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A loosie is a cigarette sold in the popular "one-pack." Loosies are popular on the streets of New York City, where vagrants and bums become quintessential American success stories by buying twenty of something and selling them one-at-a-time at inflated prices. They follow in the footsteps of John D. Rockefeller, who did so with Congressmen from New York State.
Most consumer products contain inner packaging that warns that the single pieces are "Not packaged for individual sale," usually because they do not contain warning labels, Nutrition Facts, and Michelle Obama exercise tips. Individual cigarettes do not contain this warning, so it is perfectly legal to sell loosies.
Loosies are especially attractive because Obama's 2009 dollar-a-pack cigarette tax does not apply to loosies. There is no pack. The reason Obama told Americans, "You won't see a dime of new taxes" is that the tax could be avoided by buying loosies, the first of many signature campaigns Obama conducted against big business, knowing that the little guy would feel no pain, or at least not blame him.
edit How to buy loosies
New York retailers sell loosies shrink-wrapped in cellophane so the consumer need not put in his mouth an object pawed over by a street thug or dozens of other passers-by. However, other entrepreneurs sell loosies without this protective wrapping. The Urban Dictionary says that loosies can be purchased for between 10 cents to a quarter. The Huffington Post says that New York bodegas sell them to Hispanics for about 50 cents, while the New York Daily News says it can reach 75 cents, a clear reason not to buy loosies from a paperboy. If one insists that his loosie be individually wrapped, the price may go even higher, but the loosie will be flavored by the spent lubricant from the wrapping material. President Bill Clinton favored both loosies and flavored smokes.
edit Famous loosies
New York City businessman Eric Garner prospered selling loosies until his abrupt death in 2014 at the hands of the vice squad, who accused Garner of not having the required tax stamps. Garner, at 350 pounds (25 stone), was as fat as a postal clerk but indeed did not have enough stamps even for a postcard, as it were. Garner told police he was tired of being persecuted and that he was not selling cigarettes but scented pencils, whose unique lack of points and erasers prevented handwriting errors. His 30 prior arrests should have been the final hint that it was improbable he was doing the same thing a 31st time.
However, when the businessman resisted arrest, the madcap officers wrestled him to the ground in what must have been a choke-hold. Garner stated a dozen times that he could not breathe, but given the pencil con-job, this became a textbook case of "crying wolf." Al Sharpton faulted the "white interlopers" (police), saying the Garner case proved their epidemic racism, as well as that of the black female sergeant who oversaw the fatal arrest, double-checking his race on her clipboard when she should have been double-checking his pulse. Though N.Y.P.D. forms now have a check-box for "Suspect still breathing" at the top of Page 14, Sharpton made Garner a poster corpse of the young BlackLivesMatter movement, which would tie candidates into knots when asked whether other lives matter too.
edit In jurisprudence
A Philadelphia fact sheet claims that it is illegal to sell loosies because it works against Department of Public Health efforts to lower adult and youth smoking in the city. These efforts work by jacking up the price of smokes. When newly impoverished city-dwellers switch to buying loosies instead of entire packs, it thwarts this important public campaign.
The fact sheet notes that areas of the city where this law is violated often have other criminal activity. In contrast, in suburbs where cops aren't standing around looking for sellers violating the Municipal Code, the lawns are neatly groomed, often with a porcelain Negro holding a lamp at the end of the driveway rather than a real one touting a handful of loosies.
Likewise, laws against marijuana induce transactions to occur at highway rest stops at midnight, where a shrewd businessman with a pistol can leave with the money and the dope, whereas the dope might not leave at all. This shows how this "gateway drug" causes robberies and shootings.
edit In popular culture
- In Ayn Rand's individualistic novel Atlas Shrugged, the brilliant industrialists boycotting Mr. Thompson's oppressive state until they turned blue busied themselves in the meantime with loosies: Cigarettes they individually packed, rolled, and decorated with the Sign of the Dollar. These focused the mind without mucking up the lungs.
- Loosies was a 2012 film starring Peter Facinelli, who plays a pickpocket confronted by a former one-night stand who says she is pregnant with his child. The reader will understand why the film is described as a "romantic comedy."
- ↑ These are all "former" by definition.