Tuesday, December 29, 2020

How to Reconcile Objecting to Mask Wearing in a Store While Recognizing the Property Rights of the Store

At the post,  The Greatest Act of Resistance I Have Seen Against COVID-19 Hysteria, Frank D. raises an important question:

Again, I agree with everything she is saying, so assuming the store policy is "no mask/no service", how do we defend this womans actions?

A few of the commenters made important comments in response:

The NAPster notes:

[C]ontrary to popular belief, libertarians are also regular members of society, so we can criticize decisions made by private businesses.

Indeed, there is nothing wrong with us vociferously objecting to a company policy. Large corporations even have customer complaint departments to handle complaints. There is nothing wrong about complaining about a policy. 

The Contractor adds:

It would be a fun survey to conduct, asking businesses whether they would require, recommend, or ignore health mandates for covid if no state bullies were fining and harassing them.

There is no such thing right now as a business making a private property decision. If they don't require covid compliance, they get threatened with fines and loss of license. I am going through this right now with my daughter's private, for-profit kindergarten.

This is very true. Signs requiring masks may just be a way of corporate signaling to keep the government off of the backs of corporations, the same way we see Black Lives Matter signs on the windows of retailers or the way German retailers had Nazi signs on their windows.

Under current circumstances, it is difficult to determine what corporate intent really is. 

In San Francisco, when an employee approaches me and asks me to put my mask over my nose and I challenge them, they are very inconsistent with their explanations for why they are making the request. They really are confused midget-Maos.

The few times, I have raised the stakes and brought in upper management or corporate, upper levels always apologize to me profusely and tell me they will provide employees with more training.

Alan Stevos, who contacts upper management more frequently than I do, has regular success in walking into stores unmasked.

So at this point, my default thinking is that upper management isn't serious about the mask mandate and the employee is just flexing some midget-Mao muscles on his own. If I were to be provided with evidence that such a mask mandate was a part of actual corporate policy, I would reluctantly pull my mask over my nose and get what I wanted quickly if it was important to me or not visit the store at all.

At present in San Francisco, there are only two venues that appear to go over the top in their demands which indicate they are from higher-ups. Cole's Hardware and The Irish Bank Pub both have lost me as a customer permanently. The bizarre cult sanitation rules at these two places are over the top.

By the way, in my continuing effort to probe the system to see what works and when, I have recently discovered that the best way to deal with a midget-Mao in a large store is this way.

When I hear the "Sir could you put the mask over your nose?" I don't look at them but wave in a dismissive fashion and say, "I have a medical exemption," (which is the case, as Michael Edelstein says, I suffer from CS, common sense) and then walk away.  This lack of direct exchange with them seems to leave them flummoxed. These midget-Maos apparently don't have the courage to challenge me a second time. Contrast this to the past, when I "stood my ground" and debated them. Then it never ended, they always responded even if it completely contradicted what they had said in an earlier part of the back-and-forth.

Just diss them with as little recognition as possible, that seems to put them back in their place as menial unpleasant people who don't deserve respect. 



  1. Whole Foods now requires people with medical exemptions to wear a face shield, a flat, rectangular piece of plexiglass covering forehead to chin. Really the height of ass kissing since no one can claim with a straight face that it prevents the transmission of the virus.

  2. I'm going to start employing this method in stores in a few days, after my personalized, medical ID bracelet arrives (with the words "Asthmatic" engraved on it). I'll carry around an inhaler too, and when challenged, tell them that, per Michigan Health Dpt. guidelines, I'm exempt by dint of having a medical condition. It won't be easy for me, as by nature, I'm non-confrontational.

  3. Thinking about going on the offensive, and asking the employee, who is asking to put on a mask, to pull theirs down so I can understand what they are saying.

  4. A grocery store manager told me that the state (CA) doesn’t care if customers claim exemption. He told me that a customer was recording my unmaskedness and the store could be fined for not enforcing the mandate.

