Let’s be blunt — legal weed is turning New York workers into zombies


The Big Apple is now the Big Blunt.

Not just because decriminalized marijuana led to proliferating mayhem in the five boroughs.

Not just because stinky smoke hangs everywhere, seeping into subway cars and even Broadway theaters — the acrid odor I detected in the crowded men’s room of the Majestic Theatre a few weeks ago was not from “The Phantom of the Opera” smoke machine.

It’s also because of a forbidden-to-utter truth, in an age where raising the minimum wage ever higher has become mantra — namely, a license to get high has turned service employees into zombies.

I’ve lived in the city nearly all my life. I never had to repeat my highly complex Starbucks order — a “tall” coffee — three times to get a response from the bummed-out barista, the way I do now.

Bob Dylan’s lyric, “Everybody must get stoned,” is now apparently in the employees’ handbook at most every place requiring customer interaction.

My friend Shelley Clark, a restaurant consultant, observed, “Too often, any question or request is met with a vacant look and a very much by-rote ‘no problem.’”

Starbucks coffee cup
Getting your order correct at Starbucks seems to be more difficult than ever.
Corbis via Getty Images
Marijuana plants
Streets, subway cars, even Broadway theaters now stink like weed.

That’s actually nice compared to the hostile glares I get for interrupting stay-out-of-my-space reveries.

It’s time to lower the minimum wage.

Why not, when many workers in stores, restaurants, dry cleaners — you name it — have turned hopelessly stunad, as the Italian people say.

The word means dumb, but sounds eerily similar to so many service employees’ doped-up conditions.

They’re stoned up the wazoo, hollow-eyed, disengaged from their tasks, their breath reeking of weed.

Two people pass a smoky blunt
Doped up delivery workers are too stoned to remember whose Doordash order is whose.

Did GrubHub bring you General Tso’s chicken when you ordered chicken burritos?

Blame the delivery guys’ favorite hangouts — e.g., the “Smoke & Draft” shop across from my building on First Avenue at East 75th Street, where a sidewalk knife fight recently sent two of them to the hospital.

I gave a guy at Pret a Manger a $20 bill for an $8 cup of soup. I asked for a bag. He took the $20 and promptly forgot the soup, my change, the bag — and me. He wandered off, inexplicably waving my Andrew Jackson like a flag, until I appealed to his colleagues.

I haven’t seen so much pot-induced lethargy since my Vietnam-era college days, when so many fellow students were high that their panicked weed-flushing during a rumored police raid overwhelmed the campus pipes.

Now, our whole pot-pickled city is that campus.

Smoke shop in NYC
Delivery workers can often be seen congregating at the city’s host of pot shops — each of them a magnet for crime.
Helayne Seidman

At Upper East Side gourmet food emporium Agata and Valentina, one cashier was “so out of it, staring into space while people waited in line,” a bank executive who’s a regular customer there told me.

“She forgot to give me my change. She closed the register. I had to wait for someone to come with the dreaded key. After ten minutes for a 30-second transaction, she didn’t even apologize.”

Responding to a tweet I posted about discombobulated workers, a follower wrote to say that “The woman running the service desk” at a major Sunset Park auto dealer “was clearly high … had no idea what was going on. Lost my car twice during routine service.”

Gummy bears and weed
With every kind of marijuana-related product widely available, New York is no longer the Big Apple — call it the Big Blunt.

Real estate man Jordan Cohn tweeted, “I just had a restaurant server lose my credit card. Yep, gone, never to be seen again. My best guess is that it went into the trash by accident.”

Our “progressive” pols are throwing our city into the trash — and it’s no accident.

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  1. This writer sounds like a complete pompous (full in the blank), who has NEVER worked a customer service job. Customers are total pricks since the Covid. So much so that people are leaving industries where they have to be face to face with them. No one deserves to be cussed out or screamed at for the customer never changing their oil or riding metal to metal on their original breaks. Also I do not know a company who hires a Manger lol It’s a Manager. Might want to proof read, especially when you are calling out a class of people for being dumb. And why in the wide world of sports, would lowering the minimum wage, rectify anything in this rant of senselessness?!! Oh that’s right! To save the pompous (again fill in the blank)’s, own money or company’s money. Making 6 figures and telling how little to pay someone else, is completely disgusting . Hope you enjoy your lobster roll, while trying to cut costs of these people’s cheap ass ramen. This writer makes me sick

  2. So the writer of this article simply looks at people and surmise that they are high from smoking weed? The article presents absolutely no evidence to substantiate their claim that weed is responsible for the state of affairs, yet proceeded to draw all sorts of conclusions about the impact weed is having on the labour force.

    What if the causes of the behaviour are related to the stress of living in concrete jungles? What if the causes are more related to modern employment practices where businesses owners are becoming billionaires while low level employees are left in a position just above the poverty line?

    The writer seems to have a personal dislike for weed and tries to project their dislike on people’s behaviour without and evidence. Sadly, this is what passes for journalism these days.

  3. We didn’t grow up like that. Young people don’t know what it is to be bored and and have no time to think for themselves, so when they get jobs they can’t go 15 mins without zoning out and looking at their phone. Either nobody foresaw this problem or that is exactly what was intended when they made it part of daily life.

    Don’t blame the herb because they are using it in the wrong way. Legalise the herb an ban dote-ial media, what a wonderful day that would be for humanity !

    Bless up

    • Yup …our phones are controlling all if not most of us.
      Male Female Binary NonBinary – All

      We dont call by phone to elicit awkward conversation.. Instead we use whatsapp to avoid confrontations, only to end up miscommunicating by utilizing texting.

      We converse verbally less and less so our understanding and comprehension skills are SLOWLY dying. And for those who have hardly any of the latter, they appear to be zombies.

      GenerationNow are UNEQUIVOCALLY high on something …maybe its a chemical; maybe its not. Maybe it is sub-clinical autism. Maybe its just downright failure to communicate because we just DONT HAVE TO.

  4. The writer did speak about legal weed. I do wondered what he would say about illegal weed. I am wondering what both legal and illegal weeds are doing to our young ones.

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