Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
cigar case, Summer 93
(continued from page 7)
As the signs imposed unreasonable restrictions on my rights, I went to a corner of the pool, relaxed and lit my cigar. Within a few minutes, the lifeguard came over and stated, "No smoking allowed." I then said, "I have been coming to this hotel for eight years. I guess I am considered a good customer, and I will not put up with ridiculous anti-smoking signs." I continued: "You can call the police, you can call security, you can call the manager. I am not putting out my cigar."
Whereupon this dutiful lifeguard picked up the phone, and within a half-hour a burly security guard came walking down from the hotel to the pool and said, "You will have to put that cigar out. No smoking is allowed." I retorted, "Why are there signs posted by an outdoor pool? I have been coming to this hotel ... etc., etc." He then replied: "Maryland has a law against smoking by pools." I said, "Show me the law, and I'll put out my cigar, check out of this hotel and never come back again." I waited all day, continuing to smoke cigars, and no one came and showed me the law.
On my own, I called the State of Maryland Department of Health and the city (where the hotel is located) health department, and neither one had any laws on the books about prohibiting smoking in outdoor areas, in or out of a pool.
The next day, I retrieved my isolated corner at the pool and continued to smoke a cigar. Again, the lifeguard came, and again I told her to call the police, security, call whomever she wanted. This time, no one came.
On the third day of my stay, the food manager of the hotel, whom I became friendly with over the course of my stay at this hotel, came down to the pool and sat down alongside me. I said to him, "Bob (not his real name), don't tell me they sent you down here to tell me to put out my cigar?" His answer was, "No, they didn't, but I already know about the problem, the manager knows about the problem and pretty soon, if you continue to smoke your cigar, the whole world will know about the problem." I said to him, "Don't you think it's ridiculous to post no-smoking signs outdoors?" He said, very quietly, "If I were you, I would pay no attention and continue to smoke my cigar." I agreed with him and, after a long conversation with him on other subjects, he went about his business.
When I got back to my office in Long Island, I had my secretary find out who owned this hotel and I wrote the owners a letter detailing my dissatisfaction. Within a short period of time I received a reply from the general manager of the holding company that owned this hotel and other hotels in nearby states. He stated that he would look into the and matter find out what happened.
In July I spent four days at the same hotel with my wife, my 19 son and his family.
When I arrived at the hotel (I usually check in first) I went to the pool and--as if a miracle had occurred--the signs were no longer posted. I then checked in and went to the pool and smoked my cigar in peace and quiet. Later that evening, I ran into "Bob" and asked him what happened to the no-smoking signs at the pool. He stated that the general manager came to the hotel, spoke to the manager of the hotel and, after inquiring about an outdoor smoking law, found out there was none and had the signs removed. "Bob" further stated that the general manager thought this was a ridiculous event and that he would send me a box of cigars.
Some time after my July stay, a small box of cigars arrived at my home with a little note apologizing for any inconvenience I might have had at this hotel. This hotel chain is one of the premier chains in the U.S. and it certainly lived up to its reputation with this gesture. The cigars were from the Canary Islands and very mild. (The person who purchased them obviously is not a cigar smoker.)
So you see, you can fight city hall and win and not be obnoxious about it!
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