March 18, 2013

Cheers and Jeers: March 18, 2013


---- — CHEERS to the multitude of restaurant employees in our region who are gracious and accommodating to senior citizens and people with disabilities, making them feel at home when they go out to eat. We know, we know — it’s their jobs. But some treat older and physically impaired diners like their mothers and fathers, brother and sisters. Some don’t. The difference is immediately felt by the customers. The very good workers hold doors, wear a broad smile and exhibit patience, and gladly. People with decreased mobility already feel like somewhat of an imposition to others, so when complete strangers at a restaurant show they’re delighted to help them in any way possible, it’s more than a routine comfort. It’s greatly appreciated. As Baby Boomers advance in age, more and more of the population will fall into the categories of “senior citizen” and “people with disabilities.” The wise business owners in the hospitality industry are already instructing staff on how to keep these customers happy.

JEERS to bingo operators in our area who allow smoking. You might wonder how this is even possible, what with New York state outlawing smoking in public places. But the state allows special permits if the restrictions would cause “undue financial hardship” and for a few other factors. State law requires that operators with exemptions “minimize the adverse effects of the waiver upon persons subject to an involuntary exposure to second-hand smoke.” Maybe local bingo operators think their patrons wouldn’t show up if they couldn’t smoke. But people have gotten used to not smoking at many other public events and could do so at bingo as well. Judging from the complaints submitted to Speakout, many people who attend bingo think the smoking sections are not working. Allowing patrons to light up, even in separated areas, is an affront to non-smokers and a poor example for charitable organizations to set for young people in the community.

JEERS to people who block traffic so they can run into stores and offices instead of finding a parking spot. We saw a perfect example Friday afternoon right near the Press-Republican office in Plattsburgh. A man stopped his car in the northbound lane of Miller Street, in front of the Municipal Lighting Department office, ignoring the cars behind him waiting to continue down the street. He parked in the driving lane, with the car running, while his passenger went in to conduct business. There is plenty of parking available nearby, so it was not necessary to block traffic just to save a few steps. And MLD has a drive-through payment window and a drop box that would have taken him off Miller Street, had he used it. Instead, he sat there while numerous cars passed in the southbound lane, holding up the people behind him. Now that takes gall.

— If you have a Cheers and Jeers suggestion that you want the Editorial Board to consider, email it to Editor Lois Clermont at