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Hey Elderly Aunt, should I confront maskless shoppers?

Dear Elderly Aunt,
I wanted your take on this. When I see someone in the grocery store not wearing a mask, am I morally obligated to say something to them? Or will that just invite unnecessary conflict? What do you do when you see someone in public who should be wearing a mask and isn’t
. Thanks for all your advice.

The Elderly Aunt hopes it goes without saying that she doesn’t stick her nose into a grocery store unless her nose is holding up a Dr. Fauci-approved face mask. 

When she spots a maskless fellow shopper, the Elderly Aunt’s immediate emotional response is conflicted. Her first reaction is compassion for such a poor, anti-social, brainwashed, deluded dumb bunny. Her second is a visceral need to march straight up to that dumb bunny and demand to know what they think gives them the right to endanger other people’s health?

As to what to do in such situations in this, the Age of Politically Empowered Ignorance in America.

First of all, dear reader, it is clear to the Elderly Aunt that realistically the buck in this case stops on the desk of the store manager. She suggests you calmly take your concerns to them, make a note of their name, ask why they allow maskless persons into their store and make it clear to them that you will post whatever they’ve said—with attribution, naturally—on every social media outlet in which you participate.

As for confronting the maskless person, the Elderly Aunt suspects that deep down in their dumb bunny hearts, public confrontation is exactly what they’re after. It would allow them to verbalize the obvious—I have a huge chip on my shoulder that is everyone’s responsibility but mine. Contrarian that the Elderly Aunt is when it comes to dumb bunny behavior, she politely (and gleefully) declines to provide any reason for idiots to go off.

What she does do is take pains to physically avoid maskless people in stores. And she is quick to ask them—cheerfully and politely—to keep a safe distance away from her should they crowd her in the produce section or check-out line. 

In her memory, the Elderly Aunt has never had anyone refuse to do this. Sure they might grumble a bit, but the Elderly Aunt feels strongly that just because someone else chooses to act like a dumb bunny, does not mean she has to respond in kind.

As to what a civilized person’s moral obligation is to confront all the different kinds of politically-charged idiocy rampant today in American society, the Elderly Aunt can only suggest, dear reader, that you respond in whatever way feels most civilized to you—i.e. you do that which keeps you at peace with your true and honorable self. 

One of life’s basic truths is that we have zero control over other people’s behavior, but we can control our own. The Elderly Aunt is a firm believer that she shows her true self in her interactions with other people, rather than in her political arguments with them. For herself, she chooses to save confronting society’s pathetic idiots for those rare times when it might do some good.


The Elderly Aunt offers her thoughtful responses to your questions about this wild ride we call life on every other Monday.  And as a general disclaimer—to quote the elves from The Lord of the Rings — “… advice is a dangerous gift, even given from the wise to the wise.”

Got a question for the Elderly Aunt? Ask her on Facebook or email your question to [email protected] with the subject line “Elderly Aunt question.” (Just please don’t ask detailed financial questions). 

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