Samantha Bolen is standing proudly behind her staff after an anti-masker shot and posted a video inside her book store refusing to follow mask policies.
“I was thrilled with how they handled themselves,” said Bolen in an interview with Victoria Buzz.
Bolen is the owner of Bolen Books, a local bookstore based in Hillside Mall. She says that the store has very clear mandatory mask policies that are in place to keep her staff and customers safe.
The store asks every customer to wear a mask during business hours, but offers options for people to shop one-on-one without masks by appointment.
Appointments can be made for one hour before opening hours Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, or Wednesday nights between 6 to 7 p.m.
“There’s also the opportunity for delivery, and an opportunity to wear face shields instead,” said Bolen.
“We are also willing to let people give us their lists and pick books up for them, to bring visa machines.”
None of that seemed to matter to an anti-masker who posted a video to Youtube on October 12, confronting staff who explained they would not permit them to shop in-store without masks.
In the video, staff offer the appointment option to the unseen anti-masker, who refers to other anti-maskers accompanying them and demands the manager’s phone number.
Near the end of the video, a male staff member asks the anti-maskers to leave the store, and the person shooting the video asks the staff member to call the police.
“If you wish to escalate it to that degree, very well,” the staff member says, before going behind the store counter.
“We would like to buy the books, so if you’re not going to let us buy the books you’ll have to call the police,” the anti-masker says, before the video ends.
Bolen says that her staff conducted themselves professionally and gracefully.
“I just want to praise the staff for handling themselves so well,” she said. “I think they handled themselves with grace in an ugly situation.”
The store owner says the majority of her customers are supportive of the store policy and her staff have handled other situations as well.
“We treat our customers with respect and with grace and I expect reciprocal treatment,” said Bolen. “99 per cent of people do that. People are by and large very kind.”
She added that the small number of people who cause trouble in her store can shop elsewhere.
“To the few that are questioning if they have to wear masks: they don’t have to shop here. It’s their choice. If you choose to shop here, I do expect a level of respect in these situations.”
Bolen Books celebrates their 45th Anniversary under Samantha Bolen’s ownership this weekend and is marking the occasion with in-store discounts and a prize draw.