Trader Joe's manager displays superhuman patience with anti-mask protesters trying to break into store

Nearly a year into the deadliest pandemic in a century, the U.S. is still battling not only the virus, but Americans living in denial of reality as well.

Take this video of a group of anti-maskers who stood in front of a Trader Joe's entrance and tried to argue that they had every right to shop there without masks. The woman narrating the video states that they have "a right to commerce" (they don't—there's literally no such right), that Trader Joe's doesn't have the right to require masks (they do—it's their store), that the mandate to wear masks in public places can't be enforced because it's not a real law (it can—), and that they were not there to demonstrate, but just to buy groceries (umm, right).

The manager, to his credit, did what he could to calmly talk with these people while also making it clear that they were not going to enter the store without a mask.

"The point you're trying to make isn't going to be made with us," he said. "It can be made with your government...I am not here to debate policy. I totally respect for you to think anything you want to job, as manager of the store is to enforce the mandate, whether you believe in it or not."

The anti-maskers complained when the manager allowed masked customers to enter the store, asking why they were allowed to shop. The feigned innocence and insincere bafflement is really something. The demonstrators blocked the entrance to the store, preventing other shoppers from entering, then sent some of their group around to the back of the store when they found out that mask-wearing customers were being let in through the back door.

The whole thing is incredibly stupid, but the Trader Joe's employees standing their ground with superhuman patience and diplomacy are incredibly impressive.

(Check out the subtle shade moment at 1:52 when a masked shopper gives a sassy little foot kick as she enters the store.)

TJ 1 9 21 Salem OR

The Oregon Health Authority has made it very clear that the state's mask mandate is binding for all. In the Q & A section of its website, the question of whether there are even any health exemptions is addressed:

"If a person with a disability cannot wear a mask, face covering or face shield, a place of public accommodation, such as a business or space open to the public, will need to work with that person to provide a reasonable modification. Some common reasonable modifications are: free curbside pick-up, free delivery or an appointment by phone or video. A reasonable modification does not include allowing a customer inside without a mask, face covering or face shield."

Also, governors have the right to enact emergency powers, so yes, a public health mandate is legally binding during a public health emergency.

In addition, Trader Joe's is a private business, which has the right to enact and enforce its own rules for shopping there. We've lived with "No shoes, no shirt, no service" signs for decades without demonstrators claiming that they have every right to shop barefoot. Shopping at a specific grocery store is not a constitutional right. These people aren't just annoying, they're wrong about everything they are saying. They're also putting others at risk by refusing to wear a mask in public.

This isn't hard. The science behind mask mandates has been clear for many months at this point, and further backed up by data from places that tracked the virus before and after mask mandates were implemented. But the key to success is compliance. If people would just wear them because it's the right thing to do to protect everyone and to enable us to live some semblance of normal life without killing millions, that would be great. The irony is that mask mandates only become necessary when people don't do that.

The U.S. is drowning in COVID-19, and these people are flipping over the lifeboats because they're uncomfortable. And the entitlement of believing a business has to serve you when that's what you're doing? Ridiculous. Good for these Trader Joe's employees for not backing down.

Courtesy of Verizon

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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