Saturday, August 3, 2013

Out, Damned Spots!

Yesterday, I went over to Target to get a new ink cartridge for my printer. As I'm walking up to the store, the sidewalks and entrance are dotted with chewing gum. Once again, I'm wondering...WHO THE  HECK DOES THAT?
                                        (Borrowed image)
I can understand that occasionally someone might have gum accidentally fall out of their mouth, but obviously, the slack-jawed slobs in question chose to spit their gum out right in that spot. What is the thinking behind it? Are they afraid they might run into their old 3rd grade school teacher and be caught chewing gum and humiliated into spitting it out in her hand? Is it that they have spaced-out the fact they have gum in their mouth until they get to the entrance? Or, do they see all the other dirty gum blobs and take that as a invitation to disgorge the contents of their mouth? In addition, it seems likely that most of them are women!

You might see cigarette butts amongst the stains and blotches, but the butts are biodegradable. Those ugly gum spots resist the elements for a long time. The cleaning guy at the clinic where I volunteer says that to clean up the gum pressed into concrete, he has to get down and spray it with something to freeze it, then scrape it off. It's hard work and not entirely effective.

It seems that this has been a problem for a century so it is not going away, but maybe it's time to bring back those old-fashioned signs that say "No Spitting". Of course, human nature being what it is, everyone thinks it doesn't mean them.

                        SOME CHEWING GUM STATISTICS
Average # of sticks of gum a person chews each year is 300.
Annual chewing gum sales is $2 billion.
Total number of US chewing gum companies is 30.


Unknown said...

It is disgusting to me, and shows that people have no concern for others. It is like "I will do what I want, where I want" type thing.

Joanne Noragon said...

I read of a gum wall in Seattle. Famous place, folks went out of their way to park gum there. It was cleaned off earlier this year.

But on the ground! How rude. Is this what we have become?

Linda said...

I don't like to see cigarette butts or gum on the streets.

The Odd Essay said...

There is an alley in Seattle, WA that several walls of the buildings are COVERED with chewing gum... chewed, of course, and plastered on the wall. While it's rather interesting, a person kind of recoils from getting too close... YUK! Can't help but think of all those germs despite the lovely colors or all that chewing gum.

Willow said...

Now that is a sticky situation !
I was surprised to learn about the statistics as I am not a gum chewer.
Don't look at me next time you step in it ;)

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Hmmm. Someone else is chewing my gum. :) I hadn't noticed the spotty sidewalks, but I'm sure I will now that you've pointed them out. You're right; spitting gum out like that is very unclassy.

Bob Bushell said...

Too true, let's ban it.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Those chewing gum spots drive me crazy! But I don't think I've ever seen anything like what you've pictured. It looks like terrazzo tile! Blech.

troutbirder said...

Gross! I'm a nonchewer myself. btw Your right I've seen very few monarchs this summer...:(

Jane and Chris said...

Never chewed gum and never will.Gum is banned in Singapore...they have beautifully clean streets there.
Jane x

Crafty Green Poet said...

Horrible! Actually cigarette butts only biodegrade very slowly, on the other hand they don't stick to shoes and burds have been shown to use cigarette butts in their nests as they contain insecticidal properties

Julie L said...

I agree, definitely unpleasant (and moreso when it gets stuck to the bottom of your shoe!). I'm curious about your suspicion of women as the main culprits. Maybe people buy a fresh pack of gum and spit out the old piece to start chewing a "fresh" one. (And would this happen less if all gum pieces still had wrappers?) Also, I wonder if the use of nicotine gum has increased this problem (and if that might suggest more male involvement as well).

Jan said...

I HATE chewing gum. The kids at school stick it everywhere and it makes a real mess! Jx

Ms Sparrow said...

Linda Eller: I agree. It's pure thoughtless selfishness.

Joanne: I sorta remember seeing something on TV once about that wall. Do you suppose they call that art?

Linda: The gum and cigarette butts really make it look dirty and rundown.

Essay: Joanne mentioned that place too. I think I would stand back a ways if I were there. I sure wouldn't want to leave a contribution!

Willow: I don't ever chew gum either. But if I did, I sure wouldn't spit it out on the ground!

Blissed: The sidewalk into Target isn't as bad as in this photo I used but it's still unsightly.

Bob: I've had thoughts along that line, but then look how long it took to get smoking regulated and that's an actual health hazard!

Mitchell: Yes, that photo shows a sidewalk that has never been cleaned or it's near someplace where they are passing out free nasty-tasting gum samples!

Troutbirder: We could use some of the monarchs to beautify the place.

Jane & Chris: Banned in Singapore?
I like the sound of that!

Crafty: I had read that birds would use butts for nesting. Very clever. At least butts don't leave marks that last for months.

Julie L: More women being gum chewers is just a personal observation but I don't know if there are any statistics to verify that. Actually, probably more kids spit out gum that adults. It's been so long since I last bought gum, I didn't know that individual pieces weren't wrapped anymore. I'm glad they're cutting down on wasting paper/

Jan: I remember the ban on chewing gum in school. I was caught once and had to go to the school auditorium to scrape used gum from the bottom of the seats. How unsanitary is that?

Anonymous said...

I'm stunned-especially that it's in St. Paul. We used to live in Minneapolis and I don't remember seeing anything like that. Is it an assault on that particular Target?

Doesn't the heat make it stick to your shoes? Ugh. Gross and sad. It isn't just gum--anything spit on the sidewalk is disgusting. Used to be against the law, but I can't imagine how it would be enforced.

My sympathies for your shoes!

Daughter Number Three said...

Ms Sparrow, I know you read this a few years back, but it might be of interest to other gum-on-the-sidewalk readers.

Linda Starr said...

Isn't that gross, apparently there is some type of machine that takes all that off, but imagine them having to pay someone to remove it all. ugh

Jenny Woolf said...

On the spot fines might help. But it's such an entrenched habit. I don't mind it so much when it gets hard - it is part of the urban landscape, ugh. But when it's fresh gum and gets on my shoe, that really annoys me.

Knatolee said...

Right up there with smokers who toss their butts on the ground. It all makes me crazy!

John Going Gently said...

Gum on pavements
My bug bear

Haddock said...

This is something that I noticed on my recent visit. Every third person keeps chewing.
While walking down t Lands End (CFO) one lady who was walking in front of me suddenly stopped, bend down and picked up a used chewing gum lying in the path, pulled out a piece of paper from her pocket and wrapped the gum with the paper. She went out of her way to find a dustbin to discard it. She was a tourist but with a clear sense of right and wrong.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Nasty! What is wrong with people. Shame on them. Throwing gum on the sidewalk is as bad a littering. Grrr.

And $2BILLION annually. Wow!


CailinMarie said...

ew! I grew up in a home that did not allow chewing gum as my father had stepped in it too many times. I have requested over the years not to have it in my home, one of my boys took to spitting it out in the planter by the front door as if I wouldn't see it!

Willow said...

Just popping in to see how you are doing . Hope all is well with you as we head into Autumn. Any turkey sightings lately ?