business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Fox News reports on the case of a Cape Cod ice cream parlor where, after the owner reopened it following a pandemic-oriented shutdown mandated by local regulations, he closed it down after one day.

The reason:  customers who "grew frustrated with having to wait longer for their ice cream" because of lines "took their anger out on his staff," including a 17-year-old girl.

Owner Mark Lawrence wrote:

"As I turn the key in the lock tonight. My thought is that we shall simply not open to the general public until something resembling normal returns.

"In 19 years of operation this is the lowest feeling I have ever felt, I will read all the posts and reply to them, but I lived it and can only imagine what awaits. We were overwhelmed, plain and simply. Regardless of peoples frustrations to take it out on a teenage girl is simply WRONG - it cost one of my best employees due to the rudeness directed at her tonight. So wrong in so many ways to treat a teenager with such disrespect no matter the circumstances."

I'm not surprised by this, sad to say.  People can be idiots.  People can be so obsessed with what they want and what makes them look and feel good that they forget about other people's feelings.  Sometimes this manifests itself with ignoring sensible regulations designed to protect the public health, sometimes it looks like people saying that public health officials are fascists when they try to do their jobs, and sometimes it sounds like people who should know better foisting verbal abuse on a teenager who is a grocery checkout person or a clerk in an ice cream parlor.

Stupidity reigns.  Narcissism persists.  And the fabric of what is supposed to make us an advanced, sophisticated and compassionate society continues to unravel, little by little.  At what point will there be no fabric left?

I find myself wondering if the real virus that infects us is not the coronavirus, but rather incivility, intemperance and self-absorption that has been revealed by current circumstances.

I find myself thinking of the words of Thomas Wolfe, in "You Can't Go Home Again"…

"I think the enemy is here before us with a thousand faces, but I think we know that all his faces wear one mask. I think the enemy is single selfishness and compulsive greed. I think the enemy is blind, but has the brutal power of his blind grab. I do not think the enemy was born yesterday, or that he grew to manhood forty years ago, or that he suffered sickness and collapse in 1929, or that we began without the enemy, and that our vision faltered, that we lost the way, and suddenly were in his camp. I think the enemy is old as Time, and evil as Hell, and that he has been here with us from the beginning."

The enemy is within … our own worst instincts and compulsions, in which we put ourselves first, and think our right to have an ice cream cone right now, no matter what, is somehow the most important thing and a test of what we think of as being our freedom.

What an Eye-Opener this virus turns out to be.