September 28, 2007 9:56 AM   Subscribe

What's you're (witty?) response to someone who asks you for a cigarette?

Seems that every day now, at least one complete stranger asks me for a cigarette. I don't mind, really, unless they appear to feel oddly entitled to it -- so I usually oblige. But I'm curious about how one might make the interaction a bit more fun. On the flip side, do you have any iron-clad strategies for bumming a smoke when you need one yourself?
posted by Oddly to Society & Culture (38 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Smokes are expensive here in Canada, so people usually ask if they can buy one.
posted by Bearman at 10:00 AM on September 28, 2007

Sure! Think you could co-sign a loan application for me so I can afford to buy some more?
posted by JaredSeth at 10:06 AM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Nothing witty, I show 'em my pack to confirm they like the brand (a lot of people assume I smoke menthols. It's resulted in a few cigarettes being returned).

Matches though -- there's nothing worse than having a cigarette and nothing to light it with.
posted by whitneykitty at 10:08 AM on September 28, 2007

I keep my camera with me now. Ask me for change or a smoke, and I take your picture.
posted by Area Control at 10:10 AM on September 28, 2007 [6 favorites]

Best answer: 'I'm going to need to see a note from your mom.'
posted by jamjam at 10:11 AM on September 28, 2007 [4 favorites]

If you're currently smoking when they ask, tell them you don't smoke.

always a winner.

see, it's funny because you actually ARE smoking, and are therefore contradicting yourself. That's the root of all comedy: contradiction. Well, contradiction and personal embarrassment. And hamburgers and pooping if you are a Dane Cook fan. Plus farts if you're five -- farts are funny. Heck, farts if you're fifty. Everyone loves farts! Anything else need explaining down here? No? Good. Q.E.D.
posted by fishfucker at 10:19 AM on September 28, 2007 [9 favorites]

"I will not contribute to your self-destruction." Get it? It's ironic.
posted by found missing at 10:22 AM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Sorry, I lace all mine with angel dust.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:25 AM on September 28, 2007

"They're cloves."
posted by MarkAnd at 10:27 AM on September 28, 2007

Making the interaction more fun? Back when I used to smoke, when people asked to bum one... I'd ask them to tell me their favorite book, movie or poem. Got into some fun conversations as a result, and a few good suggestions. As can be expected, I got a lot more movies and books, versus poems.

I like Area Control's idea of taking a photo, too.
posted by avoision at 10:30 AM on September 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

My sister says "Smoke interesting cigarettes, meet interesting people."
posted by infinitewindow at 10:31 AM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I sometimes say that they have to tell me a joke; good or bad they just need to come up with one quick before I get bored and walk away.

If I've just bummed one out, I'll tell them "one at a time".

Or, if I'm smoking rollies, I'll say I just rolled it. Either they can't roll ("what!? you expect me to roll it for you?), or they think "roll" means I just bummed it from someone else and they keep walking.

I'm gonna use that photo one next time. Good call Area Control.

btw, never let a drunk try to hand roll a cig from you. He'll waste your tobacco and papers, it won't burn, nor will it be nearly as funny as you might think.
posted by a_green_man at 10:32 AM on September 28, 2007

If I don't want to give one, I say: "Sorry, one left." By the Smoker Code of Laws, this is an automatic out, no questions asked. As for asking for one--"Excuse me, but do you think I could bum a cigarette? I'm sorry."
posted by nasreddin at 10:34 AM on September 28, 2007

If they ever ask you for "a match" to light a cigarette say "Your face, my ass".
posted by wackybrit at 10:35 AM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Usually I'm asked if I have an "extra" cigarette. I tell them "Nope. They only come 20 to a pack."
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:42 AM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

In high school, one girl would always ask people if they had an "extra cigarette". I would reply with some form of "Nope, I'm planning on smoking all of these".

I usually ended up tossing her one, but it got a laugh :p

One day she just up and took one from my pack as I was getting my own. She never got another.

Also, I quit a year later.

posted by utsutsu at 10:42 AM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

*shakes fist at KevinSkomsvold*
and my own lack of preview
posted by utsutsu at 10:43 AM on September 28, 2007

I'll usually give her/him two and make a friend. If not in the mood, just say "Hey that's funny - I was just about to ask you for one!" (Doesn't work if you're already smoking of course.)
posted by zoinks at 10:55 AM on September 28, 2007

"This formaldehyde ain't free buddy"
posted by thewittyname at 11:05 AM on September 28, 2007

I used to really lay into the people who asked for extras. Often, I'd go on at length about my utter astonishment resulting from opening my pack of 25, and finding 26 cigarettes. Oh, I'd regale them with tales of my concern that I'd never be able to sort out WHAT I was going to do with this TWENTY-SIXTH cigarette. The sleepless nights that tormented me. The inability to eat.

Of course, if they stuck around that long, I'd thank them profusely for finally ridding me of the curse that this extra cigarette had been.

