Your Friendly Local Tobacconist

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.

Log in

Search on Site

SmokingPipes.com Updates

Watch for Updates Twice a Week

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.

.

Recent Posts

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.

.

UncleRasta

Member
Sep 26, 2019
146
341
Greetings All,

I'm interested to know how forumites(?) strike a balance between supporting local tobacconists and maximizing potential savings online. As a camera buyer I would/do find the price online from a reputable supplier, then offer the local store the opportunity to supply me for the same price. That was sometimes mutually beneficial and sometimes not. I also didn't mind paying a little extra if the item was in stock locally and shipping fees/waiting time were eliminated. Do we do that with tobacco? Pipes for that matter?

Someone suggested a blend for me to try and I found it online from one of the legit sites for c $14 a tin, $6 shipping, $20 all in. The quote from a within driving distance brick & mortar store was fully $12 more. Same size tin. Is this common or am I missing any important considerations? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lightxmyfire

Casual

Preferred Member
Oct 3, 2019
1,379
4,264
NL, CA
I have no real tobacconist within a 4 hour drive.

For those who struggle with this question, you may not have long to worry about it before the decision is made for you.
 
  • Wow
Reactions: UncleRasta

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.

wordheavy

Member
Jul 7, 2019
235
324
Southern California
I like to buy from tobacco shops, unfortunately aren't many around anymore. The one I really like is almost 20 miles away but I do go every once in a while and when I'm there I always purchase something. I especially like to try something new by purchasing it from a shop. If I like it, I will probably purchase more online but I will not stop buying from shops, even if I have to pay more. It feels good to see everything, the aroma, customer service, and not having to wait are worth the extra dollars. It's kind of my immediate gratification technique.
 

kcghost

Preferred Member
May 6, 2011
3,022
1,329
Real prince of a fella to buy locally provided he can it for the same prices as he can order it.
 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
5,902
14,932
Alaska
We only have two B&M stores that carry any legit pipe tobacco. The better one G&P is the one I usually support, often times mostly for a cigar though. They have some house blends but all but one are aromatics. Some of which are good, but also $6 an oz. Their "Premium" bulks, usually Rattray's or SG are $10 on oz, and their Esoterica blends they sell in bulk for $20 an oz ($45 an oz for penzance or stonehaven). They also have much more knowledgeable staff than 5th avenue does, which makes for good conversation and a classic vibe rather than hurry up and buy.

Needless to say, it is tough to support them with prices this high. Although the 120% AK tobacco tax is responsible for much of that.

The other (5th avenue cigars, formerly the landmark Pete's Tobacco)carries mostly Stokkebye and GLP bulks and has ok prices, but still can't compete with online. I occasionally buy from both of them just to lend support, but it's tough to justify these days.
 
  • Like
Reactions: UncleRasta

scloyd

Preferred Member
May 23, 2018
3,010
2,137
I have two B&Ms about 35-40 minutes from me in opposite directions. I will stop in when I'm in the area to see what they have in stock. I never leave without purchasing something even if it's just cleaners.
 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,340
1,222
Lexington, KY
For me it's about maintaining a long-run relationship with my B&M in a way I never will with an online retailer. I give my B&M some 'surplus' (in the economic sense) by paying a higher price for certain things, but I feel that I get that back in other ways, like getting a phone call to tell me Esoterica is in stock, and they'll be holding some for me.

In the end, paying 30-50% more for standard fare or buying some pipe cleaners every couple of weeks is more than worth the human touch, the preferential treatment, and the pleasure of walking down to the shop at my leisure to pick up some hard-to-find stuff.
 

UncleRasta

Member
Sep 26, 2019
146
341
I like to buy from tobacco shops, unfortunately aren't many around anymore. The one I really like is almost 20 miles away but I do go every once in a while and when I'm there I always purchase something. I especially like to try something new by purchasing it from a shop. If I like it, I will probably purchase more online but I will not stop buying from shops, even if I have to pay more. It feels good to see everything, the aroma, customer service, and not having to wait are worth the extra dollars. It's kind of my immediate gratification technique.
I hear you. But at twice the price I'll have to find another way to support them. Perhaps by buying some of their estate pipes.
 

lightxmyfire

Member
Jun 17, 2019
157
312
I do a mix of things much like Alaskan and scloyd. There’s a couple with in 20 to 40 minutes of me, and I’ll stop in check out what they’ve got and always try to leave with something.

