7 of New Jersey’s dumbest moments (Opinion)
This is not a 'Top 7' list. Because if you think about the politics, corruption, business interference, celebrity gossip, idiotic driving maneuvers and all the rest, the list of New Jersey dumb moments just goes on and on.
So this is only an appetizer. You can serve yourself a full course dinner of stupidity and it can be an all-you-can-eat buffet and you still would only scratch the surface.
So these are just seven things off the top of my head that stand out about how ridiculous New Jersey can get.
The Runny Egg Law
This went into effect on January 1, 1992, during the Florio administration. The government made it illegal for diners and restaurants to serve undercooked eggs. It meant eggs over easy, eggs Benedict and other dishes were suddenly against the law.
Even Jim Florio called his own Health Department's regulation intrusive, unenforceable and silly.
The Big Costco Gasoline Lie
You always had to have a membership to shop at Costco and that included to fill up at their gas stations. Then in May of 2004, the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs told Costco they were in violation of state law regarding the sale of fuel, that you could not require a membership and that fuel had to be made available to any paying member of the public.
The problem? There was never any such law. In an epic FUBAR, it all came out when Costco, during the outrageous gas prices of 2022, let it be known they were going back to requiring a membership. New Jersey officials moved heaven and earth to find the old law that prevented them from doing this in 2004 and it turns out there never was one.
Murphy's First Snowstorm Followed By Overbrining
Do you remember the images of people stranded on snow-covered highways that were completely shut down and unplowed? It was November of 2018 and the fledgling governor, Phil Murphy, had to deal with his first big snowstorm and failed in epic fashion.
Then to make things worse, for a long time afterward in a pathetic overcorrection, his administration ordered roads brined if there was even the slightest chance of a mere flurry. Your tax dollars at work.
The Banning Of Self-Serve Gas in 1949
An entrepreneur named Irving Reingold came up with a wildly popular business model for selling gasoline in the 1940s. He opened a 24-pump gas station on Route 17 in Hackensack which operated on a self-serve basis and because of the savings on labor the cost per gallon was more than 10% cheaper than the competition.
People lined up and couldn't get enough of it. The competition wanted to keep the status quo and tried to drive Reingold out of business with intimidation tactics and when that didn't work they went with the ultimate thuggery. The New Jersey Legislature. They lobbied for a ban and got it.
All these years later we are the only state in the U.S. where there is a complete ban on self-serve gasoline.
Snooki and 'Jersey Shore'
You saw the show. You know how dumb these people were. All I will say is it was a time so dark in television history that it led to even more nationwide disrespect for the Garden State and many believe inspired Gov. Chris Christie to take away tax incentives for filming here.
The Beach Chair
Speaking of Gov. Christie, there was that time he let the state government shut down during a budget impasse but then allowed the horrible optics of choosing to still enjoy the beach at Island Beach State Park, which was suddenly closed to the public but open to him like it was the emperor's private beach.
Did he truly not realize someone in the media would find a way to get pictures? It led to massive photoshopping and another black eye for Jersey.
The Pandemic Response
Sure it was a new virus and Gov. Phil Murphy had his hands full. Sure he tried to go with the science. But other than some initial right moves at the beginning, it soon spun into a mountain of executive orders leading even his own party to admit he was being heavy-handed.
The stunt he pulled just days before the Fourth of July in rescinding restaurants' right to reopen led to wasted money and spoiled supplies and more restaurants to either die or be on the brink. The closing of businesses at the beginning of the pandemic without having a plan for the Labor Department to handle the record number of unemployment claims was ridiculous.
The debacle that ensued when they reopened MVC offices after months of the shutdown should have been seen coming from 10 miles away. Let's not even mention the thousands of nursing home deaths. Is there a vaccine for stupid?
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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