Restaurant work veterans tend to tip well.

Retail work vets are patient shoppers.

Anyone who has worked in the service sector knows how hard it can be, but this week, the job got harder.

On Monday an order went into effect requiring masks, inside and outside, at all businesses in the state. Businesses that don’t comply or enforce the requirement can be fined $500 for each offense. They can also lose their state license to do business.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used the state’s emergency alert system Monday to make sure everyone got the “mask up” message, loud and clear.

‘Course, not everyone listened.

One man may have brandished a knife at local Meijer greeter when she mentioned the m-word. Another man stabbed a bystander who confronted him about mask wearing, and was later shot by police in Eaton County.

This is an extreme version of what is happening everywhere, and while we’re all aware of the debate, our low paid service workforce bears the burden of confronting those who believe mask requirements infringe on their rights.

The Michigan Retailers Association outlined a few concerns that we share: Whitmer’s policy leaves policing to workers — workers who aren’t police and are untrained for this kind of potential danger. Service workers also aren’t trained to render on-the-spot decisions on whether someone cannot “medically tolerate” a mask. Lastly, the power of sanctioning and licensing is put in the customer’s hands, not the business’ practices.

In our current drought of tolerance for others’ beliefs and perspectives, this is match-ready tinder. So we would like to outline some options for those angry with the order, as we know (cough cough) a little something about being the messenger that people want to wave a knife at.

Five things to do if you don’t want to obey the mask order:

1. Call/write/email/text the Governor’s Office. Talk to the order’s author.

2. Call/write/email/text your state politicians. They have influence over the Governor’s actions.

3. Call/write/email/text your national political representatives and ask them to exert top-down influence.

4. Vote.

5. Shop online.

Bonus step — contribute to decreasing COVID-19 numbers in our region by following public health protocols. If numbers go down, masks come off.

We understand why Gov. Whitmer put the mask order into effect.

Predictably, northwestern Michigan’s numbers are going up as we play summer-fun host to hordes of people from everywhere.

Hosting on the scale we do — ask anyone in the service sector — is no easy task.

Yet many, actually, most of us do it. Most American workers are employed in the service sector, i.e. 71 percent of all nonfarm payroll employees work there, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ last Labor Day report.

And if they don’t work there now, there’s a good chance you used to. Or will.

So remember: Venting your frustration at a greeter is like kicking a puppy because you dislike its owner’s hat. The puppy is innocent and just trying to do its puppy job. Pick another way to make your stand.

The MRA suggested doing something that reminded us of the yellow “Support the Troops” ribbons that people wear to show that, while they may or may not agree with the war, they won’t take it out on those who have to follow orders.

Instead of wearing a ribbon, they suggest wearing a mask.

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