I try not to feel bad for going online if I’m looking for something specific and they don’t have it or if the price is really crazy. One of the places near me was selling tins of the current 3 nuns for 42 dollars. You can buy em online for 13 to 15, that one I wouldn’t do. I have however bought a tin of gl pease for 20 from the same shop, it’s about 8 bucks more than online, and I wanted to support them, plus not waiting for it to be shipped or risk it getting mixed up and lost by USPS (look up that thread for some interesting reads) is a benefit there as well.

I also don’t think it would hurt to talk to them and see if they’ll match the price, or at least get as close as they can given the tax situation in your local area.
 
  • Like
Reactions: UncleRasta

mikefu

Preferred Member
Mar 28, 2018
1,554
4,802
Colorado Springs
I am super fortunate to have a good B&M less than a mile from my house. Their prices are quite a lot more than online sellers; at 30-100% more typically. But I still shop there, as most of the staff are helpful and friendly, and I like to support local. My only beef is that they obviously cater to cigar smokers, and as they have a huge walk-in humidor and make most of their money there, I understand. But a couple of the guys there are obviously out of their depth with any pipe questions, and just make wrong stuff up instead of finding out or saying they don’t know.
 

UncleRasta

Member
Sep 26, 2019
146
341
We only have two B&M stores that carry any legit pipe tobacco. The better one G&P is the one I usually support, often times mostly for a cigar though. They have some house blends but all but one are aromatics. Some of which are good, but also $6 an oz. Their "Premium" bulks, usually Rattray's or SG are $10 on oz, and their Esoterica blends they sell in bulk for $20 an oz ($45 an oz for penzance or stonehaven). They also have much more knowledgeable staff than 5th avenue does, which makes for good conversation and a classic vibe rather than hurry up and buy.

Needless to say, it is tough to support them with prices this high. Although the 120% AK tobacco tax is responsible for much of that.

The other (5th avenue cigars, formerly the landmark Pete's Tobacco)carries mostly Stokkebye and GLP bulks and has ok prices, but still can't compete with online. I occasionally buy from both of them just to lend support, but it's tough to justify these days.
Yes, I will have to be strategic with my support.
 

olkofri

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
5,314
6,554
I do both. I like to pop into the local shop every now and then (and I must, anyways, as I eventually run out of pipe cleaners) and buy some Lane's blends from him. Last week, I ordered a Brigham pipe from him. It's the only real tobacconist shop left in the city—yes, there are other 'smoke' shops but they deal mostly with cigarettes, bongs, and other exotic paraphernalia—and it'd be very bad to see his shop go under.
 

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
1,368
2,195
So we may come to a stage where we buy legal cannabis and have secret tobacco (weed) guys
Well that does seem like an increasingly likely possibility.

The reason many of us care about supporting B&Ms is so we'll have somewhere to buy tobacco if mail order ever gets banned. By way of comparison, mail order liquor sales are banned in many states (wine only, no distilled spirits), and with tobacco being an age-restricted item, it's reasonable to have some concern about how long the mail order tobacco business will be allowed to stick around.

I'm just waiting for the next Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids report about the dangers of Little Johnny ordering corn cob pipes and Captain Black Grape Aromatic by mail puffy
 
  • Sad
Reactions: UncleRasta

SpookedPiper

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2019
1,557
6,006
I swear that the people at smoking pipes know me as I have ordered way too much and too often, at least I want to believe they do! I will often buy my bulk from the local b&m, even though they cater more to cigar lovers than briar brothers. It's really where the market is I also but something when I go in to see if they have received any new stock.

Their prices can be outrageous and I just move on. I haven't tried haggling for price or price matching if I know I can get a better price online.

If was a cool old-school tobacconist who is truly interested in pipe and tobbacs and wants to discuss the blends and the hobby is not just interested in making a sale, then I would spend an extra few bucks but that's not the norm.
 

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.