There are many valid exemptions to wearing a face mask. For more about that read my August 12, 2020, piece on the topic.
I have never worn a face mask in a grocery store. For more detail on that, please see my May 2, 2020, piece on this topic.
Many write me about this topic. The most common face mask request I receive is how a person can exercise an exemption at their grocery store.
This has work
Step 1.) Look up the store’s phone number online.
Step 2.) Take out a pad of paper, write the date, time, and phone number.
Step 3.) Call and ask for the manager, writing down the name of anyone who says their name. If asked, your reason for calling is that you have a question about the face mask policy. If the person on the phone claims sufficient authority over the topic, just talk to them.
Step 4.) Say to them “I am unable to wear a face mask safely,” may I still shop with you? I was thinking of coming by this afternoon.
Step 5.) Be patient. Don’t say anything. Let them have their turn. Don’t interrupt. Listen. Take notes.
They will A.) Say “yes,” B.) Offer to shop for you, C.) Say “no,” D.) Ask you more about your condition.
Step 6.) If they say “yes” (88% of the time), you are all done. Congratulations. That was easy. After completing the next step, just go shopping. If they offer to shop for you (10% of time), get your shopping list and go to the store. If they ask about your condition, which they almost certainly won’t (1% of time), tell them you aren’t comfortable talking about it. There are lots of good reasons not to go down that road with them. If they say “no” (1% of time), ask to speak to someone else.
If you encounter one of the very few managers who deny you entry, and refuse to let you speak to someone else, please honor their property rights, go shop elsewhere, and try again during a different shift. And by all means, make it a point to call their corporate office about the matter.
Step 7.) This is very important. Ask this: “So should I ask for someone at the door? Or what should I do when I arrive?” This is a question that will get you a higher level of service. The person on the phone will likely suggest you ask for them or another manager. Get the name of anyone you should ask for. Be sure to use that name when you arrive.
This is an important step, because often a manager doesn’t want you standing in line unmasked; a manager doesn’t want you freaking out other customers; a manager doesn’t want you lingering around the store unhelped.
Because of this step, I am often escorted to the front of the line (some cities still have two hour long lines for groceries, and the people living there put up with it). Because of this step, my presence in the store will often be announced across the employee communication channels and employees will be instructed not to harass me, nor to allow anyone else to harass me. Because of this step, I am given white glove service at the grocery store, the same level of service I hope you are granted for your bravery. I’ve never in my life been treated like such a valuable customer at the grocery store.
Please don’t cause a scene. Calling ahead of time is the right way to do this. Tensions run high at the door. Approaching a face mask compliance checkpoint unmasked puts you at a disadvantage and may put the person manning the checkpoint unnecessarily on edge.
Please don’t avoid the trouble of making this phone call. This three-minute phone call is vital to the process. It peacefully, respectfully, and reasonably resists a one-size-fits-all medical order.
Please don’t go into the store with a mask, even if you are just in a hurry. If you have a legitimate reason not to enter a store without a face mask, don’t push yourself to wear it. Instead, push yourself to stand up for yourself and your legitimate and honorable boundaries. There is little that can be more important than spending five of ten extra minutes on this. Please vow today to never again wear a face mask at a store.
Some point out that freedom isn’t free. No one is asking you to spend your Christmas in a fetid French trench. No one is asking you to storm Omaha Beach. No one is trying to get you to travel half a world away in the mind-numbing name of “defense,” and to undergo all manner of horrors.
What I am asking, is that you take this unpopular stand and not wear a face mask if you are one of the many millions of exempt people.
Don’t avoid the grocery store. Don’t avoid the unpleasantness of the phone call to a manager and the tiny risk of uncomfortable, but calm confrontation.
Your liberties are being incrementally denied you and denied many others. You are stopping the picking away at freedom with this seemingly tiny, but incredibly meaningful act.
When 100% of people stop complying with the face mask orders, the face mask orders are null. They’ll be null long before then.
When 100% of people comply with face mask orders, there will be a goggles order, and a face shield order, and a visor order, and a hermetically sealed helmet order, and who knows what else.
You do the world a great favor when you don’t wear a face mask. You do the world a favor when you fit into an exemption and live your life unmasked.
In this specific situation, and in many others, you do so much for the world by identifying your boundaries, communicating your boundaries, and defending your boundaries.
Let me leave you with the story of three men who did exactly that. I wrote August 1, 2020, about the narrative that they want you to believe. They want you to believe that there is not now, nor has there ever been opposition to the whittling away of liberty.
I got this from a reader in response.
In 1933, when Roosevelt closed the banks, my great-grandfather, Marion Hezekiah (Kye) Holden, old man Hendricks and old man Chitwood (that’s all I ever heard them called) saddled their horses and rode into town … Atoka, Oklahoma. When they arrived at the bank, they pinwheeled the horses up to the front door. Each man had a Winchester laying across the saddle horn.
There was a U.S. Marshal on either side of the door. Old man Hendricks got down and went into the bank and withdrew all his deposits in gold and silver coin. He returned and re-mounted. Then Kye did likewise, followed by Chitwood. They were the only ones that got their gold and silver deposits out of the bank.
The U.S. Marshals never moved.
For my own well-being, I have not once complied with a face mask order, and I have no intention of ever complying with a face mask order.
I hope you will join me.
Are you with me?
Send me your stories from the checkpoint and help me put an end to this tyranny.
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