TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Local Publix shopper Wesley Clemons removed his protective face mask this morning after realizing that no one else in the grocery store was wearing one, sympathetic sources confirmed.
“I went to do my weekly shop, and I thought we were doing the whole mask thing,” said Clemons. “But after a few minutes in the store, it was clear I was the only person wearing one — I stuck out like a sore thumb. I could feel everyone staring at me and judging me… like that time I wore slacks to a pool party. So I ducked behind the produce stand and slipped the mask into my pocket. I made sure I said something like, ‘Coronavirus, my ass’ to everyone I walked by, just to make it seem like I wasn’t some mask-loving dweeb.”
Fellow shopper Peggy Webber-Johnson corroborated Clemons’ version of events.
“Everyone saw him as soon as he walked in — it was like a record scratch moment. I instantly thought he was a coward and figured he must hate America if he’s going to cover his face like that,” said Webber-Johnson while handling and returning countless items of produce. “But I don’t know why I got so worked up. I was actually wearing a mask on my way over here, but I peeked through the window and saw that nobody else had them, so I went back and left it in my car.”
Andrew DiLaurentis, a sociology professor at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, noted that this type of behavior is becoming increasingly common in the COVID-19 era.
“Many Americans want to help prevent the spread of the virus by wearing a face covering, but they don’t want to look like an outcast or a loser,” said DiLaurentis. “They want to blend in with the people around them: strolling the aisles, browsing the shelves, and comparing name-brand versus store-brand without attracting any scrutiny. For most people, fitting in is much more important than health and safety.”
“We have to live our lives,” he added. “If we stop conforming, then COVID wins.”
Publix has since announced a new policy prohibiting anyone wearing a mask from entering the store, to spare future customers from Clemons’ shame.