I Would Love to Support My Local B&M, But...

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stickframer

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 11, 2015
875
6
I'm blessed to have a b&m a block from my house. It was instrumental in my early explorations of pipes and tobacco. I guess I'm feeling a touch of guilt when I say I doubt I'll be doing much shopping there in the future.
I value supporting local business but between the taxes in Canada, the stores mark up, and the very small number of pipe smokers compared to cigars it just isn't logical.
Today I wandered over there and, behold, they had new tobacco from McB on the shelf. Now, before I discovered online tobacco retailers, I would go to this b&m every payday weekend and pick up 2 or 3 tins at $40-45 each. Over time I bought all the London Mixture, EMP, Old Dublin and Artisans blend. I repeatedly asked them if they would order some more (esp Old Dublin.) It still hasn't materialized after months. As a matter of fact, nothing new in the tobacco dept has materialized at all.
Furthermore, none of the staff know a thing about pipe tobacco and couldn't tell the difference between Captain Black and Irish Flake. Cigar smokers are what they cater too, and what can I expect a 20 year old employee to know about tobacco anyway?
Back to today, I noticed they had a few blends from McB, along with neat little jars full for sampling the tin note. Oh wow, I thought, maybe I'll give these guys another chance. I spied some Capstan Blue Flake, dated from 2013. They had never carried it before. I was about to pull the trigger when I asked how much. $52 came the reply. Now, I'm used to paying 40-45 here for a tin, but $52/tin is too much to swallow. Thanks government.
I can order from the U.S., pay shipping and duty, and deal with the exchange rate and still save money.
My last 3 purchases were from an online retailer in the U.S. and I hate to say it but it's going to stay that way. Super fast shipping, huge selection and great prices are things that I can't afford to pass up, as I try to build a cellar while not going totally belly up.(TAD is getting stronger.)
The b&m will hopefully survive and maybe entice the next Newby to dive in head first but, personally I can't justify spending much money there anymore.
Who kmows what I'll miss? A tobacconist recommending something because he knows my tastes so well; meeting an elderly fellow who once owned and cared for 600 pipes?
It's a blessing too then, to have an online community that scratches that itch for knowledge and comraderie.
The times they are a changing. In some ways it's tough on both the customers and physical retailers. But change is constant and should be accepted, and maybe even embraced; who knows what new opportunities may arise?

 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
39,479
52,398
Admittedly, things are much better in the U.S. right now, in terms of pipe tobacco prices, however the brick and mortar places still run high, often twice as much for a tin of tobacco, and a much more limited selection. I try to throw my independent pipe shop business, mostly for bulk tobacco, pipe cleaners, and incidentals like softies. I too feel guilty. The owner sold me several of my first pipes that I still smoke and enjoy them, and have bought several since. But online retailers are dominantly competitive, and once you have quite a few pipes, are much more adept at coming up with pipes that fill niches in my rack rather than just providing pipes similar to what I have. But my indy pipe shop is like a church of pipes, and losing it would be forlorn. The dominance of cigars is just a fact of life, a revenue stream. Here a tin of good tobacco, even at a b&m shop goes for $20 for about twenty smokes, whereas for twenty bucks, even in ordinary cigars is about three smokes. Retailers like cigars a lot. And the market is more established, whereas the pipe tobacco market, though on its way back, is still small.

 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
38,735
86,186
Pipes at my local B&M are pretty much on par with online outlets, but most of the tobacco is around $7 an ounce. 8O

 

warren

Lifer
Sep 13, 2013
10,492
11,457
Wait until internet transactions are taxed globally. It's coming folks and you do not need to hold your breath. No government likes to see a dollar/euro/ruble go untaxed.

 

stickframer

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 11, 2015
875
6
I'm currently on a TAD thing. The thought of a new pipe hasn't seriously crossed my mind in some time. However, they do have a few nice Stanwells and some Butz-Choquins in there, patiently waiting for when the time is right.
Edit: Yes, Warren. I'm sure it's coming.

 

seacaptain

Lifer
Apr 24, 2015
1,829
6
I'm with you there. The tobacco shop in our town is more of a cigar shop. Their pipes all have dust on them and have probably been hanging on the display wall since they opened.
Oddly though, they do have a pretty large selection of shop-made tobacco blends for pipes. I've tried 7-8 different and none were that good, and a couple were pretty bad.
I'll go there if I want a cigar, or maybe to get a butane refill, but the rest of my pipe hobby will be done on line as well.

 

jessicac

Starting to Get Obsessed
Aug 7, 2014
223
1
Now this makes me think I really need to look into growing my own seeds. I wonder how much I can get away with in a studio apartment. Once you guys reach my level of taxes, then its all over..

 

mranglophile

Can't Leave
May 11, 2015
390
4
United States
Well I share your pain, i may live in the states but WA is closer to Canada in Austalia tax wise. I am actuaally friends with the owner and co-worker at the local B&M and I always feel bad talking about getting tobacco online. There prices seem all over the place but they average about $30 a tin. For some reason the Samuel Gawith 4 seasons series are only $19 but then again they want $54 for the 100g Rattrays tins. I spent $600 on one TAD order at smokingpipes last Feb and "explained" to my wife it would of been over $2000 at the local B&M....see how much I saved :P

I try to go in once every few months and buy cleaners and a few ounces of bulk, which is well done and consists of top teir stuff, from ODF to FVF so you can't bitch much about that, Ithink I paid about $9 an oz. of FVF in bulk but still more than buying 250g for $30 online. I bitch alot about P&C not shipping to WA but I really need to count my blessing that at least I have 2 that do.

