A Viral Video Shows a Woman Berating Trader Joe's Employees and Customers While Refusing to Wear a Mask

Kristin Salaky
Photo credit: Twitter
Photo credit: Twitter

From Prevention

Videos of a customer in a California Trader Joe's went viral this weekend in which she refused to wear a mask while in the store and berated employees and customers on the subject.

The encounter was first shared on Friday night by user D. Giles and showed the woman yelling at employees and customers, saying that people were harassing her for not wearing a mask, including calling them "Democratic pigs" as she slams her basket down. Masks have been required inside of "indoor public spaces" in the state since June 19.

"That man harassed me for not wearing a mask," she said in the video: "I have a breathing problem, my doctor will not let me wear a mask. So anyone harassing me to wear a mask, you guys are violating federal law."

The woman was asked to leave the store and CBS reported that the police were called in relation to the incident but no charges were filed.

The woman in the video, who asked ABC 7 to remain anonymous, said that she was told by a manager at another Trader Joe's that she could come in without a mask because of a medical issue, which she would also not disclose. She said she mistakenly went to a different Trader Joe's, which was having its opening day, and was given an exception by the manager there for that day only. She says she was confronted by another customer for not wearing a mask.

"I did what any normal human being, a woman, would do if she was being harassed by a man, not knowing if he's a crazy man, so I started yelling in self defense," she said.

Trader Joe's did not immediately respond to Delish's request for comment, but USA Today pointed out that the company has addressed masks on its site before.

"It is our preference for and we strongly encourage customers to wear a mask or face covering while shopping in all our stores," the company said. "Where face coverings are required by state or local authorities, we communicate that to our customers as well."

This is just the most recent incident of this kind as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Last week, a woman made a post featuring a Starbucks employee, later identified as Lenin Gutierrez, saying he "refused to serve me cause I'm not wearing a mask." Supporters later raised more than $40,000 for Gutierrez.

The CDC "recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission."

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