toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

June 10, 2009

sabotage your toxic job!

Aideen recounts what it was like to work in a bar before the non-smoking laws came into force, and believes that the anti-smoking lobby gained ground because it had saboteurs in pubs and clubs tampering with ineffective air conditioning to ensure that everyone came out stinking like an ashtray and complained about it.

"I don’t blame smokers – they were merely exercising their legal right to smoke, just like drivers have a legal right to clog up our lungs with the toxic fumes emitted from their vehicles, making the job of a traffic warden particularly toxic," says Aideen, "but I do blame private operators, and the government, for allowing the situation to become so toxic that sabotage was necessary."

"Pub and club proprietors were liable for creating those smoke-filled hells," claims Aideen, "and in the same way that they were long ago forced by law to provide fire exits, they should also have been forced by law to provide 100% effective exhaust fans and ventilation to ensure a steady flow of clean air so that everyone, particularly the bar staff, could breathe properly."

"If the pubs and clubs had proper ventilation and an alarm system in place when it is turned off, or tampered with, there would have been no stink," says Aideen. "Imagine a vehicular tunnel built without proper ventilation. In a traffic jam the drivers and their passengers would be quickly asphyxiated. It's the same with smoking in crowded pubs and clubs, but not as lethal of course."

"If your loved one was a truck driver who died of toxic fume poisoning in a traffic jam in a poorly ventilated tunnel -- doing his job without the pleasure of driving a vehicle -- do you blame the selfish car drivers for causing the traffic jam and for driving cars with toxic exhaust fumes? Do you berate them for not catching a train or bus -- or even walking to their destination?"

"Or, do you accept that these people have a legal right to drive a car for pleasure, emitting all the toxic exhaust fumes they like, and that blame for your loved one's death lies not with them but with the tunnel operators?"

"If you think logically and rationally about this problem," explains Aideen, "the blame for pubs and clubs once being stinking, smoke-filled hells lies not with the smokers -- who were merely indulging a legal right to smoke -- but with the proprietors of the premises."

"Smokers don't like being forced to breathe in other people's smoke either," says Aideen. "It's not a problem that only non-smokers have to suffer. And it's hell for bar staff to have to work in  smoke-filled hells."

"Proper ventilation was probably mooted," says Aideen, "but considering that profit is all that these people are concerned about it was definitely cheaper for them to go with the non-smoking ban than to consider expensive air treatment equipment."

"A vehicular tunnel operator cannot operate without providing expensive air treatment equipment because exhaust fumes are part and parcel of vehicle movement," explains Aideen. "It's not like pub and club proprietors are running smoking establishments is it? Their business is the sale of alcohol and too bad for smoking patrons who enjoy a smoke with their drinks."

"In fact, if you want to be cynical about the whole thing there must have been many pub and club proprietors who fervently hated smokers and deliberately turned off the air conditioning in order to precipitate a situation where everyone -- smokers and non-smokers alike -- started stinking like ashtrays."

"There must have been a lot of this sort of subversive activity going on - and I'm not admitting to participating in it,"  laughs Aideen, "but let's face it, the smoking bans gave a lot of impetus to anti-smoking pub and club proprietors to sabotage things."

"It's a sort of rub your nose in it mentality they had, isn't it?" says Aideen. "And it's just the sort of thing that rabid anti-smoking pub and club proprietors might have done."

"I remember traveling with my boyfriend (he smokes) in a smoking carriage just before the trains went non-smoking." relates Aideen. "Previously, my journeys with him in a smoking carriage had always been pleasant -- plenty of fresh air, just like when smoking was allowed on planes -- but on this occasion the guards had conspired to turn off all ventilation."

"There were no windows to open, of course. Even though the carriage wasn't packed, a lot of people from the non-smoking carriages came down to have a smoke and go back. It wasn't long before the air was positively putrid."

"I thought about complaining about the lack of air conditioning, but it was easier to just get up and move to a spare seat in one of the non-smoking carriages."

"I'm sure the guards must have had a great laugh at the expense of the hapless smokers who remained in the smoking carriage," says Aideen. "They were literally rubbing the noses of the smokers in the putrid ashtray air, weren't they?"

"It's called passive aggression. People who don't have any real power and are driven by crazy feelings about something often resort to doing abominable things."

"Okay, if it wasn't the pub and club proprietors who turned off the air conditioning in their establishments and made us all smell like ashtrays," says Aideen, "then it was definitely the bar staff - and like I said, I'm not admitting to anything!"

"You know, the sort of people with angelic smiles and manners who get their kicks by spitting on your food before serving you just because they don't like you smoking -- or don't like the color of your skin or whatever?"

"Don't believe it happens?" asks Aideen. "I've lived long enough to learn that some people are capable of doing abominable things and tampering with air-conditioning in order to wreak revenge on smokers is small fry -- they could have done much worse."

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