 

jessicac

Starting to Get Obsessed
Aug 7, 2014
223
1
When the average price per 50gram pouch of borkum riff (that's pretty much all that's available here) is around $50 USD.

 

wolfe64

Starting to Get Obsessed
May 24, 2015
183
1
Ontario Canada
I think we have almost reached your level of taxation here in Ontario, Canada.

A 1 1/2 oz pouch of Captain Black is $26 plus tax here.

Whats a price of a pouch down under if you have them there ?
Mark

 

northernneil

Lifer
Jun 1, 2013
1,390
1
I fortunately have access to two decent B&M's in my town. However, just like stickfarmer, in have a hard time justifying spending $52 on a 50 gram tin of tobacco. I do try to buy pipes and accessories from them, and if they have a special tin (they do carry Germain tins) I will pick one up.
Like was stated above, it is not the shop owners fault that the government has tripped the coat of tobacco products. So I try to support them with my every couple of month visit. But 90% of my collection / cellar has been purchased on the internet.

 
Mar 1, 2014
3,389
4,279
-Warren
Wait until internet transactions are taxed globally. It's coming folks and you do not need to hold your breath. No government likes to see a dollar/euro/ruble go untaxed.
Yup, Canada hasn't ever really treated mail order any different from in-store purchases, except for that beautiful piece of legislation that exempts packages under $20. It's basically the only reason international on-line orders are worthwhile because without it everything would be getting an extra $10 handling fee (currently charged by Canada Post on anything that requires extra handling for tax calculation).

 

papipeguy

Lifer
Jul 31, 2010
15,779
27
Bethlehem, Pa.
We've been lucky thus far in Pennsylvania in that we have no tobacco taxes.....yet. Our new governor is trying to get a 40% tax through but is meeting very high resistance.

As far as the prices at my B&M versus the e-tailers, yeah, the B&M get s few bucks more but I love the place and the owners. So, I see it as paying dues for a club. If they ever shut down I'll be looking at over an hour's drive to the nearest pipe shop.

 

drezz01

Can't Leave
Dec 1, 2014
483
6
I only smoke once a week or so and it takes me a while to run through a tin. I would gladly support my local B&M and pay the ~$35 per tin if it wasn't for all of their short fallings: similar to stickframers experience. Very limited offerings, the staff have absolutely no experience with any of them - and don't have much more to say about cigars frankly.
It also doesn't help that here in Saskatchewan tobacco products have to be concealed. Even if I do pop my head in to see if they have anything new I have to wait until the clerk is available to slide open the mirror case -- at that point it feels a little awkward not to buy something, so I avoid doing it. You also miss the spattering of colours from all of the tins on the wall, jars full of loose tobacco to stick your nose in -- the whole experience is just neutered.
I still feel bad not supporting my local though. Without the support they're not going to realize there is an interest which means they aren't going to dedicate any more resources to improving their service for pipe smokers. Maybe I'll walk down there this afternoon...

 

northernneil

Lifer
Jun 1, 2013
1,390
1
here in Saskatchewan tobacco products have to be concealed
Even inside a B&M where you have to be 18 just to walk in the door? Alberta has the same law for gas station smoke displays, or the Shefield and Sons in the mall, but legitimate tobacconist's are allowed to display their product. If that is not the case, I feel for ya brother.

 

jessicac

Starting to Get Obsessed
Aug 7, 2014
223
1
Yeah, we had the same issue. There was one single store in the city that had a lot of pipe tobacco, including their own blends. The prices were a little crazy even on pipes which would be around 2-3 times more than what you might pay. I did use to buy a few of their house blends, but when you compare the prices of around $42 USD per tin, and around $180 USD for a Peterson Standard System, they really could not compete, even with the monthly purchase of a tin or two, along with pipe cleaners, they packed it in last year.
Now, I would need an hour-90 minutes flight to get to the nearest B&M.

 

kyriefurro

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 14, 2013
223
3
While not as bad as Canada or Europe, the taxes in Montana are painfully high - 50% on the invoice price - which results in tins costing twice as much as I can pay for them on line. Still, I'm like a lot of people in that I generally favor the idea of supporting my local B&M.
Unfortunately there's only one B&M here in town and the owner is a surly SOB who apparently doesn't like people. I can't help but wonder why someone like him would go into a line of business that requires him to work with the general public on a daily basis, because he obviously hates it. Ideally, I'd like to get my zippo fuel, pipe cleaners and maybe even some pipes from him, as well as pick up the odd tin of tobacco if he's carrying something I haven't tried yet. But every time I visit, I leave shaking my head and wondering why I bothered.
As of last week the shop had a sign on it saying they were closed pending a move to a new location and would be reopening under new ownership. Hopefully the new guy will breathe a bit more life into the business.

 
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