• April 21, 2018, 06:36:24 PM

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Author Topic: I have a question - how to handle if at all? Warning - Not Very Nice Topic  (Read 4547 times)

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I work in a small office that is on the street level downtown in a small suburb of a large city.  In the rest of our block are stores (tea shop, florist, jewelry shop etc).  We are the last shop/office at the end of the row and the alley is next to us, then a parking lot.  Parking is allowed on the street also.  Upstairs over the shops are additional offices reached by doors between two shops.  The is such a suite of offices above our office and the door to these is next to our office door.

We have old fashioned steam heat and often in the winter and usually in the spring & fall we have our street door open for ventilation.  EVERY morning a young man from the offices upstairs parks his car, crosses to the office door and half way there (usually across the street) coughs up some phlegm and spits it onto the pavement.  It is a disgusting sound and never fails to put a disgusting image in my mind.

Is there ANYthing I could say to this young man to let him know that not only is he not alone but that he is offending me and anyone else who may be around to witness his disgusting act?  Years ago there were signs up in railroad cars and elevated trains forbidding spitting both for hygenic and I surmise for etiquette reasons but I have not seen these for years (they were probably realted to tuberculosis back in the day).  If there is nothing allowed by eitquette I will maintain my silent but no less vehement disgust with this young man.


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If I'm reading correctly, you can hear him hock it up from across the street?  That is gross.

Unfortunately, I can't think of anything you could say to him that wouldn't be seen as intrusive.

Is it a one-time per day issue?  If so, and if his timing is consistent, you might wait to open your door until after the time he usually passes by.


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Okay, that's pretty gross.  However, I'm not really sure there's anything you can say to this cretin because he's doing this on a public street.  I know, in some places, this would fall under littering laws.  Check your local city ordinances to see if he's violating a littering law but I don't see how you can say anything to him.  If there are littering laws it is probably a matter of time before he's seen by the local police doing that and will be stopped.


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In my city, its actually illegal to spit (yes because of TB... which isn't just a "back in the day" illness, its still very much out there) in public. Of course its not really an enforced law - cops don't go around ticketing spitters. But the point is, perhaps look into if spitting is illegal (or counts as littering) in your area, and if so, send around a note to your neighbors about spitting in the area. I would keep it general, perhaps "there have been complaints", so as to not single the guy out. If you rent, perhaps contacting your landlord with the complaint would be easier.

But if its not illegal... well unfortunately it might be something you just have to deal with. I doubt he's doing it for pleasure - its probably more annoying and frustrating and gross to him then it is to you.


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MrTango it's every day and sometimes every time he crosses the street (yes it's usually crossing the street).  Thank you for using the words I was reluctant to utter outloud.

Unfortunately, it is not always at the same time.  For instance today it was not until about half an hour ago.  Some days it's a few minutes after I arrive and sometimes it's as I am also crossing the street.

I guess he really does not care that others can witness his lack of concern for the human race.

Thanks to all for their input.


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Go outside when he would usually arrive and just watch him.
Then if he hocks a loogie then say "Dude, really?"


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It may well be that he just has excessive phlegm, but, in view of the fact, he is doing this just before going into his office, I would be suspicious that he is using chewing tobacco.  I agree with going to the landlord or, if anyone is friendly with the upstairs office manager, perhaps having a chat with them.


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I would have no problem saying something to him.

"Hi there. Would you mind not spitting in the street in front of my office anymore? I can hear it every day and the sound and image are unpleasant. Thanks."

I think there's a nice way to say it if you're asking him politely and not chastising him. Personally, I'd ask, as politely as possible, every time he does it, till he stops. It's a really disgusting and rude thing for him to be doing.


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OP, is there a sufficient age gap with this person that you could approach this in a motherly way? 

Maybe you could go right out there the next time that he spits and say something like, "Are you OK?  I see you do this every morning and I'm so worried about your health.  Are you seeing a doctor and taking care of yourself?"

He might not stop, and this is probably rather PA.  He would know that he is being observed, though, and that what he is doing is not normal behavior.


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Ugh! I can definitely empathize with your disgust.

Unfortunately, I do not believe there is anything you can (or should) do unless, like WillyNilly said, there is some sort of local ordinance prohibiting such behavior.


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Wait until he has gone into his office,then place a note on his windscreen.

"Please do not spit.It is gross.You can be seen and heard doing this every day.