Fredericton — Perennially unemployed Fredericton man Keith Hathaway was turned away at the doors of his nearby ANBL when he accidentally rattled off the employment insurance answers in response to the COVID-19 screening questions.
“I was jonesin’ for some juice, so I swung by NB Liquor down on York,” recounted Hathaway. “The bouncer started asking me the questions, you know, the ‘do you have any symptoms, have you travelled out of the province lately, have you been in contact with anyone who has coronavirus’ — all those.
“I just instinctively said ‘no no no yes no,’ but in fact the right answers were ‘no no no no no.’ I’m such an idiot! I had my mask on, hands sanitized, but the guy working wouldn’t even give me a do-over! He just sent me home with no booze at all!”
The employee told us that this has happened quite a few times, because there’s a lot of overlap between people always on E.I. and the liquor agency’s most loyal customers.
“When you’re on the pogey you’re here all the time,” said Aaron Johnson, the employee who turned Hathaway away. “Lots of people trip up on the answers. It’s all ‘no,’ folks — memorize it before you get here!”
Johnson advises customers who are concerned they might mess up under pressure to write the E.I. answers on one hand, and the COVID-19 answers on the other.
“We all need a cheat sheet now and then,” he explained, “especially during these unprecedented times.”
At press time, Hathaway was headed first to Sobeys to pick up a bottle of Boone’s, then to the reserve to grab some weed from one of the pot shops where “they don’t try to trick you.”