Letter: No one should have to risk health while shopping

Graphic by Lori Deaton

In response to Mike Rapier’s letter “‘COVID Police’ Don’t Really Care About Community” [July 22, Xpress]: Mike, please read Mindy Brennan’s letter about her father dying of COVID-19 alone because family and friends weren’t allowed to visit him, in an effort to prevent the spread of infection [“My Father Died Alone,” June 22, Xpress]. It might shine a light for you. …

And in response to Mindy: I, too, am appalled at what I’m finding at Ingles supermarkets, even after they “changed” their policy to “require” facial coverings. I’ve put those words in quotes because their change appears to consist of zero enforcement beyond posting an unobtrusive sign at their stores’ entrances.

On July 25, I counted nine people without masks at the Ingles on Leicester Highway at a slow time when I saw fewer customers than staff. A couple of days earlier, my husband counted 27 people without masks in under half an hour inside the Ingles in Marshall.

Ingles corporate management apparently doesn’t value the health and safety of its customers and workers enough to actually enforce facial covering in their stores. Shame on them.

At this point, even big-box stores like Walmart, as well as a wide range of small, local businesses, are ensuring that all customers and staff wear masks. There’s no need for anyone to risk their health and safety at retail stores that refuse to implement this very simple and effective measure to hamper contagion.

If any store where you’ve been a regular shopper refuses to enforce facial covering, please take the time to talk to its manager, say that you won’t be coming back, explain why — and if the manager isn’t the owner, write to corporate management.

We’ve got plenty of better alternatives. Let’s give them our business and let stores that don’t require masks know why we won’t be coming back.

— Tricia Shapiro
Spring Creek

Editor’s note: Xpress contacted Ingles CFO Ron Freeman with a summary of the letter writer’s points relating to the company, and we received the following response: “Thanks for your comments. We want all our customers and associates to wear masks. Masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and will help all of us return to conditions before the pandemic. Our stores have masks available to help customers voluntarily comply with mask requirements. There are medical exceptions to mask requirements. We are providing management inquiries, in-store announcements, enhanced awareness signing, plexy shields at point-of-sale contact, one-way aisles and extra hours for cleaning to provide a safe shopping experience.”

Also, CNN reported July 26 that Walmart, despite its new rules requiring masks, will continue to serve customers who aren’t wearing them.


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6 thoughts on “Letter: No one should have to risk health while shopping

  1. Richard Howard

    I agree with Tricia Shapiro as I have seen the same situation across our mountains. I have long felt, even before COVID-19, that the basic problem is the fact that employees and management usually feel that what’s appropriate in the home environment is good enough for the business environment. Further, with so many careless, ignorant “me-first” knuckleheads in today’s society, people simply will not act in uncomfortable ways even though it’s the wisest procedure to slow or prevent an illness that can quite probably kill you. It’s a testament to our society’s current makeup; years ago I heard a wise man say that it takes only one generation to have a population largely composed of fools. Stupid parenting produces stupid people; compulsory military service and home economics instruction for young people would help change the situation. Sorry for the bleak opinion but the truth sometimes hurts.


    • tapabocas

      What does military service have to do with it? The ones not wearing masks are often the more redneck types or also refuse to wear bike helmets. As well, Trump refused to wear a mask. It stands to reason that the military guys are often the skull-busting wingnuts who would go around without mask. I’ve never been in the military, but I always wear a mask. How can it be explained?

  2. luther blissett

    I’m not a fan of mask-shaming: more flies with honey, etc. Public health officials say the same thing.

    Masks suck and we all should be wearing them in those situations. Large retailers should be handing disposable ones to those who don’t have one, but we shouldn’t expect low-wage employees to have to police this. Walmart has checks at the door, but its retail employees tend to be a lot older than those at Ingles which probably helps in dealing with grown-a** adults having temper-tantrums. At the same time, its management discourages escalations.

  3. C-Law


    You are not at risk shopping with or without a mask on, however mask away to your heart’s contentment if you like. I will decline to do so.

    The mask and distancing programs you have put undue faith in have nothing to do with your health or safety…it is a battle for your mind. This is a program of psychological conditioning and manipulation. You really ought to regain and exercise your ability reason…discerning reality from fantasy.

    Even “Luther Blissett” points out the long used tactic of discrediting people who do not to go along with social norms. People who refuse to wear masks are castigated as uncaring, selfish and pose a danger to everyone else.

    No doubt this is social conditioning for the acceptance of mandatory vaccinations. Those wearing masks have been fooled into believing that they are morally superior and that their actions show that they have some deep concern for the safety of us all, despite the evidence proving otherwise. B.F. Skinner had something to say about this as well. In “Beyond Freedom Dignity,” Skinner says that people can be persuaded into behaving in certain ways out of a fear of being rejected.

    “People who get along together well under the mild contingencies of approval and disapproval are controlled as effectively as (and in many ways more effectively than) the citizens of a police state” (Skinner, Beyond Freedom Dignity.)

    In other words, those wearing masks are doing so out of a deep-rooted fear that they will be perceived as contributing to the problem, or not caring about humanity. They will then viciously defend their actions because they have been led to believe that their compliance represents a moral superiority. The totalitarian seeds germinate.

    People wondered after the end of the Second World War how the average, “good” German (only a minority of the citizens were actually Nationalist-Socialist party members) could allow to stand and participate in such an obviously immoral and evil regime. Same seeds, same methods, same crop as has been long-sown here in America. COVID-1984 is just another brick in the Wall.

    All totalitarian systems work to undermine their subjects’ sense of reality. To break up any relationships that are not mediated by the system. To get their subjects to say and do and go along with things that compromise themselves. To create a system that is a whispering gallery, in which virtually everyone is engaged in a system of surveillance. We are compromised every time we nod our head along with something we don’t believe to be true, and every time it happens, we lose the strength to refuse the next time. The purpose of communist propaganda was not persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate. Therefore, the less it corresponds to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are told to repeat the lies themselves they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is eroded and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. Over time we lose the perspective necessary to even know the difference between truth and lies.

  4. Mike

    Q: Why do my glasses fog when wearing a cloth mask in a cold grocery store.

    A: Air follows the path of least resistance. The mask DOES impede airflow to some degree. So most of the exhale goes up the “twin chimneys” on either side of my nose where the mask crosses the bridge of my nose and creates two gaps between mask a cheeks. (Inhale follows the same path.

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