So, El 3atal and I were talking today about one of our pet peeves. That would be smokers who ignore the laws and smoke in non-smoking areas. Malls are a favorite place for this, absolutely. We happened to be a Mecca Mall today. We stopped down to get cash from the bank of ATMs. Some shabaab and his friend were standing there chatting next to the garbage can (that has an ashtray on top of it… don’t ask me why). He pulls out a cigarette and lights it and begins puffing. Mind you, he’s standing immediately under the huge no smoking sign. So, I (being me) walked over, smiled, pointed to the sign… then I pointed to the exit and said, it’s allowed outside. It’s right there. Mind you, the whole conversation took place in Arabic. And I was smiling the whole time. With a smirk and a “what a stupid lady” expression on his face… he went outside with his nasty cancer stick.
This led El 3atal and I to generate an idea that would solve Jordan’s monetary woes and cure its populace of ignoring the no smoking in public places law. It’s actually brilliant in its simplicity. Since people have such trouble generating the strength of character to enforce the no-smoking law, give them a significant incentive. For every place that is covered in the no-smoking law, make the shop owner responsible. Have a roving group of officers that have the sole job of providing on-the-spot checks. If someone is smoking in violation of the law, fine the store owner. I’m talking a 15JD fine per instance. If there are 3 guys smoking inside your shop, that’s 45JDs on the spot. If the setting is a mall, anyone in common areas generates a fine for the mall owner/management firm. If it’s a mall employee (think cleaning crews, guards, etc.) the fine is doubled. And these are on-the-spot fines. No going to your friend the holder of wasta and getting them removed. They’re paid when they’re incurred. No money, shop closes… Talk about simple and powerful.
Today, at Mecca Mall in their food court alone, the city could have made over 100 JDs in less than hour. And to avoid being hit with huge fines, the malls and other places would hire employees to wander around and instantly make people put their cigarettes out or leave the establishment. I mean, paying some young Jordanian with limited employment options 10 JDs an hour would still save them 90 JDs an hour, right? Imagine, we’d cure youth unemployment and generate HUGE revenues for Jordan. I think it’d be enough to pull us out of this economic slump. And the other thing it would do… it’s send the message that we really DO care about our most defenseless citizens. We actually care that children not be subjected to second-hand smoke. Imagine if we showed that we really do care. I think it would mean an awful lot. So, that’s my idea, any thoughts?
Happy Great Jordanian Smoke-Out!