Ice Cream Shop's Patrons Freak Over New Virus Protocols

Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour says it was one of the worst days in shop's 19 years
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2020 12:30 PM CDT
Ice Cream Shop's Patrons Freak Over New Virus Protocols
   (Getty Images)

A Cape Cod ice cream shop decided to reopen with coronavirus guidelines in place on Friday—and it did not go well, thanks to an ornery public. So much so that owner Mark Lawrence announced on Saturday that he would have to close Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour in Mashpee to the public "for the time being." He tells Boston 25 News that the shop reopened with the stipulation that customers call in their order at least one hour in advance. He says some who apparently didn't became angry when they were told they had to wait upon arriving and spoke to his employees using "language you wouldn’t even say in a men's locker room."

  • Lawrence told the Boston Globe about the set-up he had in place: one employee handling online orders, three scoopers, and three people bringing the orders to the parking lot. And yet he says about 20% of customers were rude, with one going so far as to exit her car and walk up to the window to scream at him. In a Facebook post written late that night, Lawrence said that "in 19 years of operation this is the lowest feeling I have ever felt."

  • A 17-year-old he calls one of his most outstanding employees quit after her Friday shift because of the abuse.
  • In an early Saturday Facebook post, he wrote that it was clear the protocols he had put in place "cannot handle the surge of demand out there. ... Stay tuned as we explore options." Just a few hours later he posted a message of a different sort: "AT THIS TIME I CANNOT RESPOND TO MESSAGES, YOUR SUPPORT IS OVERWHELMING. I WILL READ THEM TONIGHT AND RESPOND." He reportedly served a small number of customers on Saturday, including some who were unable to pick up their orders Friday.
  • Lawrence wrote separately of his teen employee, noting that she didn't turn in her apron on Friday until the final order was fulfilled. He was subsequently "inundated with calls and messages asking if they could send money or what could be done. ... One kind gentleman offered to pay her salary until she came back or found a new job." And so Lawrence started a GoFundMe titled "Support Berated Polar Cave Employee's College Fund." It's up to $7,500 as of this writing.
  • In a post made in the wee hours of Monday morning, Lawrence writes, "We will continue to tweak our efforts and eventually try again to open full speed ahead."
  • A restaurant in Colorado and a hair salon in Dallas courted controversy with their reopenings.
(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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