Albie (60), Market Vendor. Wellington, NZ.

Social division and “othering”: After the 2nd lockdown, once it had resumed operating (under restrictions), & while I was engaged in preparing coffee for a local Farmers' Markets' customers, their management committee encouraged QR scanning, and the wearing of masks indoors. However, if exempt, certain vendors and customers in the outdoor areas chose not to wear masks. Unfortunately there were quite a number of irate, belligerent customers (& committee) who verbally challenged and abused them, almost to the point of physical altercation, some of whom surprised us by their vehemence (ie coming from people who surprised us with their biases). One consequence of a committee member* abusing 2 vendors was that 2 of them* “spat the dummy” and quit the committee, leaving only a few to carry the load. The resulting tension and atmosphere was totally unnecessary, and positively divisive, not to mention affected the operation and viability of the market for a year or more afterwards. The “othering” of non-complying individuals and groups was a negative and angering result, which polarised friends, families and groups. I believe it will take a long time before these wounds are healed, and I can already see the changed social changes and attitudes being expressed in so many ways. However, I do pray the healing may be quicker and more complete, and reunite the nation. Thank you for telling these stories.

Share This