Recently, I attended one of those “timeshare” tours where I was given a very hard push of a sales pitch to invest in a timeshare vacation property. The end result was that someone was looking at trying to pry $35,000.00 of my hard earned money for the right to enjoy a vacation at one of the chain’s many properties worldwide. The idea of vacation ownership was intriguing as the facilities were top notch. However, things went downhill quickly after a series of questions were asked.
Me: Are there any smoking rooms?
Agent: All of our rooms are smoke-free
Thinking to Myself: Ok, not good, but do a really want a cigar in my room?
Me: Can you smoke on the balconies?
Agent: I think so, I’m not sure
Thinking to Myself: Not good either – especially if I cannot enjoy a cigar on the balcony. Shouldn’t the agent know this?
Me: How about a smoking area by the pool?
Agent: The entire area by the pool is non-smoking
Me: That is not good, that would be a deal-breaker
Agent: Don’t worry, there is a smoking area away from the pool area (Agent points to a small area with a couple of upright ashtrays with no seating, no canopy, and of course no pool).
The net result was I passed on the timeshare property. While I knew you couldn’t smoke in the rooms, the question mark about the balcony was disturbing. The idea of not having a smoking area by the pool was completely unacceptable. Ok, I don’t like the idea of a segregated smoking area, but I could live with it. The fact that I could not enjoy a cigar by the pool was my breaking point for what I was willing to put up with.
The property agent was really pushing back on me with the pool situation. When I informed the agent that I was unhappy with no area to enjoy a cigar by the pool, the agent really tried to sell an the idea of the smoking area away from the pool area. He explained to me that lots of cigarette smokers make use of it. I tried to explain that cigar smoking is very different than a cigarette smoker. A cigarette smoker can get away with a small area and no seating. A cigar enthusiast is not looking for a quick smoke. The cigar enthusiast is looking to relax with a cigar – smoke one for 1 to 2 hours, and enjoy some of the fellowship of other cigar enthusiasts. As much as I explained this to the agent, the agent just didn’t get it. The agent seemed more to subscribe to the cigarette smoking model as opposed to the cigar enthusiasm model.
This got me thinking about the area that was proposed to be to enjoy my cigar in. The idea of a small area with no seating was not acceptable under ANY circumstances for a cigar enthusiasm – namely because it was just impossible to relax with a cigar. Suppose it rained in the area? Well suddenly I would be out of luck to enjoy a cigar because that particular area was uncovered. If this area was in a cold weather region, would there be heaters so I can stay warm? Just think of how many outdoor smoking areas lack heating for the winter months.
It’s time for Cigar Enthusiasts to unite. It’s time to demand proper smoking facilities from places we do business with. This means seating, covering (or indoors), and heat. If we are not going to have the proper facilities, then let’s find businesses who WILL be willing to do this. Nothing wrong with pushing back somewhat on our employers with their facilities now. If we don’t make our voices known now, we won’t only gain these rights, but we run a severe risk of losing more rights.