Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Stay ‘Safe’ vs Close the Business

 

The little antique store (in Wisconsin) where we have our booth finally opened for business with reduced hours. Because many of the working dealers (there are no paid employees) are elderly, they have chosen to give up their workdays. This reduces the number of dealers available. A couple of dealers who are willing to work and are taking shifts for others, have demanded that everyone, worker and customers, wear masks in the store. My husband and I worked yesterday and it became immediately obvious that we were only there to turn customers away. The first customer wore a mask, so we pulled up our ‘cattle-rustler’ bandanas and made the sale. The next six customers did not have masks and we had to tell them they could not enter. A car pulled up, people started to get out, they read the Masks Required sign on the door, got back in the car, and drove away.

Antiques is a highly word-of-mouth dependent business. Since we felt it would have been more profitable to turn out the lights and go home, I called the owner and explained the situation. She agreed that from her perspective, masks could be optional. But because of the workers who refused to work without the requirement, she would not have enough staff to open the doors. (Not sure what the difference would be if you are turning them away at the door.) So after a little dust-up, citing the viability of the business, and stating that we were fine with no masks, she allowed us to take the signs down. Ninety-five percent of the customers who came in after that did not have masks (I kept track). No one made a point of socially distancing. There were plexiglass guards and we cleaned counters, etc regularly during the day. We did a fair amount of business in the six hours we were open, and many people told us how nice it was to just get out of the house.

We then went to the small downtown to pick up dinner. Yikes! There wasn’t a parking place to be found – all the restaurants and bars (and this is Wisconsin, lots of bars), were packed, with people outside waiting or eating/enjoying their beer outside. People were milling around the riverside park. Social distancing? You’ve got to be kidding; piles of people going about their Saturday night ‘let’s have a night out’ rituals. All ages, including children; not a mask to be seen. It looked ‘old normal.’

While I understand that there are certain groups of people who need to take extra care, and they should, businesses that have just endured a shut-down will need to make arrangements to reflect the ‘released from prison’ mentality of the population. The antique store owner was taking a poll of all the dealers to see what the mask policy should be in the future. If she continues to require masks (to some undetermined point in the future), we may need to find another location if we expect our little hobby business to remain viable.

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  1. Arahant Member

    Interesting. Thank you for bringing your observations here.

    • #1
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:38 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Those stupid “people” refuse to obey their Rulers and Betters. They are unable to remain in prison for their own good, and insist on taking undue risks with the Public Health. Is it time to apply real locks to their prison/home cells?

    • #2
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:39 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It’s a tough call, trying to satisfy everyone in these awkward times. Some people have been made to feel scared. In some cases they should be–at least cautious. Other people are so nonchalant they have no appreciation for the feelings of people who might actually be vulnerable to one degree or more. I am surprised at the extent of antipathy towards masks inside the store being exhibited by your customers. I would put a sign on a table at the entrance explaining your dilemma, apologizing for that which is really out of your control, offering free masks to those who don’t have their own, and asking for your customer’s understanding of this temporary situation.

    • #3
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:46 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Juliana: But because of the workers who refused to work without the requirement, she would not have enough staff to open the doors. (Not sure what the difference would be if you are turning them away at the door.)

    This seems like the most salient point. 

    Presumably the staff stuck around after the mandatory mask sign came down?

    • #4
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:56 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Juliana Member
    Juliana

    cdor (View Comment):

    It’s a tough call, trying to satisfy everyone in these awkward times. Some people have been made to feel scared. In some cases they should be–at least cautious. Other people are so nonchalant they have no appreciation for the feelings of people who might actually be vulnerable to one degree or more. I am surprised at the extent of antipathy towards masks inside the store being exhibited by your customers. I would put a sign on a table at the entrance explaining your dilemma, apologizing for that which is really out of your control, offering free masks to those who don’t have their own, and asking for your customer’s understanding of this temporary situation.

