You may have noticed a piece in The Gateway Pundit Thursday, August 18, 2022, entitled “Trader Joe’s Manager Threatens Customer For Talking About Covid And Religion With Employees But He Has No Idea Customer Was Recording The Whole Conversation.”
Quite a few readers clearly did, and kindly sent the link to me. Thank you for that!
An Important Habit To Be Mindful Of
The article came about because of a good habit that I sometimes forget about doing and which I have started to become far more diligent about.
I did something we all need to train ourselves to do: be mindful enough to pull out the video camera whenever anyone of authority comes at you with a desire to control you.
Police officer, public official, local activist, even a neighbor. In this world in which anyone might be trying to pull shenanigans on you, that camera, at the very least held at your side, quietly recording the situation, needs to come out.
This is especially true if that behavior they are looking to stymie is righteous behavior on your part. But truthfully, you should even pull out the camera if an officer is detaining you for jaywalking, and you know you are guilty.
Yes, pull out the camera even if you know you are guilty. Pull out the camera even if the story told by it might be unflattering to you. Just pull it out. You don’t need to point it at the officer or let on that you have started a camera recording, but just have it recording. You will be grateful that you did.
If you have ever been in that kind of situation, you know how useful such a recording is, and how impossible it becomes to get an officer’s body camera. Unremarkable body camera footage can be very easy to get from a government agency. Body camera footage that is useful can be hard to get. There are many legal loopholes that can be put in the way to prevent you from accessing that body camera footage if someone doesn’t want you to have it.
Therefore, it is important to have your own recording in your possession, which means you need to get in the habit of pulling out a camera and recording.
Ask For The Policy & Stand Your Ground
I would like to point you to two articles of mine if these confrontations are common or desirable to you.
1.) “Do this before backing down to a cop” (LewRockwell.com, August 2021)
If you ever just say, “Yes,” to the command of an officer, you must recognize you are complicit in any oppression you experience. This is a piece that goes into that some. Do I want you to always say, “No!” to an officer — absolutely not, but I want you to recognize the authority you have in each situation. Skim this piece and you will have a reminder of what that authority you have looks like.
2.) “Show Me The Writ! — The Spirit You Must Always Have In Order To Be Free” (LewRockwell.com, September 2021)
This piece talks about the importance of asking to see a policy in writing and inspecting the policy before even considering the option of letting yourself be governed by that policy.
Don’t Let Your Imperfection Stop You
When you pull out a camera, you might be as much a part of the embarrassment of the situation as the other person. It might not be comfortable, but even imperfect us, bumbling through a defense of our rights are entitled to the same.
What Happened To Me?
I walk regularly into a particular Trader Joe’s in California. That often happens on a Sunday. When checking out, whoever the cashier is, I always ask how his day is going. As can be expected in polite conversation, sometimes, after telling me about his day, the random cashier might respond by asking how my day is going.
I respond most often with one of two things, sometimes both:
1.) “I am so happy to see that you are not wearing a face mask, I really love seeing people’s happy faces,”
(or it being a Sunday, which means I’ve just heard a great and encouraging sermon, I say)
2.) “My day has been great, my preacher just gave the best sermon. I know it is really going to be an amazing week after hearing a sermon like that.”
Often by that time, the transaction is done and my groceries are in a bag. But sometimes, the cashier asks more and I interact more, about either subject, based on which topic the cashier shows interest in. I’m not pushy at such moments, but you can imagine that even this once commonplace style of conversation, can be “triggering” in this era.
Well, not too long ago, as I was waiting to check out, a manager squeezed in next to me in line and told me we needed to talk. The video attached to the Gateway Pundit article takes it from there.
Basically the manager told me if I ever want to shop there again that I am to never talk about religion with his employees and to never talk about face masks again with his employees. Mind you, I am not a subordinate he is telling this to, I am a customer.
Did I Do The Right Thing?
I was no shrinking violet, but this is not an Emmy-worthy, spirited defense of liberty either. I stood my ground and asked some questions. That much means so much every time a person in a presumed role of authority comes at you. I did the following:
1.) Making sure you understand what they are saying (done in this video)
2.) Making sure you understand the consequences (done in this video)
3.) Familiarizing yourself with the policy (done imperfectly as a followup to Trader Joe’s — would have been good to ask about in this video).
It’s Not A Property Rights Issue — This Manager Was Out Of Line
I believe many of the problems in life come down to disrespect of property rights. That is not everything, but it is many things. It is good for all when individuals clearly own things and when the owner has the final say over how that property is used. Many problems could be solved by better honoring that simple principle. Some might say that I am being disrespectful about property rights here.