    This was a couple of weeks ago. A couple of weeks earlier I had claimed exemption at the same store with little issue. The manager seemed to be on our side. When I told him I was following the science, that masking most likely caused more transmission of disease he agreed.

    I feel for the manager. But this does have to stop. To stop this enough people will have to stop cooperating. I told the manager that he should be telling the person making the video they are not welcome rather than hassling me. That unmaking heathy people is the best way to get through the pandemic. We will be exposed to the virus, develop immunity, which will be protective to the population.

    He seemed to understand but was not willing to risk his job and the ability of the store to remain open. I understand his dilemma. He has more than himself under his responsibility. And right down the road there is a Sprouts that has a corporate mask policy that does not recognize exemptions. I stopped shopping at Sprouts months ago. Do I now have to find another grocery store? If what this manager said is true, can I find a store that I do not have to mask up in?

    The ignorance is infuriating.

    1. Alex,

      I read your comments here and am always impressed. You are sharp as a tack and as big a lover of human liberty as anyone on this site.

      Have you considered going after the people that might fine the grocery store, rather than the grocery store employees or ownership? Be their superhero, and take the fight (non-violently of course) to the bullies yourself, on their behalf.

      You have nothing to lose. They have everything to lose. If it's hard for us to go after the bullies when we have nothing to lose, just imagine how hard it is for the business.

      Food for thought.

      David B.

    2. David,

      I will go directly to the people that might fine the store. We need to take the fight to all. While I have my reservations as to the efficacy of such tactics, I think it is worth the trouble for a number of reasons. I am disappointed in myself for not already having done this without your prompting as I have directly contacted the cops that are the enforcers in my area; sadly with little response.

      IMO the only way to change the direction society is headed is for enough people to stop cooperating. The people in government, whether they are the megalomaniacal governors and mayors or sociopathic enforcers or simply ignorant and or go along to get along bureaucrats are very unlikely to come to their senses without their senses being disrupted on a regular basis. That probably means we need to do some things we consider insensible.

      Data, logic and reason do not seem to matter to Team Apocalypse. They have been scared senseless by the criminals in the corporate media and government. We need to scare some sense back in them. I do not know how to do this; I do not have the gift of rhetoric. But I do know that we can find evidence, even in the corporate media, government entities and technical outlets that reveal that the new (ab)normal is causing more death and destruction than C-19.

      I understand that this is using data, logic and reason but it also has an emotional aspect that IMO is what has been used as a weapon against facts. “You’re killing grandma.” Well you’re killing Millennials and every generation that comes after the Boomers. I don’t want to make this a competition but they are actually causing more death than the virus not to mention the destruction of livelihoods, the value of currencies, etc.

      I started to save a list of links to articles and documents about the death and destruction caused by the new (ab)normal. Suicides, hunger, poverty, drug abuse, etc. I will update it and send it to the grocery store cops along with the studies that show how ineffective and unhealthy masks are.

      Thanks for the heads up.

  5. I want to say a couple of things here, and I really think every lover of liberty needs to pull their heads out of their you know what, and think!

    Last night I went to a bar in Illinois and had drinks with some friends. I am here visiting family from my home state of Virginia. The bar was open in defiance of pritzker's orders. Cops routinely harass the bar staff and owner. I know this, because I know the owner personally. If the cops come in and anyone is not wearing a mask without actively eating/drinking, they are emboldened to shut them down and fine them more.

    The bartender asked me to put on a mask to walk from the door to the chair. Should I argue with her? Are you out of your ever loving mind to think that she or the bar owner is the freaking problem here? Are you out of your mind thinking that bar owners in states like Illinois have a choice? I gave the bartender a 50% tip at evening end. I pulled my scarf up over my face when I walked to the bathroom.

    Why on Earth are you getting upset with the business owners who are just trying to survive right now, in defiance of bullies and mini-Maos all over who want them shut down?