    There is a Menards in town that is requiring masks – and they will sell you one for 99 cents. I’m not in favor of making people purchase something in order to enter my business. All of a sudden the Home Depot, literally less than a block from the Menards, always has a full parking lot. People need to do what they need to do if they are vulnerable.

    • #5
    • May 24, 2020, at 11:26 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Juliana Member
    Juliana

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Juliana: But because of the workers who refused to work without the requirement, she would not have enough staff to open the doors. (Not sure what the difference would be if you are turning them away at the door.)

    This seems like the most salient point.

    Presumably the staff stuck around after the mandatory mask sign came down?

    It was just my husband and myself, so yes, we had a good day.

    • #6
    • May 24, 2020, at 11:27 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Juliana Member
    Juliana

    I think part of the problem I was having with this is – should people who are vulnerable/afraid be able to determine whether my business succeeds? I cannot sell my inventory if customers are not allowed in the store. I believed the government-induced shutdown was random, but I understood the financial risk of opening ($25,000 fine). But at this point, when we are allowed to be open, I cannot find a reason to turn away customers. Some other path must be found to keep our dealers safe and the store open for business. But there are strong personalities on both sides and I hate to see even this small group of otherwise friendly people become polarized and accusatory.

    • #7
    • May 24, 2020, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  8. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    cdor (View Comment):
    asking for your customer’s understanding of this temporary situation.

    Why do you feel that this is a temporary situation?

    • #8
    • May 24, 2020, at 12:32 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Hoyacon Member

    Thanks for this. Reading these “slice of life” stories from elsewhere in the country at Ricochet have been nice.

    I haven’t been to Wisconsin much but every time I’ve been there has been fun and relaxing. Except for the time I was stuck in traffic in downtown Milwaukee because they were digging up everything in sight. :)

    • #9
    • May 24, 2020, at 1:35 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. DrewInWisconsin Doesn't C… Coolidge

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I haven’t been to Wisconsin much but every time I’ve been there has been fun and relaxing. Except for the time I was stuck in traffic in downtown Milwaukee because they were digging up everything in sight. :)

    Milwaukee streets were planned out by drunk Germans.

    • #10
    • May 24, 2020, at 3:11 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  11. Hoyacon Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Ham-Fisted Bu… (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I haven’t been to Wisconsin much but every time I’ve been there has been fun and relaxing. Except for the time I was stuck in traffic in downtown Milwaukee because they were digging up everything in sight. :)

    Milwaukee streets were planned out by drunk Germans.

    Need to add that this wasn’t a great day anyway. I was trying to get to a famous, old German restaurant for some Brats and when we got there, it’d gone out of business awhile ago. I tried the door anyway, it was open, so in true Wisconsin fashion we went in and walked around, and actually could’ve had a picnic.

    • #11
    • May 24, 2020, at 3:48 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Arizona has been pretty sensible all through this (Republican Governor) and restaurants are open. Today, we went out to look at plants,. My wife is higher risk so she wears a mask (for what it is worth). We went to Lowes and they won’t let anyone in the garden shop. You have to walk the length of the store to the main entrance (about a half block) to enter. Once you reach the main entrance there is no apparent reason for the requirement. You are just expected to walk the length of the store again to the garden shop. We left and went to a local nursery instead. Home Depot did the same thing last week and even had an employee stationed at the entrance to the garden shop to turn anyone away. I assume there must be some legal theory behind this. 

    • #12
    • May 24, 2020, at 5:21 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. JustmeinAZ Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    You are just expected to walk the length of the store again to the garden shop.

    That is a little odd. We’ve been shopping at our local nurseries all along, and our Walmart does not have that requirement. A few years ago before our Fry’s market completely closed their garden section they blocked off the separate door into the garden area because they were having too much theft leaving out that door. Maybe Home Depot and Lowes don’t have enough employees back at work to man all the entrances.