Before anyone attacks me about property rights, Trader Joe’s does not have a corporate customer anti-religion policy. Trader Joe’s does not have a corporate anti-mask conversation policy. Quite the opposite. I suspect several people at Trader Joe’s corporate are very embarrassed about how this manager acted. I gently stood my ground and because of this, the manager will not likely be treating anyone else this way. And who knows, my video may even be added to a training that Trader Joe’s does for managers as an example of how not to treat customers. This is a rogue manager who does not represent the corporate policy of Trader Joe’s.
Property Rights Get Muddied Around Corporate Governance — Necessary Ethical Questions To Ask
Property rights are muddied when it involves a large corporation, because it involves questions of corporate governance.
If you are a shareholder, what role do you have to correct an out of line manager? What obligation do you have?
If you are a customer, what role do you have to correct an out of line manager? What obligation do you have?
If you are a neighbor, what role do you have to correct an out of line manager? What obligation do you have?
If you are an employee, what role do you have to correct an out of line manager? What obligation do you have?
Obedience To Authority Is Not The Same As Property Rights
Obedience to authority is not the same as property rights. Yet many libertarian and conservative thinkers find themselves arguing in favor of mere obedience to authority and inaccurately calling it property rights. Sometimes obedience to authority is a component of property rights. Sometimes it is not. It comes down to a question of the legimtimacy of the authority and the legitimacy of orders. As we all know, “I was just following orders,” or “I was just doing my job,” simply doesn’t cut it.
A Few Reasons Why The Most Important Thinkers Of Our Day Get This Wrong
These questions of corporate governance are not simple questions to answer and are often left out when it comes to conversations on property rights. This happens for three reasons:
1.) many libertarian and conservative thinkers on these topics have very little experience with corporate governance
2.) what experience they do have is strongly aligned with being obedient to a superior,
3.) the overwhelming majority of conservative and libertarian scholarship on this issue is funded by big corporations or organizations aligned with big corporations.
A bias often comes into play and the bias so blurs the lines between corporate governance, property rights, obedience, and authority.
Is This A Waste Of Time?
There are people who deserve our attention and people who do not. Some may say that this manager does not deserve my serious consideration. That may be right. I was amused at the idea that he found it appropriate to tell me that my conversations on religion with anyone was a form of harassment. Or that my conversations on face masks are a form of harassment. Of course that is what some would like to be the new normal.
After two years of dismantling society based on the Covid narrative, the largest perpetrators want the crimes of the past forgotten. I will not be doing that. I will make the past two years an example in my life of where we need to never go again. I will be the annoying broken record, helping to ensure that we never go back there. Is that harassing? No, not the way I did that.
Braver People Than Me Will Feel Very “Harassing” To Some
Some people who are a little more passionate than me have made it known and will continue to make it known — at Trader Joe’s and elsewhere — how free people behave in a free country.
Hundreds of people who have watched this video have 1.) made phone calls to that Trader Joe’s and others, 2.) have started talking religion during checkout, and 3.) have started talking about face masks and Covid at checkout.
Why The Future May Feel Very “Harassing” To A Snowflake
The future may feel very “harassing” to a snowflake who has lived through twenty or thirty years of tens of millions of Americans being silent and never saying a single honest, heartfelt word in public. Something tells me that the future will not look like that. Something tells me we are entering a period of radical public honesty, and not just from the political left.
Something tells me that some of the lions in the silent majority, decent, quiet, hard working middle class America are learning the price of not speaking up and learning to speak up.
This Trader Joe’s matter is a small blip on the screen of a much more important trend. Those who control our food supply, medical supply, and many other areas of life believe they will be able to exert vast control. And good people will be able to stand their ground in appropriate ways that will prevent that. This is a microcosm of a greater battle between good and evil and a microcosm of a battle between between individual freedom and collective society.
This is a battle we are each called to in our own lives. To sit it out is to sit out some of the most important parts of American history.
I write you, asking you to be among those vocal people speaking heartfelt truth as much as you can. The silent majority means so little. Your words matter so much.
If you are still using Google or Duck Duck Go to find the truth, tap here (https://realstevo.com/search) to get my report on which search engines will not censor you. On the very first page I list out the two search engines that do not censor results and the 11 that do. You can also receive that free report by texting the word TRUTH to the number 33777.