Smoker escorted out of Six Flags Great America

Posted Thursday, September 13, 2007 9:26 AM | Contributed by Jeff

A newspaper reporter drills a Six Flags Great America PR person asking why one of the newspaper's employees was booted for smoking in the park.

Read more from The Daily Southtown.

[Ed. note: This tends to read more like an editorial than a news story.]

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Thursday, September 13, 2007 9:32 AM
I understand them enforcing the smoking policy, but I don't think it should be the cause for removal, unless it is an extreme circumstance.
Thursday, September 13, 2007 10:06 AM
I'm sure there's a side to the story we're not hearing, and probably never will.

But I say, good for the park. I wish Cedar Point would start doing this.

Thursday, September 13, 2007 10:39 AM
I may a little extreme, but I think they should get ejected on the first offense. I think the same should apply to line jumpers and guests who are caught with cameras on rides. If the policies are well marked, there's no excuse. On our trips to three Six Flags parks this year as well as Holiday World, there was no possible way for us to not know of the smoking policies at these parks. On the other hand, I maybe saw two TINY signs at Cedar Point saying smoking was not permitted. They're really dropped the ball on the smoking policy.
Thursday, September 13, 2007 10:41 AM
There's designated smoking areas. If people don't want to follow the rules, no matter which one, they are subject to, what the park feels as, appropriate action. I say good for the park and keep it up.
Thursday, September 13, 2007 10:48 AM
Cedar Point was in what they called a "transition year". Meaning they enforced the smoking policy, but because of it because of it being a new rule, all employees were just asked to give a friendly reminder to the guest about the rule.
Thursday, September 13, 2007 11:11 AM
According to what I've heard from park officials, the policy was to give smokers one warning while pointing out the nearest designated smoking area and reiterating the rule and if the visitor refused to comply or was found later breaking the rule again, they were to be escorted out of the park without refund.
Thursday, September 13, 2007 12:52 PM

If the policies are well marked

That was one thing I noticed at Cedar Point over the weekend. It is NOT well marked. I saw absolutely no "No Smoking" signs except in Peanuts Playground and in the queues.

There were markings at the smoking areas, but that hardly does anything. Sitting in front of the Magnum bathrooms, there was an older guy a couple feet down from us who lit up. I watched a couple gold-tag employees walk right by without saying anything.

The whole thing was a BS PR move by the park. I don't have a problem with them making the decision, but they needed to follow through not only on signage but also on enforcement. And I said it in April, if they can't enforce "No Smoking" in the queues (where its been banned for years) how in the world do they expect to enforce it in the rest of the park?

I did notice that they are missing a great opportunity to put smoking signs every 10 feet. Just print "NO SMOKING" with a list of the smoking areas on the side of every garbage can lid. Then there is no excuse for smoking outside those areas because there are actually signs pointing it out.

Thursday, September 13, 2007 1:29 PM
Sounds like a good deal. According to another thread, some people will pay big bucks for a private escort at Six Flags.
Thursday, September 13, 2007 2:05 PM
Let me preface things with saying I have noticed less smoking at CP this year than years before.

That said, all CP has to do is post big signs at the entrance gates stating that smoking is allowed only in designated areas, and on each park map handout.

Putting "NO SMOKING" on each trash can is a little overkill, and something I wouldn't rather see all day long at an amusement park.

As for people smoking outside of the designated areas. There will always be jerky people who think they are above the rules and will do as they please. Throw 'em out on their a$$es if they break the rules!


*** This post was edited by tambo 9/13/2007 2:14:52 PM ***

Thursday, September 13, 2007 2:33 PM
And that was my point (I realize on every can would be overkill, but it would get the message across wouldn't it?). When I see gold tags walk past smokers without saying anything, that's not setting a great example for the regular employees. Changes like this come from management down, and only work if management has bought into it.

The complete lack of "No Smoking" signage is the other problem. How do you tell people to go to a smoking area when there are absolutely ZERO signs telling them to do so. There are signs saying designated smoking area, but none around the rest of the park saying "No Smoking".

Until that happens, their attempt at going smoke free will be a complete failure.

Thursday, September 13, 2007 3:25 PM
During our visit this year, I saw countless numbers of smokers at CP. There were maybe 5-10 sitting on the porch of Game Day Grill alone. Our escort said something to a person over by the Wildcat bathrooms. But, other than that, I never saw an employee say anything to the smokers - which were ALL over the park. They should replace half of the Ride On signs with "Cedar Point is now smoke free" banners. Holiday World has these banners all over the park and they look nice. When they take down the Ride On signs, put them on Ebay so I can buy one. :)
Thursday, September 13, 2007 3:38 PM
Sure being ejected from a park seems a little extreme for smoking, but you have to draw a line somewhere. This is a policy that Six Flags has, and lets be honest how many trips reports have you seen this year complaining about the lack of policy enforcement? It seems like it is one of those things where Six Flags is going to make people mad no matter what they do.

