Disclaimer: This post is about smoking. Smoking is bad. When I was 16-17 I was the coolest fucking kid in the world and started to smoke. Now I am 27 and addicted. One day I hope to write a post about that is no longer the case.
Walking between 8th street and 2nd street on any given day in San Francisco, regardless of if I am currently smoking or not I will be asked at least 2-3 times if I have an extra cigarette or if I would be willing to sell one for anywhere from $0.25 to $1.00. If I am actively smoking this goes from 2-3 times to about 5-6 times. So extrapolating those numbers I get asked up to 12 times a day to part ways with my cancer sticks. 20 come in a pack, and a pack is about $7 so if I wanted to subsidize the smoking habits of everyone in this city I would go broke pretty quickly.
I have implemented a quota system where I will give away a cigarette to the first person who asks during the day, and say no to everyone else. Some people get angry when you say no, but trying to explain the quota system to them when they are in the middle of a desperate plea to satisfy their craving does not usually work. Other people just move along without saying anything.
Today, I got the best response ever from a guy who just missed the quota (he was the third person to ask me this morning). When I said, “no sorry”, he said “Oh, alright. Well… don’t get cancer.”
It was so satisfyingly passive aggressive that I had to write it down. Other people would typically just say “well, fuck you then.” This guy took it to the next level. Thank you stranger, and I hope that you can catch me first thing in the morning next time.
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