Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dear Cigar Store Owner

If I am going to pay your exorbitant prices on cigars, I should be able to smoke one in your lounge.  I've been buying cigars and pipe tobacco from you since I was 18.  Back when I smoked cigarettes, I would occasionally splurge and buy a pack of Gauloise from you, and those really weren't cheap.  Yet somehow, any time I sit down with my friends to enjoy a fine tobacco product in your lounge, we are made to feel very unwanted.

I am not advocating a "Do The Right Thing" situation here.  It is your store, and I know and respect the fact that you can do whatever you want with it.  If you don't want some twenty or thirty year olds hanging around, that's fine.  However, just say it.  Don't wait until I buy something, and then act like a dick. 

See, you like to spend the day with you retired and unemployed redneck friends, smoking away on the plush leather sofas and chairs of the recently renovated splendor of the lounge.  Even before, years ago, when you had an old beater couch and some plastic folding chairs, you still acted like we had no right to be in there.  Granted, you show a crass indifference to me when I am actually shopping in the humidor, but you tolerate me enough until I hand over my cash.  Once that happens, you can't get me out of the store fast enough.  It's bad enough that I have never actually had a cigar in the new lounge, the one you advertise all over town as being "classic, comfortable, and relaxing".  I just can't stand the looks from your friends, and how they whisper like inebriated, hillbilly schoolgirls until I leave.  This is not the behavior of a businessman, or what should be his grown up friends that are old enough to be grandpas. 

I guess it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't know what a good cigar store is like.  See, I was at the Tinderbox in  Northfield, New Jersey before it closed.  A place that had a bare room with twenty plastic chairs lining the walls, and a back room with sandwich fixins and drinks that they let everyone enjoy.  The regulars there were happy to chat me up, talk some Phillies baseball, and give me some tips on where to find the best raw bar.  When that moved and reopened as The Cigar Boxx, I was there too.  It was more plush, but they let me and my friends put whatever we wanted on the bank of TVs.  They also had a stunning collection of tattoo magazines and Hustlers.  I was at the Union Cigar Company in Gettysburg, PA, where they let me play chess with my buddy Karl Spackler for three hours because it was too rainy to walk the battlefield.  I've also been to the John B. Hayes Cigar Store in Winchester, VA, where they blend the finest pipe tobacco I have ever tasted.  I spent a wonderful night in there trying to ward off the head sweats I got from the Jamaican curry I bought down the street.  The regulars there invite me to their monthly pipe night every month, and I will have to get back there sometime to partake.  So, obviously, I enjoy cigars, and the culture around them.  You've just made it to where I will travel these long distances to to this, and not three miles from my house to your store. 

I have gotten to the point where I won't support you, a local business, because you've convinced me time and again that you don't want or need my support.  I buy my cigars from a small cigar maker in Pennsylvania, and they are cheaper priced and better tasting that anything you are marking up by five bucks in your place.  Enjoy your lounge and your buddies, because they are about the only ones who will come back a second time.


  1. God, what a terrible place that sounds like. I'd report them to the Better Business Bureau.

    Because I've apparently skipped my 30s and gone straight to the letter-writing 70s.

    Excuse me now, sonny, I've got to go watch m'stories.

  2. See you in Winchester next month!


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