little education on what our rights and freedoms actually mean before we go using them to entitle ourselves to be an inconsiderate jerk? (Or you can read this to have a logical, factual reply to these so-called “Freedom fighters” as I am assuming most of my readers are nice people).
Because simply being entitled about one’s rights while putting people at risk in a pandemic or say, while running a red light, drunk driving, or harassing someone or trying to force them to do what you want, is not a sign of someone exercising their rights and freedoms in a free country. Nor is going into an establishment where you want service and disrespecting their safety policies and workers upholding those policies, especially in as difficult a time as a pandemic when the policies are just trying to protect people.
The good of society is always weighed against an individual’s freedoms and the laws serve to protect society and the vulnerable.
I am Canadian (and thankful more than ever to be!) so I can only speak for Canadian laws, and well, common sense and the human decency to not create needless problems during a crisis.
We do have rights and freedoms…but there is the important part these “freedom fighters” conveniently forget and here it is taken straight out of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
“..as long as we do not infringe valid laws which protect the rights and interests of others.”
Here are some more texts quoted directly from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
“Since the Charter is part of the Constitution, it is the most important law we have in Canada.”
However, section 1 of the Charter also recognizes that even in a democracy, rights and freedoms are not absolute. For example, no one is free to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre, to slander someone, to engage in religious practices which cause harm to others, to spread child pornography or hate propaganda or to enter or leave Canada without any restrictions whatsoever. Parliament or a provincial legislature can limit fundamental rights, but only if it can show that the limit show that the limit is reasonable, is prescribed by law, and can be justified in a free and democratic society. The interests of society must be balanced against the interests of individuals to see if limits on individual rights can be justified.”
When and how the government can put limits on your rights:
The Charter recognizes that even in a democracy, rights and freedoms are not absolute. Section 1 of the Charter allows the government to put limits on rights and freedoms if that limit:
-is set out in law
-pursues an important goal which can be justified in a free and democratic society
-pursues that goal in a reasonable and proportionate manner”
Hmm I wonder is dealing with a global crisis not an important goal in a free and democratic society?
One cannot be a selective reader when it comes to laws and policies.
And establishments have the right to have policies in place and reserve the right to refuse service. In some places this may now temporarily mean no shoes, no shirt, no mask, no service.
In the case of public protests against quarantine and fines for it: Police officers, uphold the law, and are essential workers. Protesters wasting the policve’s time not only endanger and stress the police unnecessarily, and burden overburdened systems, but also take away from the people who truly need their service, such as victims of harassment, abuse, violence and robberies. (Please note written before George Floyd and has nothing to do with BLM this is about the quarantine protests and unnecessarily making medically advised things into a political stance.)
Even if it is not out of consideration of others, such as the immuno-compromised, essential workers and health care workers (who have to clean up our mess when all we have to do is stay home or wear a mask), think of it this way. There are only a few specialists in each area who can put people on ventilators. If we don’t flatten the curve and everyone gets sick at once, and the hospitals get overrun, and the medical professionals get sick and can’t do their job or even die, then people needing this urgent medical help, which could be any of us, our families or friends, will not be able to get the help. Not to mention the shortages of ventilators and medical equipment and ICU units if everyone goes out without following safe measures and gets sick at once.
In places like North America, to create conspiracy theories about the government being out to get us and wanting to control us by keeping everyone as safe as possible until we have resources to better deal with this crisis, simply does not seem like a mentally healthy way of thinking. It’s as if they really enjoyed the anarchy part of Fight club, but didn’t stick around to watch the movie’s ending. But to each his own I guess, though these protesters and risk takers may change their tune when they actually need a doctor or specialist and realize they do not have the medical education that is needed to treat themselves in a life or death situation, and that no conspiracy theories offer actual better scientifically and medically sound treatments nor factually and medically sound alternatives.
No man is an island, we live in a society. We have street signs, policies, fines, and laws for a reason. We depend on systems and establishments for our survival and protection. They may not always be perfect to us, and in situations like a pandemic there isn’t always a perfect answer as things change drastically every week, but overall laws and policies keep our civilization going fairly smoothly.
And most people, such as medical professionals and essential workers are doing their best with the current situation and have enough stress and risks to deal with as is. It seems unfair, that people who don’t have any regard for what medical organizations or scientifically credible organizations are saying, who say do protests to go to the beach, still endanger others such as health care workers. And in places with limited resources or the potential of huge influx, where doctors have to choose one person over another, some have commented that these folks (who do not care for safety recommendations put out by medical and scientific authorities, or what extra burden they put on essential workers and hospital workers) should abdicate medical treatment for COVID-19 ahead of time when choosing to protest quarantine in order to go to a nail salon. It doesn’t seem right to try and have it both ways, to disregard what doctors, specialists, scientists and systems trying to keep everyone safe have to say, and then to rely on them if they get sick and get others sick. though of course the health care workers will help these people too irregardless, because they are selfless and want to do the right thing.
For those who aren’t concerned because they are young and healthy and not as concerned about the elderly and immunocompromised (for whatever reason), let’s also remember that it is not only Covid-19 patients that would get affected by a sudden rush on the hospitals. Trauma patients such as those from car accidents, and cancer patients needing IVs etc who cant get it, would also get affected if the hospitals get overrun. Not to mention health care workers themselves, who are people too, and also if the doctors and specialists (some which are in short supply) get sick, then we will have less people to help us if we get sick.
If we all do our part, we can flatten the curve, even plank it, and get through this as smoothly and quickly as possible.
In the words of Kendrick Lamar and those echoing his song on their balconies…
To see the Costco video on the news click here.
#weareallinthistogether #wearethepeople #covid19 #staysafe