Remember Spring 2020? How we were thrust into lockdown/quarantine, but even though we were antsy and just wanted to bust out, we looked out for and appreciated each other? Every evening at 7p, the streets near hospitals would erupt with applause and honking and "thank you's" to nurses and other medical personnel during shift change.

It even seemed like we were more patient with each other, too. Patience with nurses administering a ridiculous amount of COVID tests during the spring. Patience with each other while we were in the grocery store, masked up and getting used to the "one way" aisle signs, with people apologizing to strangers if they accidentally went the wrong way, and the receivers of the apology being beyond friendly with a simple, "No worries, it happens/we're all getting used to it."

And then, seemingly overnight, it all changed at the drop of a dime. Apologies for going the wrong way in an aisle were replaced with dirty looks and what could only be imagined as scowls from beneath a mask. Patience with busy, worn out, and frankly frightened nurses was replaced with snarky remarks and flip attitudes if there was a bit of a wait.

Fast forward to today's current issue -- respect and patience for local businesses. For weeks, even months, there have been countless accounts of understaffed businesses dealing with rude, impatient, and disrespectful customers. Social media has begun to be flooded with pictures of signs that business owners are hanging on their doors, either asking for patience or talking about how they won't put up with disrespectful customers.

Which brings us to this video that was posted on Facebook by Bowl-O-Rama Family Fun Center on Lafayette Road in Portsmouth. The video, which lacks audio, shows a group of customers at the counter in a heated exchange with a member of the staff (who turned out to be the General Manager.) With zero context and just watching the video on its own, it looks as though they frustratingly fling flyers back at the employee before throwing a piece of paper at him. Along with the video, though, is an explanation from Bowl-O-Rama.

Allow us to publicly post 100% support for our staff as well, who continues to be faced with rude, belligerent, and frankly abusive behavior.
15 minutes ago, an angry party of 12 descended upon our staff, unhappy about the overall price of their dinner, bowling, shoes, and extensive bar tab for 12 people. Upon attempting to diffuse and work through the situation, our team was screamed at past the point of tears, threatened, and as the video clearly shows, a male patron crumpled up the bill, which he asked for, and threw it directly at Andrew, general manager of Bowl-O-Rama.
TO BE CLEAR: Do not patronize our business if you cannot speak and act with respect, or if there is any chance of you berating our team, yelling like a madperson, threatening, swearing, or calling our staff derogatory names several times. You will be asked to leave and not return, and the police will be called. We don’t care if you leave a bad review, as every member of this group promised to do.
We will, however work through legitimate issues that arise respectfully. Once you pull out the “R”, “F”, or “C” word, or otherwise verbally or physically assault our team - all bets are off.
This behavior has to stop NOW. #justbenice #respect

Remember not all that long ago when we were all about going above and beyond to support our local businesses to make sure they stayed afloat? Giving them our patronage as much as possible and however possible so that this pandemic didn't chew them up and spit them out? Where did THAT mentality go?

There's a quote that's been floating around the last few weeks, while more and more local businesses deal with being short-staffed and doing their best to, again, stay afloat (amidst all the rude encounters now, on top of it) that is something to the effect of, "The world is short-staffed, don't punish those who showed up." Maybe that quote needs to be taken more seriously, because at the end of the day, exactly WHO does this disrespectful behavior benefit? Not ONE person.

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