Hungarian Irony

This
is a wonderful example of Hungarian irony. If you do not recognize this
store, you have yet to come to Hungary. This is the ubiquitous outside
décor for all Hungarian state authorized tobacco stores. All may be
redundant, but I want to drive the point home. The Hungarian government
in its infinite wisdom decided to license the sale of tobacco related
product with the expressed intention of limiting sales to those less
than 18 years of age. The rumor was that all tobacco store licenses were
doled out to friends of the current government’s administrative
friends. One such person reportedly has over 1,000 licenses.  
Adjoining
our apartment building used to be a small shop rented by an animal
groomer; however, she was evicted to make room for a tobacco store.
There are only 10 of them in a one block radius. 

The irony at
this particular shop is the sign on the door. It states that smoking is
prohibited within 5 m of the entrance. I have looked at other tobacco
shops, but they don’t all have similar regulations.

If this were not enough humor, almost on a daily basis when I am coming or going from our building, there is an older man, presumably the worker, standing on the shop step smoking away. Apparently he cannot read the sign on his own store.

We certainly miss the pet groomer; it was always a great joy to pass by to get a peek at whatever dog was getting a haircut at the time. Now all we get to view is a drab looking building with the Hungarian version of the old Indian statues once used to signify an American tobacco establishment.

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