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Man with persistent cough shopping with partner - just why?!?

(637 Posts)
Defenbaker Thu 02-Apr-20 23:17:42

I went shopping today, for essential items, to a large supermarket. There was a small queue, with a security guard letting people enter as others left, to ensure social distancing inside. All very calm and not many people inside, so that was good.

However, in the second aisle there was a man coughing. I thought, oh well, it's probably nothing, just an ordinary cough, don't panic. I avoided him anyway, just in case. However, he then kept on coughing, at regular intervals, all around the shop. He never once used a tissue, or even his hand or the crook of his arm to catch the cough, and the cough was just the sort of dry, persistent cough that medics have described as a symptom! Regardless of whether he had the Covid19 virus or not, he was certainly not being careful to keep his germs to himself. I wondered how many people he could be infecting.

Although I tried my best to avoid him, he then appeared quite near me, where I was using the self scan till. This conversation took place:

Me: "It might be a good idea if you wait outside while your partner does the shopping, as you have a cough."
(He looked stunned, as though the idea hadn't occurred to him.)
Him: "Oh, it's just a cough, I don't have a temperature!"
Me: "That's a symptom, you might have it, you don't know."
Him: "I've been to the doctor... I don't have it."
Me: "So, have you had the test then? Did you have a negative result?"
Him: "The doctor said I'm fine... " (He looked shifty, like he was tempted to lie but found it difficult while I fixed my gaze on him.)
Me: "Even if you haven't got it, people are bound to be anxious when you're coughing all over the store. It really would be best if you wait outside."
Him: "Mmm... maybe... "

All the time his partner said nothing. I got the impression she was a bit embarassed to be with him, as she knew how others would view his germ ridden presence.

He then sloped off. AIBU to think that he had no reason to accompany another (able bodied) adult around the shop, and should have known better than to behave so thoughtlessly during this health crisis?

LolaSkoda Thu 02-Apr-20 23:22:00

If his reply was “I have lung cancer”, what would you have said?

BluePheasant Thu 02-Apr-20 23:24:49

Why were they even shopping together anyway? I thought supermarkets were telling people one person, one trolley as much as possible.

Petiolaris Thu 02-Apr-20 23:24:52

People are selfish. My neighbour had an unidentified respiratory infection. I saw her coming home with groceries and coughing her guts up. Two days after that she was taken away in an ambulance because she couldn’t breathe. No common sense.

DangerMouse17 Thu 02-Apr-20 23:25:44

If he had lung cancer then he should be at home

h3av3n Thu 02-Apr-20 23:25:53

What if he always coughs? Some people do. I've had lots of dirty looks for coughing in public but coughing is a normal daily thing for me, I don't see why people who cough should have to avoid shopping...

TimeAintNothing Thu 02-Apr-20 23:26:45

YWBU to question him about it, you are not the Health Police and his medical issues are none of your business. As a PP said, what would you have done if he had replied that he has lung cancer or emphysema or some other condition?

Are you expecting everyone to say "well done" for you tackling him about it?

LolaSkoda Thu 02-Apr-20 23:29:08

The point is, it’s not ok to start acting like the SS.

You don’t know who has what and why. Keep it that way. I hear North Korea is shooting people who they suspect may have the virus - maybe do your shopping there.

LittleLittleLittle Thu 02-Apr-20 23:29:34

If he had lung cancer and knew he was terminal then it's up to him to decide whether to be at home.

Lockheart Thu 02-Apr-20 23:29:51

It was none of your business. There are numerous reasons outside of coronavirus as to why someone might have a persistent cough.

As he had a partner, it would have been sensible under the circumstances for him to stay at home.

YeOldeTrout Thu 02-Apr-20 23:29:55

cystic fibrosis, some forms of asthma, non-infectious reasons for chronic coughs.

User7764217 Thu 02-Apr-20 23:30:54

Just why?

Because people who have year round coughs need to eat too 😉

You also assume the lady who was shopping with him was indeed able bodied.

This does however teach me that I will need to walk around clutching my inhaler so people don’t throw bananas at me next time I need to shop

LonelyFromCorona Thu 02-Apr-20 23:31:54

Based on his answers to your questions YANBU to think what you think

PickAChew Thu 02-Apr-20 23:32:13

There's lots of reasons to cough. I'm sure the runny nose I turned up with alarmed people, even though it was blowing a gale, which makes my nose run and I have a cold sore in my nose, which makes my nose fun.

VanGoghsDog Thu 02-Apr-20 23:32:39

Just leave people alone and get on with your own shopping.

We've had people on our village Facebook group moaning today that not enough people from certain roads were out clapping at 8pm. They can fuck off as well.

Darbs76 Thu 02-Apr-20 23:32:46

Not unreasonable to question him at all. This man could have infected hundreds of people.

WhenYouveAFirstInEnglish Thu 02-Apr-20 23:33:05

Once you’ve self isolated for 7 days with symptoms you can go out, as long as your temperature is normal, but as the Govt says, your cough may persist for several days or a couple of weeks.

Or he could be a smoker or have a cough daily anyway, so it wouldn’t be a new continuous cough.

You have to just let people make their own decisions. You’re not the police and it’s not your business.

TheJoyofBeingSingle Thu 02-Apr-20 23:33:11

A friend of mine has a smoker's cough and has for years. He's fine.

Not all coughs are coronavirus coughs.

DrSheldonCooperPHD Thu 02-Apr-20 23:33:15

Oh come on

chockaholic72 Thu 02-Apr-20 23:33:24

I’ve got a dry cough - it’s a side effect of my blood pressure medication. Stop being the coughing police.

WhenYouveAFirstInEnglish Thu 02-Apr-20 23:34:50

I have a cough at the mo. I’ve had a test and awaiting results. If I get them and it’s negative, as I suspect, then I’ll be going out and probably coughing. I’ll be going to work, on a hospital ward, and be coughing. You just have to trust me that I’ve made a judgement on my circumstances.

june2007 Thu 02-Apr-20 23:35:03

Smokers cough? Other illness. Perhaps he was lying perhaps he was telling the truth. Yes if he could have been at home it was probably best if he stayed at home, what is not ok is you questioning him aas you don,t know his story.

Dothedamnthang Thu 02-Apr-20 23:35:16


KylieKoKo Thu 02-Apr-20 23:36:07

I have hayfever and the trees have started releasing their pollen. I've been double dosing antihistamines before I leave the house to avoid being questioned and stared at by people like the op.

nellythenarwhal Thu 02-Apr-20 23:36:10

I self isolated for 7 days and still have a cough. Yabu

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