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To think shop workers shouldn't be asking people why they aren't wearing a mask?

(753 Posts)
GlummyMcGlummerson Wed 05-Aug-20 13:48:05

My friend is epileptic. She can't wear a mask because it takes very little to trigger a fit, and wearing a mask creates too much of a risk. Over the last 2 days she's been asked in 3 different places (Greggs, Morrison's and the Co-Op) in an abrupt and snotty way "Where is your mask?" By staff. This is with lots of other customers around. She responded "I'm medically exempt" and has been asked why she's exempt in two of those places. She's also been told (online) that she should stay in to protect others and get someone else to do her shopping etc.

AIBU to think this is appalling ableist behaviour to put someone on the spot in front of others? She doesn't owe anyone her medical history. Yes there's sunflower lanyards she can pick up but she's apprehensive about wearing anything around her neck for obvious reasons. Why can't we just trust others that they're doing it in their best interests?

OP’s posts: |
incognitomum Wed 05-Aug-20 13:51:42

YANBU x 100

It's absolutely appalling. The amount of distress I've seen because of the muzzling is unreal.

Can your friend wear a lanyard? Might make her have more confidence. You can print a badge online.

incognitomum Wed 05-Aug-20 13:53:01

Just reread. You can get 3 way removal lanyards that come off easily. Or maybe laminate the badge and she can show it without speaking at all.

SimplySteveRedux Wed 05-Aug-20 13:53:01

A little more understanding to those not wearing masks THREAD TWO

SimplySteveRedux Wed 05-Aug-20 13:53:19

Mask shamed (disability), complain? (Some TMI)

HesterShaw1 Wed 05-Aug-20 13:54:29

That's appalling. I'm so sorry for your friend, and everyone else who's on the receiving end of this bullying, sanctimonious claptrap.

GlummyMcGlummerson Wed 05-Aug-20 13:56:36

incognito I have a colour printer and saw a badge online to wear on the breast pocket in a plastic slidey thing (sorry don't know the proper name 🤣) I'm gonna print one out for her.
She once had a long necklace on and had a fit and it twisted around her neck during the fit so she's very nervous about wearing anything round her neck, understandably.

I've told her to complain but when things like this happen it really knocks her confidence. She's felt shit all her life about her epilepsy and things like this grind her down further sad

OP’s posts: |
Whichoneofyoudidthat Wed 05-Aug-20 13:56:37

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

WitsEnding Wed 05-Aug-20 13:57:32

I had a customer show me an exemption (including reason) on her phone yesterday. I didnt ask and she didn't have to say anything but it pre-empted anything I might have said if our procedures were tighter.

cologne4711 Wed 05-Aug-20 13:58:25

All people need to do is show a lanyard or pass. And that's it. Staff (and bullying security staff as per another thread) don't need to know the in's and out's. If they try to get in your way or ask more questions you merely say "I've shown you the evidence" and move on. Worst case scenario you'll have to ask to speak to the store manager and tell them to educate their staff.

bookmum08 Wed 05-Aug-20 13:58:26

You can get sunflower badges as well as lanyards. I assume she must already have some type of medical alert card. Tell her to just politely flash the card. The shop assistants are probably fed up with having to ask dozens of people all the time and might sound a bit rude. Don't take it too personally if they sound cranky.

GlummyMcGlummerson Wed 05-Aug-20 13:58:35


Wear a lanyard. Shop assistants have a tough enough time as it is with abusive whataboutmyhumanrights people and those who claim some sort of individual sovereignty bullshit. We all have to make sacrifices.

Can’t wear a lanyard? It’s no more than a necklace.

Did you read my comment above about why she can't wear a lanyard?

So sorry my disabled friend wants to exercise her human rights hmm most shop workers aren't dicks to disabled people so not sure why it's ok that a small few are?

OP’s posts: |
Whichoneofyoudidthat Wed 05-Aug-20 13:59:44

Wear it as a badge. It took me 3 seconds to think of an alternative, it’s really not hard.

Babyboomtastic Wed 05-Aug-20 14:00:22

It's tricky.
It's mandatory, and everyone without a good reason (which your friend does have) should be wearing them.

If people are challenged, then it's unfair on them, and they shouldn't have to divulge private medical information to people.

If people shouldn't challenge, the law making it mandatory is entirely pointless as it's totally unenforceable.

I'm not sure what the answer is sadly :-(

EpidermolysisBullosa Wed 05-Aug-20 14:01:27

Your poor friend OP. All she is required to say is 'I'm medically exempt' - her private medical history is her business, no-one else's and the regulations don't require her to disclose the nature of her condition.

She shouldn't feel she has to wear a lanyard around her neck either given the risk to her if she has a fit.

IAmFleshIAmBone Wed 05-Aug-20 14:01:35

They have no right at all, it's none of their business. Sanctimonious idiots are making people with hidden disabilities feel like we should just give up on life and stay at home.

longwayoff Wed 05-Aug-20 14:02:13

Shop workers have human rights too, including the right to protect themselves from potential infection. Like your friend has.

countrygirl99 Wed 05-Aug-20 14:02:39

Perhaps people should just follow the government guidelines and not challenge people not wearing a mask. Then there would be no humiliation of those who can't. But the nosey and self righteous walk among us.

user1471457751 Wed 05-Aug-20 14:03:10

Shop assistants may be having a tough time but that doesn't excuse them asking someone what their health exemption is. They don't need to know. Expecting people to speak biblically and with a stranger about their disabilities or health problems is shameful.
And anyway, most shops have told their staff not to challenge customers so they shouldn't be asking in the first place.

ScorpioSphinxInACalicoDress Wed 05-Aug-20 14:03:13

How is the shop assistant supposed to know?
Sometimes a phrase isn't an -ism.
The people in shops are the ones at the frontline of this fuckwittery with seemingly half the population not wanting to wear s mask compared to about 3% who can't.
They aren't mind readers.

Whichoneofyoudidthat Wed 05-Aug-20 14:04:09

They’re not nosey, or self righteous. They’re doing their job.

Realitybites21 Wed 05-Aug-20 14:04:17

The lanyards and badges aren’t working in my experience.

I’ve worn mine into every shop I’ve had to enter and I’ve still been asked three times confused

Personally, I don’t mind as to me it tells me they’re conscious and looking after me....I have conditions that make me vulnerable to Covid too though so I’m dammed if I do and damned if I don’t.

I can see why others get irritated though. Hidden disability awareness naivety is bringing them all out.

HoneysuckIejasmine Wed 05-Aug-20 14:04:20

Does she wear a medical alert bracelet that she could flash? And if she doesn't, she should consider it from a first aid/emergency response perspective.

MsPepperPotts Wed 05-Aug-20 14:05:46

There are all sorts of Sunflower items for hidden disabilities and she could carry a card or clip it to her jacket in a special holder...she does not need to wear a lanyard.
It is the responsibility of the individual person with the "Hidden disability" to make people aware of their situation as how are they supposed to know and how are thy supposed to make contingencies for people without being given the information in the first place.
Of course she will be challenged by staff in shops who are having to deal with major issues around Covid-19 everyday....
The world is in the middle of a pandemic she needs to take some responsibility for her situation and help others to help her.

ittakes2 Wed 05-Aug-20 14:05:49

Why does she not try a sticker? Write medically exempt from mask on it? I get I can see both sides - there are lots of people not bothered to wear a mask and it is putting shop assistants etc at risk.

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