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April 14, 2008

Out for a smoke

MS reader Neal Shaffer is a genius.

He designed and printed little laminated cards smokers can use to mark their territory while they go outside for their fix.

Think about it, smokers.

No one will ever steal your seat again. Amazing!

Here's his site, where you can order them.

You can get 12 cards for only $5 (plus $2 shipping/handling).

I call that a deal. 

I'm thinking about getting some myself.

In New York, smokers mark their drinks by putting napkins or coasters over their beers.

Shaffer's cards are much classier.

"Everybody chuckles and says, 'Man, that's a great idea,'" Shaffer told me last week.

If you ask me, Shaffer is sitting on a gold mine.

These small rectangular cards could be his ticket to retirement. 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:22 PM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Sam-Leadbetters in Fells has had them for a while even has the bar logo on it..

Yeah, but for a girl, that would be like announcing, "Here's my unattended beverage. Please put a roofie in it."

hola sam. i just got back from barcelona and i have to say, most of their bars and restaurants are non-smoking, too. the brilliant thing over there, though, is that bars can buy a smoking license to allow their patrons to smoke indoors. the ones that had it, advertised it on their windows quite tastefully. too bad i wasn't thinking ahead to take a photo of it. anyway, seeing as how the non-smoking bars seemed to be just as crowded as the smoking bars, it seemed like a pretty smart idea.

Wallet, check. Keys, check. Laminated smoking cards so no one will steal my drink while I go outside and get my fix... ah, no. If you think this is a bargain Sam, I got a small fixerupper in West Baltimore. Let me just put a napkin on my drink and we'll go outside and talk about it.

I'm more curious as to how many reports of people are "stepping out for a smoke" are in reality skipping out on their bill.

Thanks, Sam! There have been (predictably enough) a handful of skeptics/haters, but on the whole people have responded well. I'm not quite sure it's a ticket to retirement, but every little bit helps.

This really isn't a new idea. At all. (Nor is putting a napkin on top of a drink a New York idea.) Just FYI.

don -- leadbetters is sitting on a gold mine.

estelle -- good point.

dan thanh -- that does seem like a good idea. almost makes too much sense, doesn't it?

g -- about that house ...

Also, I don't think I ever claimed I'd be the only person to have this idea. But the cards themselves are quite nice, and quite functional, and a bit fun. Those were goals.

Not to take the glory away from a loyal reader, but a recommendation would be to take a note from these other cards that I've seen around :

The punch-out in the middle of these cards makes it easy to swing the card from the edge of the glass, although it's certainly less polite and charming than Neal's design...

I think they're kinda awesome. Simple classy, functional.

I'd buy'm. They make good little gifts for smoker friends too.

or you could just not smoke....

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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