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.’”
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.
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.
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.”
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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