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Retail workers sharing political opinions

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This came up recently on a friends Facebook feed and I'd like E Hell's take on it.

The place where my friend normally goes for coffee expressed a rather different opinion to her while making her coffee this morning, dismissing the point of view of my friend. My friend went out of her way to explain her own views about the subject, though the cafe owner listened reluctantly and rolled her eyes as she explained.

What are your views on this? In my opinion I thought the cafe owner was wiser to keep her opinions to herself, regardless of what they were. Though her friends were of the opinion that my grind should have tried to convert her.

It sounds as though your friend started the conversation?  I think it's rude to throw politics into conversation in a brief transaction and silly to then get offended if the other person disagrees with you. 

Yes, the cafe owner may have been wiser to keep their views to themself, in the interests of good business.   But your friend seems to have a strange need to want everybody she encounters to share her views, that she is going to such lengths to "explain her own view" to a stranger who is reluctant to hear them.     Your friend was rude here, trying to "convert" shop assistants is definitely bad manners.  A polite adult accepts that others in society who we interact with may have differing views to our own.  Unless it's relevant to the transaction it's rude to turn the transaction into a political debate.

I'm not sure how it exactly started, it may have even been the cafe owner saying something skeptical about my friends views that started the whole thing. She is rather passionate about her own opinions, even if they do differ from mine and we've had interesting discussions where each of us has learned something about the other side.

What annoys me the most is some of her friends think she should confer this person. That's rather presumptuous to me.

Had it been me, I would have said something non-committal and vague.

If the friend brought it up first, she shouldn't be surprised at the reaction or at the fact the shop owner wasn't interested in hearing anything more about it.  If she doesn't want to be encountered by this reaction, she should keep it to herself.  It's not polite to discuss politics in this setting.  Trying to convert strangers is not necessarily going to end well.   

If the shop owner started it, I still think it's rude, but it's her store.  She can deal with the fallout of customers for it.  It's not proper in business, but if that's the direction the shop owner wants to go, I guess she has a right to do it.  She probably would have been wise to keep her mouth shut to your friend, but if her view is that "out of line" to the shopowner's views, no problem speaking up.  If this were an employee, I'd fall back on what her employer finds acceptable.  If an employee held the same opposing views as your friend and was sure to tell the customers about it, I doubt it would go over well.

I think your friend was wrong if she brought it up first.  If the shopowner brought it up to her, I see nothing wrong with expressing her own opinion, but should probably realize there are times when one must drop the subject and let it go.  I hope she didn't hold up the line while trying to debate.  I don't think this is the time and the place.  She can vote with her feet and shop elsewhere if it's a big problem for her.

Whoever brought politics into the conversation started it, and it's their fault. No-one needs to know the political opinions of the person who makes their coffee, or the person who is buying their coffee. Neither should be trying to convince the other of the rightness of their own views.

Café owner shouldn't have been rolling her eyes, regardless.


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