Tag Archives: dépanneurs

Business isn’t smoking

On Friday night, part of Quebec’s anti-smoking law came into effect, which among other things completely bans smoking in workplaces, outlawing designated smoking rooms.

To which most people responded: “They allowed smoking rooms at work until now?”

Yep. And on Friday night at midnight, those rooms were closed for good, including one at The Gazette, which had its ashtrays removed and “no smoking” signs taped to the tables. It will be converted into a lunchroom.

Now, when copy editors take page proofs to read while having a smoke, they’ll be doing it outside. Which will be fine while the weather is good, but it’ll be torture when winter comes.

Another provision of the law, which will have more of an impact on the rest of the world, requires retailers to hide their cigarettes in a closed cabinet or otherwise out of the view of customers. This is to prevent young’uns from being exposed to them or something, I guess.

That provision reeks of wishy-washy nanny-stateism (either make it legal or don’t), but I don’t smoke so I really don’t care.

As the law came into effect, Couche Tard took the opportunity to remind customers that they still sell cigarettes and to “just ask” for them. (This law is going to cause a lot of uncomfortable and/or confusing conversations, I think). Right next to that ad was another from VizuelMedia, which is using this new law to its advantage and has created a business model that involves creating new cigarette “power walls” and selling ads on them.

And the Mohawks, well they’re just ignoring the law entirely.

When is a dépanneur not a dépanneur?

After road work is done on Decarie Blvd. in Saint-Laurent, the borough is planning to start enforcing its by-laws on commercial signage. The law is pretty sensible, with a moderate restriction, a three-year grace period, and even some help funding new signs. That, plus the consultation and negotiation it went through with local business owners prior to enforcement makes it pretty ideal.

But the law has one additional restriction: No signs, posters or neon lights in windows. For most stores this is preferable to give it a more classy look, but what about dépanneurs?

Dépanneur window signage has gotten so ubiquitous in Quebec that the easiest way to spot them tends to be a hand-made sign in the window saying how cheap a case of Molson Dry beer is. (The linked article contains one such example.)

Can the Saint-Laurent borough really bring class to its corner stores? And what will that make them look like?