This Would Have Been Rude Even Without The Crisis

, , , , , | Right | September 16, 2020

A popular budget clothes shop has recently reopened near me after being shut due to the health crisis. It’s near a local food shop and the staff are going above and beyond to keep everyone safe. There are regular markings on the floor, repeated tannoy announcements, restricted numbers, etc.

I decide to go in and pick up a few things. I’ve been wearing a mask as often in shops as possible even though, at this point, it hasn’t been legally required. Many people in the shop are being extremely cautious, and while it can take a while to get everything together, almost everyone seems good-spirited and equally cautious. I head to the tills and join the queue.

A young woman joins behind me and calls down an aisle to beckon someone over: another young woman pushing an older woman in a wheelchair.

They park the elderly lady in the queue about six inches behind me and, before I can say anything, they rush off back down the aisles. The woman in the wheelchair isn’t wearing a mask.

As the queue slowly moves forward, one of a small group of roughly six young women will run back, dump their chosen items onto the woman’s lap, push her forward to maintain their place in the queue, and again park her as close to me as possible. Two times, they even push her into the back of my knees.

The elderly woman seems uncomprehending of anything around her and not able to move the chair herself.

I manage to flag down a member of staff who explains the distance requirements, and the other women comply until the staff member leaves. Then, once again, they push her right up behind me. 

When I get to the tills to pay after around ten minutes, I hope that’s the end of it. The many shopping women have all congregated around the wheelchair and they move forward to pay. Then, they decide that they need to split the teetering pile of bedding and clothing into several transactions and take over the tills on both sides of me, crossing backward and forward within inches of me, moving items between tills and staff members, and handing them around each other to work out who is paying for each item.

None of them are wearing gloves or seem to give a hoot for the idea of six feet apart.

I finish up my transaction and attempt a few times to move away from the till as they rush back and forth, and I am barely out of the way before one of them dumps a pile of items in front of the operator who served me and begins sorting through it in the same manner.

I can only hope the staff managed to sort everything out and the rest of the queue realised it wasn’t their fault.

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