Today was the first time I’ve ever thrown anyone out of our shop. This man was a white man about my age (mid 50s) who came in to buy records. I wasn’t in the shop when he arrived but Shannon told me that there was a man in the record room who wasn’t wearing a mask. As I headed back to speak to him, he was heading toward me. I said “Sir, you need to wear your mask in the building.” He pushed by me as he pulled his mask/neck warmer up over his face. He walked by Shannon on his way to the front desk and, after he passed her, she whispered to me, “He’s wearing Trump 2020 mask.” Despite the fact that Don was at the front desk, I was compelled to follow him. As he stopped to pay for his records, he turned and looked at me. All I could see was “Trump 2020” under a middle aged white man’s eyes. I said (tongue-in-cheek), “You’ll get a better deal in here with a different mask on.” Then he went off. At this point, I remember him yelling “your business wouldn’t be open without Trump” followed by “if this Black Lives Matter shit comes up here, you’ll go out of business” followed by something about Hillary Clinton going to prison.
I’m usually pretty composed and almost always polite, but not today. I heard myself say, “Get the fuck out of my shop and don’t ever come back here.” He continued to yell at me as he walked out, so I followed and repeated my “get the fuck out” instructions followed by “keep your mask on, asshole!” Then I walked back into the shop and out the back door to cry. Why cry? Because this is our safe space. This is our little corner of the world. This is our home. And the racism, misogyny, homophobia, and ignorance that has crawled out from under its rock has now made its way into our shop. This is profoundly sad for me.
But after thinking about this interaction, I realized several things.
- I am sad but I am not afraid.
- This is not about about one man. This is about deep, deep issues that are floating to the top of our culture for many reasons.
- We can & should do better. Self-assess, reflect, learn. Do better. Be better.
- The most important thing to us is our customers. And that means providing all people–Black, Latinx, queer, trans, and any other marginalized community –with a space filled with “peace, love, and understanding.”
- We can and will maintain a safe, inclusive space by looking hatred in the eyes and telling it to get the fuck out.
Jane Durgin says
As a regular customer, I am sorry you had to go through this unnerving experience. We do need to stand up and insist on masks for PUBLIC health! I am proud of you for looking out for your business, and your customers! Sadly, Trump has emboldened racists and you were on the receiving end today. Thank you for being a responsible American citizen! This makes me want to visit even MORE often!
Kathryn Peck says
I wish I could have been there! You were totally in the right and I support and applaud you for your course and ideals. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻❤️
Thank you, Kathy!
I visit your shop quite often and love it. However, I’ve read this article twice and I’m confused. I don’t agree with his behavior at all, but your comment about getting a better deal with a different mask is hypocritical to the point you are trying to get across. The fact that he was being an asshole is irrelevant to the mask he was wearing. Not all Trump supporters are assholes. He is an asshole, but you folks also seem to put off and offended by his choice of face mask. That is unfortunate.
I just wanted to reply to your comment. I have been away and am just reading it now. My initial contact with this man was over wearing his mask. He came in with it on and removed it after he walked by my employee. He spent quite a bit of time here in our record room (with other customers) without a mask on. This is our home environment so we are requiring masks to keep everyone healthy ourselves included. When my employee told me he wasn’t wearing his mask, I walked back to ask him to wear it. He was walking toward me and, when I asked him to put it one, he brushed by me not acknowledging me. My comment to him was actually “tongue in cheek” (as witnesses will attest) and he went off. I am not justifying my comment and I certainly don’t think Trump supporters are all assholes (many of my family members voted for Mr. Trump). But I can not and will not tolerate racism and misogyny and in my space. His Trump mask was simply a catalyst to a verbal explosion of hatred. I feel that it’s my responsibility to stand up to that kind of hate speech. But I thank you for your comment and for reading my post. Colleen
Carol M. Colgan says
I am very proud of you!
So sorry you experienced this. I am proud of you!
Trump has let the cracked lose
Dot Dionne says
You would have been the better person had you not critizied his mask. You are guilty if being part of the problem also. You should of just kick him out.
Thank you for reading my blog, Dot. If you reread my blog, you’ll see that my comment about his mask was “tongue in cheek.” In terms of being “part of the problem,” the problems my blog speaks to are racism & misogyny & mistreatment of all marginalized communities in our country. This person exploded at me with a rant about the Black Lives Matter Movement, etc. I will not tolerate hate speech in my shop/home and I will speak out. I don’t view my position as “the problem.” I think the problem is tolerating these points of view. But I thank you for reading my blog and I wish you well. Colleen
I’m just here to say that I see you. I’m sending you support from Dover.
Much appreciated, Sherry!
You are a warrior! Thank you for making the world a better place!
Susan Pitts says
GTFO was the best response. Stay strong, stay safe.
Madeline Gardner Meryash says
Bravo Colleen! I love the simple message in a quote attributed to Edmund Burke, the statesman, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” Stand up, speak up, never be silenced.
Molly Pratt says
It is long past time that we speak up and set boundaries even though those actions are outside of our comfort zones. I’d be crying too, but with rage. We start with respect and kindness. If others cannot measure up to those two things then they are welcome to “get the fuck out”.
I admire your courage and hope to visit your store in the near future.
Springfield College Class of 1974 “Hi Don”
Thanks, Molly! Come and see us!
Kari Dugas says
I think this is beautifully written, and I for one am proud of you!
I appreciate your support, Kari!
Beverly Monkton says
Good for you! Good for you!
Thank you very much!
How am I affected by your post? I’m coming in tomorrow to buy stuff from you. You need to stay in business. There are many of us out here who stand with you. ✌🏻
Thank you so much!
Fran Doucette says
As a Trump supporter I find your comment about his Trump mask, offensive. I’m on this site looking a a store to sell antique oriental figures and piano music. I won’t be calling your store. Intolerance of a persons political views takes away free speech, disgusting.
Hello Fran: Thank you for reading my post. My intolerance is not of anyone’s political views. If you reread my blog post, you’ll see that my comment regarding his mask was “tongue in cheek.” My intolerance is of racism and misogyny as well as his lack of respect for our adherence to New Hampshire’s recommended guidelines regarding covid 19. I asked him to leave my shop after he began screaming at me about Black Lives Matter, etc. My customers are of all races and sexual identities. I will not tolerate hate speech in my shop/home. I wish you the best selling your items. Colleen