There is something extremely satisfying about heading over to the B&M on Saturday mornings. First, there is always hot coffee and donuts available. More importantly is knowing that you are going to see those same friendly faces that you see every week. There is good conversation, some friendly joking, and in general a sense of camaraderie that seems to be in short supply these days. It is akin to hanging out at the coffee shop, but for us smokers, the coffee shop cant hold a candle to having a B&M close by.
There is much lost to technology and legislation these days. The advent of the Internet retailer has caused (either directly or indirectly) many B&M’s to go out of business. The advent of overreaching legislators has cause the Internet retailers to blossom. It is a vicious cycle that not only causes us to pay higher taxes, and head to the Internet to find the cheapest, tax free purchase we can, but we loose out on the interaction that is so important. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of chats, and blogs, and forums where we as smokers can interact and be a group, and even I personally have developed great friendships with people whom I have never met in person. However; there is something to be said about the one on one, face to face that you get with a local B&M. Walking into a shop where everyone knows your name, the owner knows your blend, and your coffee cup sits next to the coffee maker.
I spent the day at my B&M today. Talking about pipes, tobacco, politics, our favorite color. Yes, we do have some strange conversations, but its fun, satisfying, and often rewarding. When I came back to pipe smoking, I don’t know what I would have done without that resource. Between finding blends, finding pipes, or getting advice I would have been lost. Today is a prime example of why I appreciate this so much. I managed to leave my B&M today with a box full of “stuff” without spending a dime. Tobacco samples, t-shirts, a Cohiba polo shirt from a tobacco show. All things that maybe are not worth much, but to me, they are priceless. They solidify that feeling of belonging that feeling of family of sorts.
So, if you have a B&M close by, stop in someday. Don’t just run in and grab your tobacco and run out with your head ducked down. Look up, say hi, maybe even chat awhile. You might find that you have been missing out on something special. And who knows, you may find, like me, an appreciation for something that so many don’t have.