Mar 9th, 2009 by Nick
This year NSF has decided that, being a government installation and all, there will be no more smoking anywhere indoors. For the last several years, there were three (legitimate) places to smoke: Southern Exposure, and the smoking lounges in 155 and in 209. Now those have been closed to smoking, and a couple of small shelters, mostly unheated and dismal, have taken their place.
Whether you sympathize with smokers or not, you must realize, with even the crudest understanding of sociology, that smokers are not going to quit smoking when you remove the smoking areas, any more than cats are going to quit peeing when you remove their litter boxes. If you take away the cat’s litter box, it’s going to pee on the carpet. And if you shove the smoker into a dismal cold box, he will probably try to heat it, or otherwise make the experience more comfortable for himself. Or find a nice juicy place to smoke inside when no one is watching.
“This is an example of sheer stupity.” -RPSC Winter Site Manager
NSF is shooting itself in the foot with this policy, and it will be interesting to see it unfold. Rather than confine the smokers to a few areas, thus maintaining control, NSF is choosing instead to make all areas equally illegitimate or unsavory for smoking, thus allowing people to decide for themselves where and how to break the rules that stubbornly don’t accommodate them.
Has anyone in NSF ever glanced at even the most cursory psychology text?
Here is an email from the RPSC Winter Site Manager responding to a wastebasket fire that was set in one of the smoking shelters. The document is remarkable more in form than in function, so I have retained the formatting. The manager begins seriously and professionally in a normal font, but after a few sentences, that professionalism seems too weak for him.
Thus he increases the font size and adds some bold to declare his conviction. After a few more sentences, even this large bold writing is not enough to contain his seething anger at being stuck in a dark cold hell with a bunch of morons who light wastepaper baskets on fire to keep warm like a bunch of Detroit hobos, so he then moves up to the final expression of scorn: a larger and bolder font, but now burning in fiery red to remind you of his boiling contempt.