Friday, 6 August 2010


After a smashing afternoon (the tiles are gone, the kitchen looks like Bin Laden's practice ground and I am assured it can be screeded at the weekend for the usual currency [whisky, and the price of the floor levelling stuff]), I've been out with free fridge magnets this evening. They work just great.

They don't 'stick', they attach. No peeling off backing, no pressing, all I do is pass my hand over a surface and presto - a 'resistance' image appears. A stumble, reach out and grab a pillar, right myself and carry on. The Magnetosmoky in my palm is no longer there.

I wasn't around the town centre pubs. It's Friday and there are wandering bands of drunks, plus every smoking area is too full for a surreptitious label. I don't want it obvious. I want people to be curious about them, to wonder where they came from and discuss them. Then visit the website to find out what it's all about. If I just hand them out, I become another of those leaflet pests and the message will be ignored.

There are two large supermarkets here. Smokers work in them. They have, not so much 'designated areas' but 'tolerated areas' where staff can have a smoke in their breaks. So the smokers congregate in those areas but only when they have breaks. Most of the time they are deserted. Easy targets for Magnetosmoky. Steel pillars, adjacent recycling bins, a bin placed next to a seat, with an ashtray on top, anywhere the smokers gather.

I know that employees of supermarkets have discount cards. Usually ten percent off anything in store, after a certain period of working there. Anything, that is, except tobacco. They can get ten percent off whisky. They pay full price, just like everyone else, at the tobacco counter. Then they have to go and huddle next to the bins to smoke them, among the wasps and the flies which are, fortunately, repelled by tobacco smoke.

What, you didn't know? Surely everyone knows. Doesn't your memory extend back those few short years, to summer evenings plagued with midges? We smokers were everyone's friend back then. Nicotine is an insecticide.

Don't get excited, Righteous. Caffeine is an insecticide too, which is why coffee grounds go in the compost as well. Chocolate kills dogs and many other animals and birds, but not humans. One man's pipe is another insect's poison. Life is nowhere near as simple as the average Righteous mind.

Anyway, those supermarket employees are not just in the same boat as everyone else when it comes to UK tobacco prices. They, arguably, are in a worse position because despite working for the place that sells the stuff, despite getting a staff discount on anything else including bleach, rat poison and weedkiller, they pay full price for one stock item. Smokes. The one thing they are relegated to the bin area to use. I hope they are more than averagely furious.

One thing I won't do with Magnetosmoky patches is stick them on vehicles. They might fly off at speed and damage something and smokers have quite enough adverse publicity to deal with as it is. If the Daily Bloodpressure could get a photoshopped image of one sticking out of a child's eye, they'd use it. If they could get a real image of one sticking out of the Dreadful Arnott's eye, I'd get a T-shirt made.

Midweek, I'll pass by some of the pubs that don't let me smoke in them any more and stumble against their humiliating and degrading outside ashtrays. That magnetic photo paper is expensive so I'll see how far I can reduce the image size and still keep it legible.

You know, it's not the tax I object to here. I don't mind paying extra tax for something that is not essential. It seems to me that taxes should be on luxuries only and let's face it, smoking is a luxury. I don't need to smoke. I do it because I like it. I won't die if I didn't smoke (well, eventually I would anyway) just as drivers wouldn't die if there was no more petrol and compulsive knitters wouldn't die if there was no more wool. That last one is interesting from the vegan point of view. If nobody eats meat, do they really imagine farmers would make enough from wool sales only to keep sheep? That's for another time...

So, we should tax luxuries like widescreen televisions and leather sofas and so on, but there should be no tax on food or clothes or books or basic internet or cookers or fridges... I know, there are grey areas as to what constitutes 'essential' in these things but everyone needs food and the means to store and cook it. Nobody needs a gold-plated Aga. The details can be worked out in the hundred years or so it will take me to get into any position of power.

Tobacco is not essential so under my own rules, it should be taxed. I have no problem with that. My problem arises where the tax I have paid in the past (which is far, far more than I have ever - or could ever - cost the NHS) is used to treat me as filth. Where that tax is used to encourage the feeble-minded and the inconsequential to act as if their lives are more important than other people's lives. Where that tax is used to put smokers in a position where they can be beaten up or killed simply for smoking, and nobody minds. Where that tax can be used to pay people in the NHS who then refuse to treat people who have paid the extra tax. Where that tax pays for barring me from the pub. Where that tax pays for 'research' into third hand smoke, the conclusions of which are predetermined and which will be used to slap me around further. And much, much more.

The premise is not hard to grasp. You antismokers wanted war and now you have it. Your opponents are no longer going to take the hits and not fight back. Your schoolyard bully antics are clear to more and more each day. You take money from us and then beat us up. Just like the school thugs have done down the ages. Well, your victims are going to learn a new way to fight back. You'll see. We'll show you. A simple way, an easy way to destroy the thuggery and vindictiveness smokers have experienced in recent years. Yes, recent. Those with memories superior to goldfish will recall how it was before 2007 (2006 in Scotland). There are more of us than the Righteous think. Many more. The rest just need a reminder of their school days and how the bullying worked back then. We won't pay you to beat us up any more.

You won't get any more of my dinner money, bullies.

Truth be told, you never did.

And now, it's printer time. I need more fridge magnets.


Chris said...

If nobody eats meat, do they really imagine farmers would make enough from wool sales only to keep sheep? That's for another time...

Difficult to say. You know that a lot of the beautiful parish churches in East Anglia were paid for purely from wool export profits, right? Sheep were like self-replicating fuzzy white gold back in the day.

1. Whack 'em out on some grass.
2. Shear once a year.
3. Profit.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Aye. But there was no competition from nylon and other acrylics. Unless you went for linen, Fur or leather, wool was about the ONLY way you could have clothing.

A cornered market.

Would you consider trying to get rich todays, by selling Olivetti 62 typewriters?

Jill said...

Not that I disagree with the thrust of this article, but it's worth pointing out that the retailer margin on fags and tobacco, even for supermarkets, is 5-7.5% - hence no staff discount. It's not a moral position. They make about the same amount in Lotto commission.

Anonymous said...

A bit cheaper type of magnetic
sticking can be acheived with
magnetic-adhesive sheets which can
be cut and stuck to suit.
Last time I saw these sheets was in a POUNDWORLD shop £1 for an A4
which does about 100 stickers.
Another cheap and easy to remove
methods are the small sticky tabs (£1 for 320) which are less likely to upset
It makes it easier also for the
reader to take away and spread the word,and when they're gone stick
another one in its place

Just carry on sticking

Stickum Maximus

Ed P said...

Daer Anony-mouse,
Are the A4 sheets magnetic one side and adhesive on the other (front) face?
If so, you could print lots of A4 labels with multiple images, stick them on and cut out fridge magnets.

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