retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from MNB reader Jim Antrup:

Enjoyed your FaceTime this morning, I also traveled in May for the first time in 15 months, a couple of car trips and a couple of airplane trips. I would say it just felt weird to be back traveling, and it isn’t the same as we were used to prior to the Pandemic. Airplanes and airports were jammed, hotel guests seemed sparse. Mask regulations vary by state and county, peoples response to wearing masks vary widely as well (I am confident not all people not wearing masks are fully vaccinated). I also found it very interesting as I stayed in several hotels  (all Hilton brands) how different the level of service was, i.e. restaurant, breakfast, bar, etc.  the only consistent service was the lack of housecleaning service provided only on request.  Overall good travels, hope yours  finish good as well.

Welcome back to the new normal!

From another reader:

I appreciate that video. For those of us who haven’t traveled for 16 months or more, it was informative and very timely.  The all day mask thing is something most of us have not had to endure. Great comments about those individuals that have had to do it as part of their careers. Stay safe.

And from yet another reader:

Have a safe trip KC - I have to say I'm not surprised but disappointed in my fellow man.

Right after the flight attendant announced that we're going to disembark in an orderly fashion, the plane lands and it's a free for all.

Really? What's wrong with people? No consideration for others, only their ignorant selves.


Did a piece yesterday about mask anxiety on the part of retail employees, prompting - not surprisingly - a number of outraged emails, mostly because I expressed sympathy for the retailers who maintain mask mandates in order to protect the health of their workers.

MNB reader Dayna J. Feist wrote:

Why stop there?  Why not make it mandatory for….ever?  Why?  Because we still have rights and freedoms.

While my freedoms and rights don’t negate yours, neither do yours.  If someone working in retail or anywhere for that matter feels safer wearing a mask, then by all means, wear it until you feel it’s no longer necessary.  But for those that don’t feel a mask is necessary, they too have the right to forego it.  We wore it when it was required and now that it’s not, those that believe in it want to enforce it longer.  I find it strange how those same people that followed the CDC’s guidelines like it was a map to a gold treasure are now questioning if it’s correct.  Going “maskless” is the new “no seatbelt/helmet” shaming that seems to be acceptable and rampant yet I’ve not seen 1 person shame a mask-wearer once.  Not once.

MNB reader Kelly Dean Wiseman wrote:

Continuing to require masks in our stores, in opposition to all good scientific data, is a gross disservice to our workers. On the front lines we have been cursed, insulted, lied to, physically threatened, even spit upon. All because we were "following the science" and requiring masks. So now that the efficacy of the vaccines is so powerful, and the odds of transmission from a vaccinated person to, say, a kid at home, are so very low, we must continue to "follow the science". The viral load of vaccinated people doesn't measure up to a threat. We owe it to our workers to stay true to what got us through this: CDC and local health department recommendations. Let the unvaccinated beware: you may get very, very ill and end up in the hospital on a ventilator. And the rest of will not.

And from another reader:

KC, am I missing something here?  There is NEVER a 100% guarantee of anything in life except death and taxes so it appears to me that those who work at retail should mask up and also get vaccinated if they are concerned.  If they do this, then according to the statistics, they are as safe as it gets save for hiding out in their homes with no human contact. My guess is we will end up with around 60-65% vaccinated population with a decent chunk of the non-vaccinated benefitting from natural immunity from getting COVID.  Combine this with the low mortality rates for every population except older and immunocompromised, it is the right time to start shelving the mask mandates. I was happy to wear a mask early on but it is time for each person to make the choice that works for them and not force their decisions on others.

I repeat:  People who choose not to get vaccinated and not wear masks could pass on the coronavirus even to people who are fully vaccinated, who could be asymptomatic and then infect someone at their home who may be immunocompromised ar too young to have yet gotten the disease.

That's why some workers are concerned.  Maybe we could cut them a break.  After all, they are the folks who just a few months ago were being described as "essential."  (Remember?)

For the record, the CDC only says it is not necessary to wear a mask if you are two weeks out from being fully vaccinated.  The CDC, I trust.  My fellow citizens, to follow the CDC guidelines in a responsible way, not so much.