Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Choices. We All Make them, Some Choose To Make Them For Others.

A couple of days ago Kilo posted this. A nice little post regarding the smoking ban being proposed (and passed, so far) in the Virginia Senate. I commented, as I often do on Kilo's site and let the issue go. I just stopped by there again and see that fellow Kilo reader Tom Joad has completely twisted the intent and meaning of Kilo's original post.

This is an expanded answer to Mr. Joad.


We all make choices every day, Tom. I choose to smoke. It's not an extremely enlightened choice, it is admittedly not a healthy choice, but it is ultimately my choice.

You apparently chose not to, or you chose at some point to quit. Either way, I commend you.

I also make other choices during the course of an average day, as do you. You are perfectly within your rights to choose not to frequent establishments that choose to allow smoking on premises. The workers or prospective workers in such facilities are free to choose to work in an environment that includes cigarette smoke, or to choose not to.

I have a corresponding choice to make, and I make it daily. I could stop at McDonald's or Hardee's for (a smoke free) breakfast, or I can continue on down the road until I reach Kaye's Kitchen. At Kaye's, the waitress is at my table with a cup of hot coffee and an ashtray quicker than I can get rid of all the ad inserts in the Roanoke Times.

My simple question to you, Tom, is why should I (and Kaye's Kitchen) be forced by the power of the Commonwealth to comply with your choice, but not allowed to exercise my choice?

As to Tom's comment below;
(Actually, there is no Kaye at Kaye's Kitchen, but that's irrelevant.)

Apparently you need to read the post again, Tom. Or are you being deliberately obtuse? The subject is choice. Choices available to both parties. You choose to deny either a choice in the matter. Instead, they both must abide by your choice.

It appears your choice is to deny those employees the opportunity to choose whether or not to accept an offer of employment there. You also choose to deny Ms. Kaye the choice of how to operate her business and please (or not please) her customers.

I'm curious now, Tom. Just where is it you work that is so safe? There are no harmful chemicals on the property? No workplace hazards that could harm you? Or did you choose to overlook those minor risks and accept an offer of employment? An offer of employment and an acceptance of a job constitute a legal contract. It is not valid unless both parties accept the conditions of that contract. No one is ever forced to accept employment at a facility they do not choose to frequent.

Some businesses choose to be smoke free. Most even announce that choice in signage near the entrance. Explain why another business should not be allowed an opposite choice. Today's Martinsville Bulletin quotes Will Pearson, owner of Sportlanes and its Ten Pin Cafe (a bowling alley).
But Will Pearson, owner of Sportlanes and the 10-pin Cafe, said the improved, smoke-free atmosphere the ban would create could end up improving business.

"There are a lot of people that do not come out because of the smoking environment," said Pearson.

And as for the smokers, Pearson said he was confident they would quickly adjust to any new law.

"I could see it being difficult short term, but in the long run, it will be a good thing," he said.
If Mr. Pearson is so confident of the benefit such a law would provide his business, why has he not already instituted a no smoking policy? That choice is there for him to make, it could be done tonight and posted on his door tomorrow. According to him it would mean an increase in business. No need to wait for the state to mandate it. Except, if he just waits for the state to do for him what he apparently already wants to do, the negative impact on his business would be reduced. And he knows that.

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