Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Old Candy Critic Articles - Gum Etiquette

I've decided to take down several old articles from the and re-post them here on the Candy Critic blog.  This week we look at Gum Etiquette from our resident gum hater Allison.
Believe it or not, there are some people in this world who do not like gum. I am one of them. In fact, the smell of it actually makes me nauseous. Physically ill, yes. I tried chewing gum once, and it actually made me gag.

Recently, I was sitting on a park bench with a friend, and it turns out he was sitting on a nice, fresh wad of gum that someone had disposed of on the bench. This has happened to me before, too. When it happened to me, I threw out the ratty old pants I was wearing at the time, because the thought of having to deal with the smell and feel of someone else’s used gum long enough to get rid of it was too much to handle. He, however, did not have the luxury of throwing out his pants, shirt, jacket, and bag, all of which were victims of the invisible gum bandit.

As I see it, there are three main areas of gum etiquette that desperately need work in North America. Actually there are four, in my case, because I actually object to its existence. But the three areas of disgustingness on which I can find several people to agree with me, are location, chewing method, and the worst of all, disposal.

Before I go on any road trips, I make it clear to everyone that gum chewing is the only prohibition in my car. I say that I don’t care what else people do, as long as they do not chew gum (ok, smoking is really a no-no too). I declare that it is because it makes me nauseous (which is true, whereas oddly, smoke does not). One does not need a nauseous driver. However, just about every time (even repeat) riders climb in, they have a piece of gum on the go. One rule. Is that so hard? It’s about respect, really.

One rider did it so often that I just stopped asking them to get rid of it and just drove holding my sleeve over my face. It didn’t really help, but after 10 or so tries over the course of 2 months, do I really have to keep asking?? Driving nauseous with one hand. Great idea, but at some point, one has to just give up demanding the respect that they should just get as a matter of course.

People just assume that people around them are OK with their horrible habits, and don’t even think twice to ask if it’s OK to chew gum in certain places. I remember that chewing gum was not allowed in school. I’m pretty sure this rule had to do with the difficulty in cleaning gum off desks and out of carpets.

Is it OK to just assume it’s all right to chew gum in someone’s home or car?

Even for those who do not become nauseous at the smell of gum, there are some people who prefer not to have it in their homes or cars, just because of the potential mess that might have to be cleaned up, much like schools. Really, does it hurt to ask, “is it OK if I have a chew?” A simple question that could save a friendship.

This is the big one.

Gum is hard to clean. Sticky does not do it justice. When it gets on something, it spreads quickly and stays forever. Just look at any city street, and you’ll see little black circles of gum disposed of in days gone by.

I have watched people walk right past garbage cans and merely 5 feet later, just open their mouths and let the gum drop out.

Have you ever stepped on a fresh piece of gum? Not pleasant, I say. Sitting on one is even worse, and I don’t think my friend and I are the only two people in the world to have done this.

Littering is a problem, yes, but gum littering is out of control! For every piece of “ordinary” garbage I see on the street, I see thousands of black circles of old gum. And gum is the hardest thing to clean. Again, it’s a matter of respect. Nobody seems to care what happens to the person who comes after them. What happened to common courtesy?

Why is it so hard to just approach a garbage can and throw your gum in it? Even better, wrap it in something first! Save the gum wrapper for this – you’ll never have to search for a piece of paper or tissue then.
Concluding Plea

I would never ask people to stop doing something they enjoy, unless it really did pose a danger to others. But I just ask you to think, next time you’re chewing a piece of gum, about how you could be affecting others around you, and what small thing you could do to make the world a slightly less dirty place.

Thanks for letting me rant.

By Allison

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