Hey, there! Log in / Register

Citizen complaint of the day: Some citizens should just shut the hell up, Karen

The citizen isn't always right, one Boston city worker, from BTD, we're guessing, complains.

Yesterday, at 3:43 p.m., an aggrieved citizen filed a 311 complaint about the shocking thing she saw on Tremont Street, between Rutland and West Newton streets in the South End:

There is a woman from BTD smoking cigarettes on Tremont. I think it's disrespectful for a city employee to not be wearing a mask. If she wants to smoke, she can sit in her car and exhale cancer and covid all she wants. Very rude act under these circumstances.

Exactly two hours later, somebody filed a complaint about that complaint:

Hey Karen first of all city employees are allowed to smoke not sure about your job nice of you to offer the city vehicle for smoking in but guess what the vehicles are shared so not smart Karen second how do you drink a drink with a mask on RIGHT so how would she smoke her cigarette with a mask on and lastly I highly doubt you'd ever have the balls to say anything to a person you passed that was smoking so get a life

We await Karen's reply, although since 311 isn't set up as a forum system, she might not even know the complaint complaint has been posted, unless she's among the ranks of 311 browsers who live for stuff like this.




Said to me circa 2005: "Oh my God, you need to get laid."


...do you suppose the toxins in the tobacco smoke kill the airborne 'rona? I doubt anyone has the time or inclination to study but certainly makes me wonder, (now where did I stash that Cohiba Robusto?)

So I'm betting "no".


was that me who said that to you?

(this was a common phrase i used to bitchy people in 2004ish)


Back in the day, I attended Non-Smokers Rights meetings (can anyone even imagine such a thing today?) and fought to make smoking in the workplace illegal. It took a few years but that battle was won, and today smoking is banned in almost all indoor locations. So, as annoying as I may find people smoking outdoors to be, how can I complain about something that is a direct result of my actions?


The next step would be designated outdoor smoking areas. This is the system in Japan. It’s nice to walk down the sidewalk without cigarette smoke and butts everywhere. Not sure it would work in America where people are more selfish, unhealthy and lazy.


Selfish self entitled smokers and dog owners in Boston will still smoke in places like city parks where it’s illegal just the same way that dog owners in Boston will let their dogs off leash in public parks even when there are dog parks. Because:
There aren’t enough dog parks/smoking areas near them
Their dog doesn’t like other dogs/they don’t like smoking near other smokers
They don’t care
It’s America, guns, off leash dogs and smoking in other peoples faces is protected by the constitution!


... banned smoking all together in all pubic places, indoor and out.

We’ll get there eventually.


Offer up the sidewalk in front of your apartment for a designated smoking area and enjoy cigarette smoke wafting into your unit then.

It is the "not following mask guidelines" that is problematic.

Allowing unmasking so that someone can smoke is like the guy on my plane who tried to board while munching chips and kept doing so thinking it exempted him from wearing a mask. He was slowly munching them until the flight attendants told him to knock that shit off (there was no meal service on the flight, so no "exemption").


... smoking banned in the work place but how does that make you responsible for smokers who smoke on the street?
That’s their choice.

I went from clean air indoors new england in the early 90s (thank you BB btw) to smoke filled south.

I worked at grocery store where we could smoke inside, and people could smoke IN THE STORE. There were ashtrays at the end of the aisle. It was just a sight to see coming from an area where I barely remember smoking indoors outside of 'smoking sections'

Of course this didnt last long, as they had a no smoking indoors ban coming into effect soon (due to the Olympics). Oh some employees (and customers) were pissed when it went into effect. LoL


One of my early memories was that ash trays were EVERYWHERE. We made them in school as gifts! They were built into the arms of air plane and train and theater seats. Ashtrays on cafeteria and restaurant tables with promotional matches.

The laundromat had these empty tuna cans they used and then just tossed when full. So gross to fold laundry with people smoking everywhere ... but my house smelled like that, too.

