Support Ace Hardware, but stay away if you’re ill

We are here to support you; please support us.

I work at Ace Hardware. I am fully aware of the blessing it is to still have a job, as I serve my fellow islanders who come to shop. So many have lost employment. Those stores that are still open are offering curbside and, in some cases, home delivery in an attempt to protect the community. Social distancing and disinfecting practices are in place.

Please understand that we who staff those stores do so with a daily assessment of our comfort to continue to come to work. Many of us are over 60; many of us have health complications; still, others have a family at home that is fragile, to whom carrying infection would be perilous.

Last week, a customer I did not recognize looked me straight in the eye and said, sotto voce, “I might have it.” I stared at him, dumbstruck. He repeated, “I might have it,” with a secretive, almost imperious smile. He pulled his credit card from the machine and left, leaving me standing, still silent, still confounded.

Was he trying to be funny? Was he serious?

Please, people: this isn’t funny. We, who are here to serve you, are, underneath it all, worried. Our businesses and our health are on the line. Stay home if you are ill, have been exposed to illness of any kind, or just plain have the ability to remain away from others.

We are here to support you; please support us.

— Debbie Butler

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