    I am asking you this as someone who does not wear a mask unless I am asked to. I walk into every establishment with a mask in my pocket. I put it on if they ask, otherwise I pass. And yes I feel terrible for people who are being forced to wear them all day.

    But here's the big point I want to make to you. Stop complaining to businesses. And start complaining to government. Go after the bullies, not the bullied. However you do it (please non-violently), do it.

    As RW knows, I am in a battle over the freedom of my five year old daughter to not wear a mask in my home state of Virginia. Instead of complaining to the private school I put her in this year, I went right after the licensing authority, the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). I have harrased VDSS for 6 weeks now, since they changed the mandate and forced all schools to enforce their mask edict, doing it my way, asking them to prove they examined and can produce scientific literature that shows requiring masks for five years olds will produce a community health benefit. No such science exists of course, so I torture them over and over, and am now moving into lawsuit mode.

    Every liberty lover needs to do what I am doing, in their own way. There are an infinite number of non-violent paths one can take to make the bullies miserable right now. Liberty lovers need to stop bothering businesses (especially small non-politically connected businesses) and they need to start harrasing those who harrass us.

    Know who your enemy is here.

    David B.

    1. I agree. Enemy is the gov't. I attended and spoke in public session time to a county supervisor board meeting who voted on mask mandate in November. All liberal. All at the point of thinking they have the ability to do this (Dem state attorney general said they don't) and it would be effective. Right at the height of the positive cases in Iowa and it was all deeply downhill from there. They admitted afterward it was purely ceremonial, they couldn't enforce it as the state restrictions apply. (which has a mandate too)

      I called them out on very apparent hypocrisy (they were not taking other precautions) twice.

      However, I still think reasonably chatting with business owners and employees will plant the seed. Don't do it confrontationally, as you say, they just want to stay in business and not harassed by gov't tyrants.

  6. There is nothing wrong with making business owners uncomfortable when they are enforcing mask mandates. The state could not enforce this ridiculousness without their compliance.

    1. Kferr,

      Have you tried standing up to the state's enforcers? If not, aren't you just as compliant? Even more so, I would think, as you have nothing to lose by threatening the health inspectors with legal action.

      David B.

  7. I sympathize with the Contractor but I agree with kferr. The enemy is much more widespread than the Contractor suggests. I have fought the government most of my life and although some of the lower level bureaucrats express frustration with me they are getting paid to bully me. I am not getting paid to harass them. Even lawsuits have little impact and on the rare occasions when they do you are still just enabling their system. You are giving them the authority to say yes or no to your plea for liberty. I was stunned last March and April when business people closed shop, crippled careers and social lives just because the government commanded it. I have little sympathy for people who so easily give up their liberty and have no problem making them uncomfortable or putting them in the position of having to deal with government bullies. I am no hero and generally advise staying out of harms way. But the loss of liberty will not stop until more people engage in civil disobedience.

    1. Brian,

      I will think on this. Thanks for your reply.

      David B.

    2. I agree with Brian. Organized civil disobedience up in their face. That's what made the civil rights movement in the South successful in outing Jim Crow laws. And they maintained the moral high ground because the protesters kept their resistance non violent in the face of quite a bit of violence heaped on them.

    3. DesertBunny beat me to my point: Civil Disobedience can't help but bleed-over into the private sector and bump up against private-sector actors: Those "poor" lunch-counter owners in the Jim Crow South were only trying to protect their businesses from being fined by the Jim Crow enforcers, when they hewed to segregationist laws---should the sit-down protestors have pitied them and taken their civil disobedience elsewhere? What about those poor bus drivers in Montgomery during the bus boycott at the dawn of the Civil Rights Era...only complying in segregating blacks from whites in order to keep their jobs, not because they agreed with the policies---should they have been spared the fallout from the ensuing civil disobedience? I think not.
      Everybody's just trying to keep "doing their job," from local cops to state cops to code enforcers to business owners and their employees, etc. etc.---if we spare every person from the inconveniences and discomforts of civil disobedience on the basis that "they didn't ask for this, weren't the architects of all this," then we've lost the war before a single battle has been fought.

