Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Michigan Smoking Ban Protest

I did something on Monday night that I have not done in probably close to two years; I went down to the corner bar, sat on a stool, and ordered a beer. That night I also did something for the first time in my entire life; I went down to the corner bar, sat on a stool, ordered a beer, and breathed smoke free air.

It has been over six weeks since Michigan's ban on smoking in most bars and restaurants took effect, and I have to admit it was nice sitting there without the smoke entering my lungs and permeating my clothing.

It was not so nice for the cook or the bartender, who can no longer smoke on the job, or for the business owner whose revenues are off about twenty percent since the ban started.

To compensate, some employees' work hours have been scaled back. The cook and bartender, who depend on tips to supplement their already less than attractive wages, are finding that both their paychecks and the tip jar are a bit lighter.

It isn't that crowds of people are avoiding the bar now that the ban is in effect, though some people certainly do that. The problem for the owner and employees is that shortly after patrons come into the bar and order a drink, that familiar craving for a cigarette starts to kick in. Shortly after that the patron gets up and goes home--taking his nearly full wallet with him.

Oddly, benevolent proponents of the legislation have not been frequenting taverns often enough to make up for the losses even though their squawking prior to law's enactment made it sound like the only reason they weren't down there cutting a rug or playing pool 24/7 was those damn Camels.

Its almost as if our dear overlords were making a law aimed primarily at controlling the legal behavior of other people in a private establishment. On the other hand, maybe it wasn't until after the smoking ban took affect that they discovered most bars use paper napkins and blare George Jones on the jukebox.

From a comfort standpoint, I like the ban. From the standpoint of freedom, I think that our overlords in Lansing are engaging in a tyrannical power grab and sticking their bulbous noses where they do not belong.

I am not here today to rehash my arguments against the ban, I've done that enough times that even Mom is bored with it. What I am posting about today is a response that many bar owners affected by the ban are undertaking--a boycott of Michigan Lotto for one business day.

That day would be today.

Of course government lottery officials are arrogantly sticking their noses in the air over such short-sighted protests. The businesses are "only hurting themselves" they say flippantly while reaching, pinkie in air, for the Almas.

However, what else should Lansing expect from taxpaying private business owners and their taxpaying employees who have had their incomes slashed by government for no other reason than George Washington isn't around today to kick our legislators' asses?

While government officials mock restaurants and bars for their resistance, businesses that operate on low margins might have only one other recourse left, and that might be to shut the doors once and for all. Which, come to think of it, might suit the state just fine. Out of business taverns are also smoke free.


Anonymous said...

smoke from tobacco in a decently ventilated venue is a statistically
insignificant health risk

Anonymous said...

I spent my formative years learning that smokers couldn't give a rat's ass how other people feel.

You can guess how much I care about their feelings now.

Anonymous said...

Boooo Bacon! :( Hater...........