    • #13
    • May 24, 2020, at 5:30 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. MiMac Thatcher

    I would be afraid to run a business w/o requiring the staff to wear masks-who wants the potential liability? We desperately need the legislature to pass laws clarifying and protecting businesses liability if they take reasonable steps. 

    • #14
    • May 24, 2020, at 6:19 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    You are just expected to walk the length of the store again to the garden shop.

    That is a little odd. We’ve been shopping at our local nurseries all along, and our Walmart does not have that requirement. A few years ago before our Fry’s market completely closed their garden section they blocked off the separate door into the garden area because they were having too much theft leaving out that door. Maybe Home Depot and Lowes don’t have enough employees back at work to man all the entrances.

    They had enough employees to station one at the door to the garden shop. Makes no sense. Good for the nurseries. Plus it is Tucson and it was 94 today.

    • #15
    • May 24, 2020, at 7:24 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I was trying to get to a famous, old German restaurant for some Brats and when we got there, it’d gone out of business awhile ago.

    John Ernst’s or Karl Ratzsch’s? :-)

    • #16
    • May 24, 2020, at 8:45 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Ham-Fisted Bu… (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I haven’t been to Wisconsin much but every time I’ve been there has been fun and relaxing. Except for the time I was stuck in traffic in downtown Milwaukee because they were digging up everything in sight. :)

    Milwaukee streets were planned out by drunk Germans.

    True fact: Some of the bridges across the river in downtown Milwaukee are at an angle because the founders on either side of the river didn’t get along and intentionally mis-aligned the street grid.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milwaukee_Bridge_War

    • #17
    • May 24, 2020, at 9:35 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. Keith SF Member
    Keith SF Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Ham-Fisted Bu… (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I haven’t been to Wisconsin much but every time I’ve been there has been fun and relaxing. Except for the time I was stuck in traffic in downtown Milwaukee because they were digging up everything in sight. :)

    Milwaukee streets were planned out by drunk Germans.

    True fact: Some of the bridges across the river in downtown Milwaukee are at an angle because the founders on either side of the river didn’t get along and intentionally mis-aligned the street grid.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milwaukee_Bridge_War

    I’m disappointed that the Milwaukee Bridge War wasn’t about a card game.

     

    • #18
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:43 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  19. Hoyacon Member

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I was trying to get to a famous, old German restaurant for some Brats and when we got there, it’d gone out of business awhile ago.

    John Ernst’s or Karl Ratzsch’s? :-)

    It was Ratzsch’s. The outside was still very decorative (at least then) and, with the door unlocked, the inside was at least accessible if empty. Alas, no food. We made up for it with a trip to the War Memorial on the lake, which was very moving. They even had a girder from one of the Twin Towers. 

    • #19
    • May 25, 2020, at 8:20 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):
    asking for your customer’s understanding of this temporary situation.

    Why do you feel that this is a temporary situation?

    Because I have no reason to believe otherwise. Why do you not feel this is a temporary situation? I understand that the lefty tyrants will bleed this for all it’s worth. But after the November election the fear-mongering will be of little value. 

    • #20
    • May 25, 2020, at 10:24 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    I assume there must be some legal theory behind this. 

    You know what “they” say about making assumptions…

    • #21
    • May 25, 2020, at 10:27 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    cdor (View Comment):

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):
    asking for your customer’s understanding of this temporary situation.

    Why do you feel that this is a temporary situation?

    Because I have no reason to believe otherwise. Why do you not feel this is a temporary situation? I understand that the lefty tyrants will bleed this for all it’s worth. But after the November election the fear-mongering will be of little value.

    But a number of businesses will no longer exist. For that reason we will be going to Sammy’s Mexican food tonight. The owners were photographed at a Phoenix Trump rally and lefties started a shaming campaign. A lot of us caught on and the place was jammed but then the shutdown arrived.

    https://www.facebook.com/michael.kennedy.16547/posts/10216100985022219

    Now, we will see how it has survived.

    • #22
    • May 29, 2020, at 8:44 AM PDT
    • 2 likes