A Mashpee ice cream parlor’s plan for a soft online re-opening led to angry customers harassing employees, leading some to quit, the shop’s owner said.

Mark Lawrence said his plan was to re-open Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlor for online orders only Friday to comply with social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. But word got out and shop’s re-opening attracted crowds.

“We opened quietly to a select group and it just went wild,” Lawrence said. “Everybody saw that we were open, we are very established in the community after 19 years, people were driving past us saying, ‘Oh my god, they are open!'”

And many of those customers didn’t understand the safe system, demanding ice cream on the spot and yelling at employees to the point of them quitting.

“People were pulling in and saying ‘I want my ice cream now,’ and it doesn’t work that way, we must’ve had 40 cars out there,” Lawrence said, adding many would-be customers berated his workers. “Rude isn’t the word, vulgar isn’t the word … you don’t use those kinds of words towards an 18-year-old young lady.”

Lawrence posted on Facebook about the harassment and since then, he’s received hundreds of messages of support. He said he hopes customers will be more patient in the future as the shop tries to navigate sales during the pandemic.

“You have to be nice to people,” Lawrence said. “We are trying, I have no clue what we are doing, we are trying.”

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