My big sister was coming back from work one evening.
Her apartment is in New York’s upper East Side.
She went into her local deli to get some food.
A large, powerful-looking woman in her twenties was smoking a cigarette at the counter.
The little Korean guy who owned the deli pointed to the NO SMOKING sign.
He asked her if she’d please mind not smoking near the food.
The large woman took a lungful of smoke and blew it in his face.
The little guy backed off, coughing.
My sister leaned forward and opened her bag.
She gestured to her cigarettes inside.
She said to the woman, “Look I smoke too. But I don’t think it’s nice to smoke around food, do you?
And you have been asked politely not to, by the owner.”

The woman took another lungful of smoke.
My sister moved in closer and said, “Just a word of advice.
If you’re thinking of blowing that in my face……………don’t.”

The woman blew the smoke in my sister’s face.
My sister grabbed the woman’s coat, dragged her over the counter, shoved her through the front door and out onto the street.
She dragged her across the pavement and slammed her against a parked car.
She threw her across the hood, out into the street, into the traffic.
Cars and buses screeched to a halt, squealing brakes and honking horns.
The woman ended up in the middle of the road on her back.
Her bag went one way and her shoes went another.
In her poshest English voice, my sister said, “I’m going back inside to finish my shopping now.
If you’re smart, you’ll be gone when I come out.”

And that’s what she did.
She went inside and finished her shopping.
Then she asked the owner if she could leave her carrier bags behind the counter for a while.
Then she took off her heels and put them in her bag.
Buttoned up her coat.
Strapped her bag on tight and opened the shop door.
Then she went out and slowly looked up and down the street.
But, disappointed, she later told me “Dammit, when I got outside she’d gone.”
And that’s how communication works in New York.
Simple, direct, and powerful.
In conversations, in newspapers, on radio stations, on TV, in comedy.
And especially in advertising.
Hinting politely doesn’t cut it.