Many say to go by the one warning rule, then ejection. Thats nice and all but if you look at the whole picture its near impossible. If you have a guest who is smoking and the employee stops them, corrects the action in the first warning, then the employee and the guest continue about there day, how do you measure which strike it is? There are tens of thousands of people in the park daily, not to mention thousands of employees. What are the chances that this employee runs in to this guest again, let alone they run into them again while they are in the middle of smoking which can be done in a small time frame. Now what are the chances that this happens and the employee even remembers who this guest is? Everything wont line up like that which is why in the end you have a habitual rule breaker that keeps getting warnings but no action is actually being taken.

Now should they be removed from the park? It is a rule being broken and despite the impression this article gives off there is more then enough signage. A guest saying they didn't know about the policy is lying or so unaware of their surroundings they shouldn't leave their home. When you go to a Six Flags theme park you have your signs posting all the park policies at the entrance, and sprinkled a few places through out the park. This is a huge sign. Next every trash can sports a sticker that sports a no smoking sign. Every employee throughout the park has the same no smoking sign posted on their back. Also every employee wears a no smoking button. And you add to that announcements over the park speakers through out the day, you cant avoid it.

Six Flags has come a long way from when the policy was introduced and done every action to inform the guests of the policy. "Melendez told me she didn't recall seeing any such signs....Melendez said she didn't see the designated smoking areas, and if identifying signs exist, they should be larger so smokers know where they are." I find this statement hard to believe. So if Six Flags is doing everything to teach of this policy, and it is broken, shouldn't the enforcement be ejecting people from the park?

The person is asking for reimbursement for their tickets and hotel they paid for to enjoy their weekend getaway. Should Six Flags be offering reimbursement for this persons ruined weekend? Or are we at the point in time where this person should be taking responsibilities for ruining their own weekend?

Thursday, September 13, 2007 6:57 PM
I can see people having a problem with smokers in lines and blowing smoke in your face, but if I'm walking around the park, OUTSIDE mind you, I think that people can be a little nazi-esque when it comes to people smoking. As long as there are places to put your butts, I don't think smoking should be a problem.
Thursday, September 13, 2007 7:38 PM
^ Except it's not your park. Six Flags says no smoking, and they obviously mean it. They thought smoking in the park was a problem, so they got rid of it.
Thursday, September 13, 2007 9:41 PM
If you want to get technical about it their Policy states there is no smoking on SF property and that means the parkinglots too because they are on their property.They have the right to kick you out for any violation of their rules.Just as you wouldnt like someone coming into your house and lighting up. The only way the make rules work is to enforce them. When ever i am at a SF park and i see someone smoking i find the nearest security guard and point them out. I am a smoker and I dont even bring them into a park so I certainly dont want to see someone else doing it when I dont.I have also seen alot of people get ejected for pulling out a camera on SROS @ SFNE this year too. I say keep up the good work to SF and this article can only help them get their message out, If you break any rules you are out of here.I bet this women and her friend will think the next time they go to a park and try to light up anywhere they feel like.
Friday, September 14, 2007 12:10 AM
I can honestly say that if I was not an enthusiast, I probably would not know about any no smoking policies at half the parks I have been to, due to poor and infrequent signage. How long has it been since that woman and her friend were at an amusement park? If it has been several years, how would they know that the policies have changed without proper signage?

I tend to agree with there is something left out of the story here. Most people in the business of public relations are not going to throw a paying customer out for such a simple violation. I would tend to believe eviction would come if the person(s) became disorderly or threatening.

Friday, September 14, 2007 12:05 PM
Signage or not, seems heavy-handed *IF the situation went down as described*. I am skeptical of that. Even with all the signs in the WORLD, some people either cannot or do not read, and many people cannot or do not THINK.

A warning for anyone seen smoking in an inappropriate area seems justified for a first offense. Second offense, yeah, I boot your butt back to the parking lot....

Friday, September 14, 2007 2:05 PM
Maybe if rules were enforced, people would start paying attention and taking ownership of their own actions. I'm sorry, but claiming you didn't know you couldn't smoke, didn't know you weren't allowed to film rides while on them or didn't know you couldn't line jump is NO excuse. All it takes is one time to get booted from a park without refund and I guarantee those people will start paying attention to rules set forth by parks. People use the "I didn't know" excuse way too frequently and I don't buy it. They knew - they just didn't think they'd get caught.
Saturday, September 15, 2007 12:10 AM
If there is no consequence then why have the rule? I'm all for people who break the rule on smoking to get kicked out of the park. Then again, this is Six Flags, just have them empty their pockets as they walk through the metal detectors and confiscate all cigarettes.

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