I highly suspect that the default decor at the time - harvest gold, avocado, brown and orange and dark wood paneling and brutalist concrete - was due to those materials and colors not showing the nicotine staining.


I bought a used car, with a khaki-colored interior. First time I put down one of the sunshades, I realized it was originally a white interior.

Lead in gas and paint, smoking everywhere, drunk driving a misdemeanor (IIRC), concrete playgrounds. Those were days.


I remember first going into Jordan Hall and being awed by the intricate mahogany carvings on the ceiling. Then I went back after the restoration and saw that they were actually in plaster. The color was decades of cigar and cigarette smoke.


I have friends with children with these names. I feel so sorry for them.


smoking is one of the worlds greatest pleasures. stop the exaggerated pearl clutching.
passing a smoker in the street will not give you cancer. but your toxic attitude just might.

I quit smoking almost 40 years ago but sometime before I die I hope to relax and have a good cigar and a great bourbon, maybe while listening to a ball game on the radio.

Probably a good thing it isn’t. LOL!

Maybe the second complaint was made by the misogynist BTD maskhole smoker who got busted?

It was a woman who smoked.

... misogynists?


They closed out a report with totally made up and incorrect information. I asked them to clarify and explain where they got their incorrect information. After they closed my follow up questions three times, they finally said "this is not a forum for a back and forth on regulations"

311 works sometimes. It sucks and is staffed by petulant liars other times.


311. Get in line.

If one were to scroll through the 311 reports with any regularity (and I do sometimes -- weird entertainment), you will quickly see that some of the complaints are legitimate. Others are petty and over-stepping. Then there are the ones that don't report an actual problem but randomly just question city or state policy or law on some random topic. That is a waste of time and effort.

Then there are those that complain, but there is no actual violation the city can do anything about, close the ticket, and the party complains again and again even though the report states that the city can't correct the thing they do not like. Of course "Karen" then blames the city.

The bottom line for some of these complaints is that someone felt offended, complained, and did not get their way like some 5 year old taking a tantrum in a store. The fact that no law or ordnance was immaterial to the complaint. Karen didn't get her way.

Some of the entertaining ones are the graffiti complaints for markings on private property. The city cannot clean that. The property owner needs to file a request for the city to do it (there's a form for that), and exempt the city from any liability.

And of course the occasional one that complains that they were running for an MBTA bus and it didn't see them running for it, and never stopped for them. Those are priceless.

Of course there are also the repeating complaints when the city does not respond via the Star Trek transporter to immediately and forthwith resolve the lone Dunks cup in the gutter reported as a big pile of trash. I love reading about those every 15 minutes apart.

If you are a real detective, you scroll through and find the complaints that are in a row, telling you easily that this was a person out for a short jog or walking the dog and just had to feel moral outrage about something that day.

If a citizen calls 911 and makes a false report, it is a crime that can be punishable. What needs to happen is that 311 needs to stop being anonymous, and make people held responsible for their use of the system. This will reduce the silly stuff if not eliminate it, and allow the city to concentrate on actual problems.

PS - improperly parked cars is a 911 call to the police to tag or tow or both. Calling 311 is an extra and unnecessary step. Figure it out.

The city 311 system now resembles Yelp. I love finding a bad review of a business. You then look up the poster to see what they have to say about other places and you have this long laundry list of nothing but complaints... not one compliment about anything. Right there that tells me this review is to be ignored since the person is just using the online medium as an outlet for their negative emotions. 311 is providing the same outlet for some and that dilutes the legitimate reports.

Great idea on paper but 311 is a general failure.

Wow. She mustn't have stepped foot on the Orange Line for the past year. I'd like to see who she would complain to then. Spare Change Guy without mask and lighting a cigarette on the train is a fixture. Corner seats encampments by the homeless all day because housing is for everyone. Toughen up like us who are the MBTA's bitches. I'm a woman in the throes of menopause. Look out.