Support Local Businesses, But Don't Be A Jerk About It [Updated]

Update, May 13, 2020: When the story about Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour's rude customers went viral earlier this week, readers turned their indignation into action. Mark Lawrence, owner of the Cape Cod ice cream shop, posted last weekend on Facebook that customers made angry by long wait times took their frustrations out on Lawrence's best employee, a hardworking 17-year-old who quit at the end of Polar Cave's first day back in business due to the insults and harassment she'd endured during her shift. Because the teen had been working at the shop to raise money for college, Lawrence set up a GoFundMe and encouraged the public to help out. Now, according to CNN, the GoFundMe has raised almost $40,000, the entirety of which will go toward the former employee's college fund. It doesn't excuse the behavior exhibited by stir-crazy customers, but it's a nice bit of closure as Lawrence strategizes the re-re-opening of Polar Cave this season.

Original post, May 11, 2020: A Cape Cod ice cream shop that quietly reopened for business last Friday had to close up shop again after one of the worst days in its nearly two-decade history, thanks to customers who couldn't behave themselves. According to the Washington Post, on the shop's first day back to business, Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour owner Mark Lawrence had instructed customers to place their orders one hour ahead and follow current social distancing guidelines upon pickup. Not longer afterward, his business was besieged by people who didn't follow directions, demanded to be served even though they hadn't placed orders, and decided to take out their frustration over having to wait for ice cream by verbally abusing the shop's overwhelmed employees. One veteran employee—a teenage girl who Lawrence said was one of his best workers—quit at the end of her shift after tolerating hours of insults that, as Lawrence told local media, "you wouldn't even say in a men's locker room."

"People have forgotten how to treat other human beings in the six or seven weeks that they've been confined to their homes," Lawrence told Boston 25 News.

Now, I have a lot to say about this, but I won't. Because the Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour's Facebook page, which is Lawrence's main platform for communicating with customers, has plenty of pitch-perfect commentary on the events that unfolded last Friday.

Lest we think everything in the world is terrible, there are still glimmers of hope out there. Lawrence, whose employees lovingly call him "Papa Bear," has set up a GoFundMe for the teenage employee who quit, who he says had been working for him for three years in order to save up for college. So far, he's raised nearly 75% of his $10,000 goal, which will be deposited straight into her college account.