A few months on and hopefully most of you have been able to re-open again, be it full or part time hours, and most importantly the customers have been coming in.

So, the 15th June was the day all shops reopened, and it was rather entertaining here as customers who I had not seen during lockdown came in or rang up asking:

Them – “What’s it like being open again?”
Me – “Well I never closed”
Them – “Oh no you’re joking, I’ve been struggling to buy tobacco, I should have phoned to check”

Well yes, they should have but never mind they are back now and it was lovely to see them all again.

ONE IN AT A TIME.

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, I have a sign on the door only allowing one person in at a time and generally this is going very well, but you will always get a few who are impatient. They will pop their head in to see if it is ok to enter, and sometimes if I have a customer already in, they will say “I’ll only be a minute.” Well believe it or not that person waiting outside has taken this literally, timed them, and popped their head in again and said, “Your time is up.” This has almost caused a huge row outside, which a couple of times I’ve had to defuse by shouting “It’s just a figure of speech, there is no need for that”. Now whenever the door opens, I shout, “Won’t be long”. Problem solved.

The other situation I’m coming across is people complaining that the customer before them was a long time (well not everybody just buys a packet of papers), as well we all know weighing tobacco or selling cigars takes time and every customer has a right to spend however long they need while they are here.

A SLIGHT EMERGENCY.

One Monday a few weeks back I was opening one of our glass sliding doors to get some cigars out for a customer, to cut a long story short I managed to trap my finger in the door and cut it quite badly, (I was in a lot of pain and slightly concerned that I might need stitches). So, I had to ring Dad who had not been in since lockdown and he said he would come straight over. He spent about an hour here, we got my finger sorted, which luckily, I had just got away with not needing stitches, and he got a taster of what’s it’s like serving under different circumstances, (which he was going to do at some point anyway). He said it was strange but nice.

ARE YOU SERIOUS!

A few weeks ago, this chap came in asking me if I sell tablets to stop smoking, I had to ask him to repeat the question as I could not believe what I was hearing. I then responded, “This is a tobacconist, that is the last thing I would be selling”, “Oh ok” he answered as he left, and I was left scratching my head.

YOUTUBE STAR (well sort of).

At the beginning of lockdown I had a new customer come in called Des. He was telling me he had just started doing his own cigar reviews on YouTube ( The Cigar Cabin) and would he be able to film himself buying a cigar. I said that was fine and thought nothing about it until a few weeks later when he turned up with a camera.

Turns out he wanted to film me too, it all happened so quickly I am glad I hadn’t had time to stress about it. Watching myself the following evening was a strange experience, as your seeing yourself as others do, but not too painful at the same time.

He has been into film about 5 times now, even bringing his mate in to star in a behind the scenes version, (In other words what is involved in filming an episode). Des also wanted to get across to his subscribers that buying a cigar need not be an intimidating experience especially if you’re a newbie. It’s true as I’ve had a fair few beginners coming in and they do act nervous, so I like to spend time with them finding out their likes and dislikes regarding flavours, I then produce as I like to call it my bible. Every single cigar that I sell I have written up a full description on it, this helps guide the customer in the right direction (it also makes a good impression).

Cigar sales in general have gone through the roof, there has been a fair amount of young men taking it up, the reason I hear mostly is that they have had a cigar at a party etc, really enjoyed it and have wanted to continue that experience at home (you do not need to justify your reason for taking up smoking but it’s always nice to know).

Well I think that will do us for now, as I need to keep something back for the next newsletter. Stay busy, safe and sane!