My other favourite was when people asked if they could "borrow" a cigarette. I'd remind them of how smoking was inherently a destructive process, and that they'd have a hell of a time returning it when they were done.

Yeah...I was a lot of fun to bum smokes from.
posted by Richat at 11:07 AM on September 28, 2007

I like that taking pictures idea. I don't even smoke and I'm gonna start doing that!
posted by jcruelty at 11:22 AM on September 28, 2007

i'm sorry, but my (wife, whatever) has me on a rigorous tobacco budget of a carton a week, and any i give away come out of my allowance and leave me cranky and homicidal at the end of the week.
posted by bruce at 11:23 AM on September 28, 2007

"No, but thanks for asking!"
posted by kaizen at 11:34 AM on September 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

If you ask my friend Tyler for a cigarette, he will give you one - by throwing it at you full-speed.
posted by lauranesson at 11:41 AM on September 28, 2007

I sometimes feel like I'm missing an entire segment of the life experience.

I'm tempted to start smoking, or at least carry a pack, just to get into these situations.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:41 AM on September 28, 2007

My friend always looks around and points at the nearest store and says, "you know, the craziest thing... they sell them right over there. you can get as many as you want!"
posted by atomly at 12:52 PM on September 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

I used to carry two packs of smokes, the name brand I smoked and a pack of "Basics". I would make a point of fishing out the beat up pack of shitty smokes for moochers. Sometimes they refused my kind offer.
posted by sciatica at 12:56 PM on September 28, 2007

"Can I bum a cigarette?"
"You know, smoking is really bad for you. According to the surgeon general it causes lung cancer and emphysema, and a whole lot of other problems that could kill you."
"But you're smoking. I was just wondering if you had extra."
"I'm suicidal. Anyway, I need all these for myself if I'm gonna kick it by the end of the week. Sorry."
posted by brina at 12:57 PM on September 28, 2007

Best answer: Just give them a cigarette. They're not your monkey.
posted by four panels at 1:06 PM on September 28, 2007 [7 favorites]

How about, "do you really want to end up smelling like me?"

But I agree with Ynoxas. The social advantages smokers have are just shocking. And you don't care about second-hand smoke. It must be paradise.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:08 PM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Well, if they ask you for both a cigarette and a light, ask them, "So, all you brought to the table was your addiction?"
posted by nursegracer at 3:35 PM on September 28, 2007 [3 favorites]

"Sure, you can have this one."

And then you hold out the one you're currently smoking.

Not too many takers.
posted by deCadmus at 5:17 PM on September 28, 2007

On a recent trip to the US East Coast, I was shocked to discover that a pack is at least $5, and here in Guatemala a pack is usually only about $1.25.

So I bummed whenever I could. And to my surprise (but probably not yours), the absolutely nicest people were in NYC. My strategy was coming up to a smoking (but rarely hot) stranger with an embarrassed look on my face (which was only at first real embarrassment, btw), and telling them: "Hi. Would it be cool to buy a cig from you? I'm trying to quit and if I buy a whole pack I'll just smoke it in one day". Bulletproof. And no one took the dollar I offered.

Must have smoked about two free packs in the state of NY. There is *always* someone smoking in the street. Can't help but love the town.
posted by papafrita at 7:56 PM on September 28, 2007

Got an extra fifty cents?
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:36 PM on September 28, 2007

Do I look like I smoke?
posted by brujita at 10:23 PM on September 28, 2007

When I was a skint student, I generally used to keep an empty packet in a pocket somewhere about my person. If I didn't like the look of the person asking me for a smoke, I'd get the empty pack out to prove that I was smoking my 'last' cigarette. Obviously this won't work if you're staying put for any length of time, in a bar or club, but it was good for avoiding having to give precious cigs to cheeky kids and rude people when walking around town.

On the rare occasion that I'd actually run out myself, I used to ask if I could 'borrow' a smoke, and would promise to give it back once I'd done with it, ho ho ho. It usually worked, but that's probably got more to do with the generous solidarity that seems to exist amongst smokers than my comic timing.
posted by tomsk at 7:44 AM on September 29, 2007

"I would prefer not to", as Bartleby the Scrivener would have said.
posted by nicolin at 1:51 AM on October 1, 2007

I give them away with a smile, unless it's one of my stupid friends who ask regularly and don't buy their own, in which case they can fuck right off. (You know who you are, Mick.)
But why deny a stranger or a friend in need? It's a good way to meet people and to improve someone's day; also it is anectodal in some circles that women who ask men for a cigarette in a social setting are trying to signal romantic interest (not that this is a virtue for me personally [Hello Ms. Kwine!] but I think that it speaks in favor of general generosity and is thus worthy of note).

Oh! Sometimes I say, "Sure! Gotta spread the cancer around!" with a chuckle or a manic grin, depending. I think today it would be manic.
posted by Kwine at 6:09 AM on October 2, 2007

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