Social Question

mazingerz88's avatar

Why do people chew gum and are they really chewed gum, those thousands of round black blots on city sidewalks like NYC?

Asked by mazingerz88 (26851points) November 7th, 2011

I’ve been meaning to ask this question for a long time and kept forgetting. Heh. But yeah, aside from wondering why people bother to chew gum, I’ve also been perplexed as to what those round black patches are dotting city sidewalks in NYC. I always thought they were spit out bubblegum but every time I look around I don’t see anybody chewing, much less someone actually spitting a gum out.

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20 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

Damn it, Mazingerz…..“spitted out”? Don’t make me come over there. Lol.

I also assume those black spots are gum, too. I like chewing gum because I get tense sometimes and I chew the gum to release some of the tension. If it’s not gum, I’m gently chewing on my tongue or clenching my teeth. I don’t litter, though.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Blackberry Dude, say Whaaat? Heh, you’ve got no evidence now. Lol.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Chewing sugarless gum is also a good way to do a quick teeth-cleaning when you can’t brush. All those black dots? Don’t know, but I do suspect that they are, indeed, spit out gum. ick ick ick

Coloma's avatar

I rarely chew gum and when I do I do not spit it out in public places.
Of course I live in the woods, so, the worst case scenario would be some little rodent eating it or a raccoon with a gum paw. lol

wilma's avatar

@Coloma “raccoon with a gum paw.” What an image!

I don’t know if it is all gum or other things that we are probably better off not knowing.

JLeslie's avatar

Looove chewing gum. My husband can’t stand when I do it. I click and clack, I can’t just chew and not make noise.

I remember the first time I learned people stick their gum under tables instead of throwing it out. I couldn’t believe it. I never would have thought of it. Gross. Some of what is on the ground in NY probably is gum. Gross again. How do people do that? My mom would have killed me if I didn’t throw my trash into a trash can.

ucme's avatar

I do this for two reasons, when playing a round of golf, it helps me concentrate & also muffles any swearing that may otherwise pollute the course…....bastard bunkers!!
The second reason is so I can blow big arse bubbles & let them burst on my soft face, niiiiice!

TheIntern55's avatar

I chew gum alot, especially in school so that I can more easily pay attention.
As for those little black dots, I believe ‘tis the filth of the world’s gumchewers. Just look under the desks at my school. It’s disgusting.

stardust's avatar

Occasionally. I hate that it loses its taste so quickly. I had a teacher that told us chewing gum made us look like cows chomping away so when I see people chewing gum, it reminds me of that comment every time.

Berserker's avatar

I hate gum, it’s so gross I think lol. But, being a smoker, I don’t really have a choice to chew gum at work, since I don’t want to bother customers with nasty smoker breath. But I don’t like it. It’s like recycling your spit, chewing it up and crap. Not that smoking is any better…it’s even more gross. Man I’m lame. :D

But what black dots? I’ve never seen black gum before. :/ Unless it stays there and it gets all dirty and shit.

muppetish's avatar

I prefer chewing gum than chomping on mints. I keep a pack with me because I have to talk a lot at work in mostly one-on-one conversations. Since I don’t have a scheduled break to eat (because I only work part-time), I need something to freshen my breath between appointments. And I wish the people I tutored would do something about their breath because sometimes it’s hard to sit so close to them.

I have no idea what you mean by black dots, but I’m not a New Yorker. I’m more disgusted by feeling gum under the seats and desks at campus.

mazingerz88's avatar

@muppetish and @Symbeline Should have added a link, sorry. But here it is. Gum dots.

Berserker's avatar

Dude, it really is gum! Fuck, that’s ass nasty lol.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Symbeline It’s all over the city and I just want to confirm it is gum since I haven’t caught anyone in the act of spitting one out. Had difficulty processing these hundreds of thousands if not millions of dots are all gum. Heh. : )

Berserker's avatar

Yeah. You’d think cigarette butts would be more abundant…but then those roll away or are carried by the wind…not the gum, especially since everyone walks all over it. Goddamn…it’s almost overwhelming lol.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Symbeline This could be construed as too much talk about gum but can’t help imagining someone coming up with a Gum-DNA device where in mere 10 seconds it analyzes as to whom the saliva DNA in the gum dot belongs to, calls that person’s cellphone sending along a photo of the dot and saying something like, “Shame! Shame on you!” Lol.

Berserker's avatar


It would be funny if the message was followed by…’‘come clean this shit up, you ANIMAL!’’ XD

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thank you for asking this! I, too, always notice the black dots on the sidewalks, and it isn’t limited to NYC. Consider yourself lucky if you haven’t witnessed a freshly spit out wad of chewed gum, or even ickier, stepped on one. The worst experience though occured while dining in a restaurant. I crossed my legs under the table and my trousers ended up stuck to the underside of the table due to a little gob of gum.

What is interesting is that while these sidewalk spots seem to be primarily black in the US, I’ve noticed that in England, they are just as common, but are more often white. What’s up with that???

mazingerz88's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Wow, really, it’s whitish in England? Ok, I may have an answer for that. Less pollution? Less dirt in the air hence it’s not as black as in dirty New York’s? Or less people in England with dirty shoes trudging on them gum dots?

I do hate saying dirty New York since I love NY. Lol.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@mazingerz88 Logic, at least in my mind, would attribute the sidewalk gum color differences to pollution levels. The problem is that England is slightly smaller than the state of Alabama, yet the population is ~50 million (think the # of people living in California and Illinois) compared to Alabama’s 4.8 million. That is a lot of cars, buses and trains contributing to England’s polution level, not to mention general debris.

If someone comes up with a possible reason why America’s sidewalk gum turns black while England’s is white, I’d be very curious to hear the theory.

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