A life mystery: Why do smokers throw their butts on the ground?

lfarrell@islandpacket.comMay 14, 2014 

Design firm ioglo has invented a cigarette receptacle that rewards users with flashing lights and a song in hopes of encouraging smokers not to throw their butts on the ground.


We all have pet peeves -- those grating things in life that personally annoy us, things we feel safe sharing with the perpetrators because being able to punctuate our expression of displeasure with "sorry, that's just a pet peeve of mine" is at once absolving and adorable-sounding.

Sorry, friend. It's not you. It's the fork that drags across your teeth as you eat. I declared it a pet peeve years ago -- fuzzy, fuzzy -- and now must mention it to you in the spirit of social consistency.

I don't have a lot of pet peeves. Just a few. And I don't usually tell the offenders when they've crossed my imaginary lines. Like when people don't push in their chairs as they leave a table. That's a sloppy move, but I don't get bent out of shape about it. Or when "supposedly" gets pronounced "supposably." I will never mention it.

Let's see, then there's that lazy, obfuscating phrase "and more" that's on most press releases. It's always at the end of an exhaustive list of highlights ... and more! Just tell us. What is it? Now's not the time to be coy. Also, no one in the history of deciding to go to an event was banking on the "and more" part. I assure you.

On a less work-related note, I can't stand it when dog owners let their animals jump on me (and I'm trying really hard to make sure mine doesn't do that to others). I also get annoyed when people complain about sand WHILE THEY'RE AT THE BEACH. Yes, there's sand here. And it's on your leg. Shall I get the lifeguard?

There are others: Money should face in the same direction. Desks should be clean when you leave for the day. Get your feet off my dashboard. "Would you want to (insert horrible thing here)?" is not a valid way to ask someone to do an inconvenient favor. Newsprint is disgusting; I'll read my papers on the iPad, thanks.

And why do you need to know my name? It's just coffee.

My biggest pet peeve of all, though, is that my ex-husband refused to call it that ... because it's not "our pets' fault." Hence, the man called them "human peeves." And then he made a long list of his. So watch your backs, diner waitresses who place packets of jelly directly on his toast. YOU are human peeves.

One thing I think we can all agree on -- unless you're guilty of this -- is my final pet peeve: When smokers throw their butts on the ground. I'm done poisoning myself, so there. FLICK. Deal with the debris of my addiction.

I've never been able to figure out why it doesn't matter to them. But their butts are everywhere. I notice it even more now that I'm a dog owner because I'm forever pulling dangling cigarettes from my puppy's floppy upper-lip.

Last week, I read an interesting post on The Atlantic's site about Fumo, a new invention aimed at convincing grown adults to properly dispose of their trash. It's a public ashtray that lights up and plays a song every time someone sticks a cigarette butt into its receptacle.

Good boy! You went throw-throw in the trashy!

Ioglo, a design company based in The Netherlands and Turkey, thinks this rewards-based system will help keep the streets cleaner -- more than a punishment-based system would, anyway.

What if they're right? What if all along we should've been throwing townwide parades for people so they'd be more considerate?

This would be amazing for the kazoo business, but it doesn't bode well for my invention, which is a robot that picks up strangers' spit-covered cigarette butts, then shoves them into the litterers' mouths while flashing colorful lights, playing a calliope song, writing out a ticket in tattoo ink on the offenders' foreheads and simultaneously texting all their contacts with pathetic-looking selfies of the event ... oh, and more.

Liz Farrell is the editor of Lowcountry Current and Lowcountry Life. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/elizfarrell.


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