The largest pet peeve I have with the business world is when a company will say one thing and then do the opposite essentially destroying their word and credibility in the process. Said company will describe or project themselves in a specific light on certain topics yet behind closed doors (sometimes in the next sentence) will completely discredit themselves by their actions. I understand this is common practice in our business world but that does not alleviate my extreme disdain for this issue. As kids we were told ‘do as I say not as I do’ and I cannot argue enough with this logic. How the hell are we supposed to listen to your words, accept it as truth and logically made financial decisions based upon bullshit? If your going to be a cock sucker, then be the proud of it and swallow . . .
The tobacco world is one full of history, talent, luck and the gift of bullshit. Anyone who has read a cigar advertisement or been to an event knows that the sales and marketing people have figured out how to say what we want to hear so we purchase their product and honestly, I have no hard feelings towards this. Its ‘merica baby – make that money – but what I do have an issue with is when a company makes a certain stand on a hot and publicly expressed topic gaining support (and financial backing) – then when the back of that person is turned the discussion turns to a different angle attempting to gather more funds. Not necessarily shit talking but easily within that ‘two face’ category that is slowly permeating a good chunk of the industry.
I understand that salesmen are the best at the black art of convincing and directing appeal, a profession I give credit to (I could never do it) but my question comes down to more than just personal morality – can you lie to one persons face to make an extra few bucks? I bet most salesmen would say hell yeah, in a heartbeat. What about an entire community such as our online cigar community? Again, I think the majority would say yes – yet we still listen to every fucking word they say and eat it up. Sure, if your having a drink and bullshitting with random Bob at a B&M event you may be able to get away with whatever crap story may be spoken to sell more cigars that night but our current online world has made those ‘secrets’ harder and harder to keep under the table.
One of these issues that I find beyond infuriating is how a manufacturer will make specific B&M only cigars. Before you castrate me where I stand, I understand it is designed to increase sales and produce special ‘hard to find’ items for specific Brick and Mortar shops increasing demand – which I am totally behind – but lets look at the whole picture and the god damn logic behind it. Lets say a shop in PA has a cigar that is exclusive – awesome, the people in that area (or friends of theirs) will be able to pick up those smokes and enjoy them – but what about Mr. I live half way across the country who wants to smoke them? Err – sorry, can’t do that – local sale only. With that scenario although the rare and new cigar is on the shelves, the available population that can purchase them is greatly diminished perhaps even to a point of only being able to sell a handful of boxes. Hell, unless your in the online cigar community or in the specific town where the shop is you may not even hear about them!
Another issue I have with this, what is the special cigar they are selling? Is it simply a ‘series’ that has a unique or special band to it making it identical to a normal ‘blend’? What about a secondary band exclusive to the shop? Did they actually make this cigar from a unique blend of tobacco? You have no idea how pissed… PISSED I was when I went through a month or longer headache calling in favors and being on a wild goose chase to get this special B&M exclusive, well spoken of cigar only to find out its the same fucking blend that I already had in my humidor. On the same note, if they are using unique tobacco and an exclusive blend (especially if it is good) how dare they produce a product they hope will sell with high numbers and then control it to a specific shop? Fuck – Cuba only makes it per ‘region’ not per shop but I digress, I am sure there is a reason out there I am not aware of.
For the manufacturers if your going to make a cigar specifically for a local B&M why would you turn around and create another ‘exclusive’ cigar for an online retail shop? Are they not the major reason (taxes aside) as to why the shops are failing and you made the B&M ‘exclusive’ in the first place? I understand it is all business and money has to be made but what the hell are you thinking? I could care less which side you take, but don’t be on one side mother fucking the other and then slip to the opponents side in the shadows – we are watching. Personally I have boycotted said manufacturers – yes I will smoke your free samples and still voice my honest opinion on them, but your not getting a damn cent out of my own pocketbook – perhaps less effective but more of a personal Fuck You from me to them. I have to add in a thank you to a specific manufacturer that Charlie at The Cigar Feed pointed out (Thank you Charlie) – Davidoff has gone above and beyond when it comes to keeping the playing field level when it comes to discounts and sales and for that I must congratulate and thank them.
Manufacturers, in my opinion, should be the ones bending over backwards to help fight the movement that is killing the American cigar industry. We have all seen that the CRA, although with great attempts, have not been able to give extensive leverage for the good of the smoking bans or taxes yet if these manufacturers started expressing a more volatile response – financially – perhaps things could change. I am not talking about lobbying or throwing more money at the politicians or at the CRA but changing shipping, marketing or even promotion arrangements … make a financial impact to those who will respond. Hell, one tobacco company in the Dominican has a mother company where their taxes count for over 27% of the Dominican GNP – taxes alone! If they are making their lively hood from the American B&M’s then why not protect them… or is it that they are really making more money with the online retailers and are ‘saving face’ with the dying B&Ms until they go belly up?
Many review sites and podcasts have spoken for years about supporting the local shops, and I am no different – I feel that the hard working, shop owning/running American has gotten the short end of the stick over and over again simply because they lack the fundamental backing that they require and deserve. But as many of us have said, I will not be going back to a B&M except for rare occasions. Sure they have indoor smoking (some places), nice entertainment such as tv’s or a bar or food but even in my short 3-5 year run of visiting B&M’s regularly I have noticed a steady decline across the board.
I’m no expert of tobacco but when I ask for a few ‘new or unique Cameroon cigars’ don’t tell me I would rather want a maduro and then explain why they are so good. Congrats shit for brains, you did nothing to help me, I will just browse the selection on my own. Or perhaps the shop where the guy sits at the front counter watching tv until you place your cigars on the counter and then he rings you up just as fast as he can so he can get back to looking at the TV. Oh I know I know, what about the shop where you see the regulars sitting on chairs smoking, looking at you like your crazy and the shop keeper is no where to be found? At least hire some young punk who will ask if I need help, tell me he doesn’t know a god damn thing, throw my cigars in a bag and give a half smile on my way out. Just check walmart for a cart pusher or greeter, the same fucking attitude.
So, now that I need another beer, my cigar needs a relight and I’m tired of bitching – Let me know what your thoughts are. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes “Nine times out of ten, and argument ends with each of the contestants more firmly convinced than ever that he’s absolutely right.” Dale Carnegie.
The Nut Himself