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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Curbside
The state has had so many contact tracers disappear into that shop that they've had to start a contact tracer tracing program.
Title text: The state has had so many contact tracers disappear into that shop that they've had to start a contact tracer tracing program.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by an ANGRY GHOST. Could use some elaboration; explain title text. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

Beret Guy is making contact with a shop that sells cursed items, only to vanish when the customer tries to return the product. He has previously mentioned doing most of his shopping (including groceries) at such locations in 1772: Startup Opportunity, and visited one (possibly the same one) several months earlier in 2332: Cursed Chair. That visit ended with him trying to stop the COVID-19 pandemic by destroying a the cursed chair, but evidently he either failed to destroy the chair or found that doing so didn't halt the pandemic.

After confirming that he has the right number, Beret Guy asks if the cursed store does curbside pickup, as he intends to place an order for bread and a cursed amulet, but does not wish to go inside during the pandemic. Many grocery stores have started offering such services, allowing a customer to place an order over the phone or online, then receive it outside the store, thus minimizing the interaction with store staff or other customers. Closed spaces are understood to pose a greater risk of contagion than the outdoors, where wind and sun can mitigate airborne viral particles.

The store's contact replies that no, they do not offer curbside pickup, but tries to assure Beret Guy that all employees at the location wear masks. (They might be wearing haunted Halloween masks.) When Beret Guy expresses disappointment at the revelation, complaining about the stuffy air of the shop, the contact advises him to consider the virus as part of the curses that come with their products. An angered Beret Guy promptly proclaims that he will not be doing business with the location if they are going to showcase such an attitude towards the pandemic.

The title text explains that due to the more lax precautions in the store, enough people have gotten Covid there that contact tracers were sent to trace contacts. However, because the store is haunted/possessed, all the contact tracers have disappeared, leading the state to create a tracing program to find the missing contact tracers. The joke here is that the contact tracers must now be traced by another tracing program.

Transcript

[Beret Guy talking on a cell phone. The response from the person on the phone is in a jagged bubble.]
Beret Guy: Hi, is this the shop that sells cursed items but when you try to return them the shop is gone?
Phone: Yes, how can I help you?
[A frameless panel. Beret Guy still talking on the phone]
Beret Guy: Do you do curbside pickup? I wanted to buy a cursed amulet that angers ghosts, and some groceries.
Phone: No, but it's okay, we wear masks.
[Zoomed in on other side of Beret Guy's face]
Beret Guy: So you can't bring stuff out?
Phone: I'm afraid not.
Beret Guy: But it's so stuffy in there!
[The callee's response is on the top of the panel. Beret Guy is now holding his phone in front of him, ready to end the call.]
Phone: Why not think of the virus as part of the amulet's curse?
Beret Guy: Excuse me!? I'm trying to buy some bread and do battle with ghosts, not endanger my family and friends in a pandemic!
Beret Guy: I will take my business elsewhere.


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