“My house, my rules.” Anyone who has ever had a teenager in the home has said it. Anyone who has ever been a teenager under a parent’s roof has heard it.
And there was no arguing it. It slammed down on a parent-child disagreement like a guillotine, severing any chance of whining, wheedling or worming acquiescence from the parent who, face it, was right most of the time anyway.
You either got in line or you got out.
But it seems some visitors to retail shops around the county didn’t get the memo.
The Daily News reported Tuesday that many business owners have been asking customers to wear masks while in their stores. Some are even offering free masks for people without them who want to cross the threshold from window shopping to actual shopping. The idea is to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus to employees and patrons.
And most shoppers are happy to comply. But not everyone. Masks have become a political and cultural battleground for many.
Some business owners and managers reported customers pushing back against the wearing of masks. Some customers even got confrontational about it.
Let’s get this straight: Although retail establishments are open to the public, they are private businesses and their owners, for the most part, get to set the rules about what goes on in their stores.
Simple as that. If you don’t like it, don’t shop there.
We’re talking about people who are members of the communities they serve trying to protect other members of their communities from a potentially fatal medical crisis.
So why put up a fuss over the mask? Or worse, be a jerk about it?
There are people who who think the masks are to protect themselves. They don’t wear them because they don’t feel the risk is great enough to be bothered or think that because it’s their health, they get to decide how to manage — or mismanage — it.
Then there are those who know that the purpose of the mask is to protect others and stem the spread of the coronavirus. But they think it’s unnecessary or futile or that their right not to wear a mask overrules a nod toward the greater good and a sense of good will and responsibility toward others — or a business owner’s right to protect staff and other customers.
No one can legally require someone looking to buy sunscreen in Galveston, cupcakes in Texas City or auto parts in La Marque to wear a mask. And even though it’s recommended, it’s still your right not to.
But if a store owner wants you to wear a mask to shop in his or her store, rather than cause a fuss or get combative over it, just exercise your right to shop elsewhere. Simple as that.
• Margaret Battistelli Gardner