    4. Ironically, Sui Juris, it was many of these businesses that were just obeying the Jim Crow laws who initially opposed the creation of these laws because separate facilities meant higher costs. This was most notable in the railroad business where separate railroad cars had to be built for black people.

  8. Neither the people nor the business community are a monolith on this. Some people support the tyranny 100% others the exact opposite and most just unthinkingly go with the flow. Some businesses have been wiped out (most but not all small) and some have done great (most but not all big). The essential/non-essential aspect was a devious and definitive factor of the tyranny.

    IF, and only if, business people could be convinced to band together, even if it were only a small geographic area or a certain sector, a general strike rather than "opening in defiance" could be a very effective way of affecting government suppression of business through these arbitrary and ludicrous health mandates. Think essential businesses like car repair shops, HVAC techs, construction workers, etc. closing in solidarity with restaurants, bars and other so-called non-essential businesses. No nothing until the mandates are repealed. Things would get shaky on a number of fronts really quick.

    1. I have tried to get the local Chamber of Commerce to organize such a strike offering my services but they are not interested. Would rather beg the federal government for money and PPE.

  9. The new Minutemen? Flashmobs of maskless shoppers demanding service and accusing the business of being commie sympathizers:
    Will the revolution be Twitterized - or live?

  10. Living in Iowa:
    Most stores state clearly in their door signs that local mandate require mask wearing. They don't specifically state the store requires mask wearing, just a posting the government has a regulation / mandate. I admire this approach.

    95& mask wearing compliance in public

    I never wear a mask in any store. I may use my hand to cover my mouth for a second while I walk in and an employee is there checking. I've only had one instance of a snot nosed middle schooler confront me about a mask - and her mother quickly swept her away from the scene.

  11. Oh my. Look at all of the little cowards who voted for a ruler and then won't confront the ruler about his/her rules.

  12. I live in one of those 99.9% mask compliant towns, as liberal as SF, and I never wear a mask in a store or anywhere else for the reasons articulated by Brian (and I never pretend to wear one, cover my mouth, or use a neck gaiter, I just walk in completely face naked).

    When customers try to challenge me, I shout them down and let them have it - they always walk or run away. That's easy and fun.

    Employees are usually not a problem either. I have a little nuanced approach. For the few stores/places that I really need to shop at and not get banned (pharmacy for my mom's meds, accompany my mom to doctor's office, and store that has the few items my mom eats/drinks), I will play the "medical exemption" card IF push comes to shove - though by now they know me, so I don't have a problem with them. For the rest of the stores that I don't need to shop at, if an employee or security guard asks for my mask, I say things like "no thanks" and keep walking. If they insist, I say "I'm fine" with a stern voice and mean look. (if they insist a third time, which is rare, I tell them to be quiet, literally). It doesn't go past that.

    That said, I have had problems at coffee shops like Starbucks and Peete's that will flat out refuse to take my order inside regardless of any exemptions (they will offer to serve me outside), but I don't need to drink at those places.

    1. Their coffee is obnoxious swill anyway, so I don't think you lost anything.

  13. If we use the state's idiocy as an excuse to violate our neighbors' property rights, we will never run out of excuses. We're all operating under threat. You don't get to decide how other people mitigate that threat on their property.

  14. A store and many other private organizations (see the federal code) does not have the legal right to institute a policy that violates the law. These are public accommodations and must conform to the civil rights act and laws protecting privacy. The baker case in which the bakery was sued for denying service to the gay customer turned on these laws.
    I recommend reviewing the material at Peggy Hall's site https://www.thehealthyamerican.org/ for a thorough understanding of this.
    We are fighting a plan that ignores, abuses, even owns the law. We better get good at using the tools we have.

  15. So, what does one do when, at the cash register, unmasked, they tell you that they will not accept your cash or card unless you mask up? What then?