Monday, January 26, 2009

Super-Events: Outlaw Cigar Co. - content preview

Offering anything different from the usual store operations can constitute an Event. The key to having a successful event is communicating it to your customers! Even those that do not attend will appreciate the service and recognize you as a vital business who strives to please their customers.

Something as simple as providing coffee, donuts, and a newspaper on a Sunday morning can be marketed as a “Cigar Brunch” while cigar makers, food, live music, and endless other novelties can be brought together to create a Super-Event.

While most Tobacconists may be satisfied to organize intimate events with 10 to 30 customers, others can be more extravagant. The Super-Event is defined by its scale and ambition. Perhaps any event that extends beyond the physical boundaries of you store can be a Super-Event. While Super-Events may be hard to define, you will indubitably know one when you see it.

Case Study:
The Outlaw Cigar Co. in Kansas City, MO has monthly events which draw thousands of visitors. Located in a suburban mall, The Outlaw utilizes its parking lot (and store) to create what is America’s biggest and most exciting regular cigar party. While this type of event may not viable for all Tobacconists, it is the ultimate example of what extraordinary (Certified) Tobacconsits, organization, and leadership can accomplish.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

HealthScare Ping-Pong

Just one week ago the media was disseminating the good news about a new study that showed one cup of coffee a day reduced the risk of oral cancer by 50% in both normal and high risk individuals.

As a coffee drinker and cigar smoker, I thought this was excellent news. While drinking coffee comes easy to me, I am constantly grumbling about having to work out and eat healthy.... so I was quite thrilled about the newly discovered benefits of coffee.

Today, I tuned into AOL and saw this:

And, for a second I almost felt bad for the coffee industry. I was thinking, 'here we go again; sensationalized headlines touting something else to be afraid of".... And, then I remembered, "I'm in the tobacco industry!!!".... No one gets more beat up, demonized, be-smirched, taxed, legislated, and scapegoated than us.

The fact is, health and safety are big businesses... and there will always be contradictory, conflicting, or sensational claims on every side of an issue. One day meat is good, another it is bad. Sometimes alcohol is good, other times it is bad for you. And the news media loves reporting anything dramatic; and reporting everything dramatically. And it certainly seems like negative and scary things get much more play - notice the AOL header: 'Don't Drink That Coffee'. While positive (non-scary) topics get more mundane exposure:

Sadly, fear and death sells (just watch how easily legislators pass anti-smoking laws). People 'click' on scary articles and 'stay tuned' for negative news. In our fast paced world, it can be very difficult to get 'the real story'; today's 'real story' is tomorrow's lie - and vice-versa. I suppose the best thing an enlightened citizen can do is stay educated and open-minded, practice tolerance and moderation and avoid harsh knee jerk reactions to the news, science, and everything else. The world is far too big and dynamic to think we can know it all.

But, I am really preaching to the choir here, as cigar and pipe smokers take the time to sit back and relax, contemplate and get perspective on life. I suppose that is what the anti-smokers in the world don't understand; they don't understand that cigar and pipe lovers are savoring their time... We are trying to decompress from the hysterical and sensationalized world we are forced to live in... like we have been for thousands of years. Instead of reacting to HealthScare Ping-Pong and every other fear that is thrust upon us, we should make it our mission to share our values with those that are less enlightened.... thus, making the world a better and more healthy place.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Morhealthity: confessions of a fake health and safety advocate

Well, I have a confession to make and it makes me sick just thinking about what I have done. But, in my defense, I did it all in the name of preserving freedom. For about a week in 2008 I wrote a blog called Morhealthity - Beyond Liberty: Legislating Safety, Health, & Morality. As you can see, it was an exercise in stupidity and narcissism, void of freedom-loving values, tolerance, and common sense - but it was 'logical'. Honestly, it made me feel like a dirty person; a nazi or some other kind of grotesque totalitarian pontificating morality and social structure.

In the past I have said that smoke bans, excessive tobacco taxation, and most health and safety laws imposed on individuals are intellectually bankrupt ideas as they fail to preserve our freedoms. In fact, freedom is inherently risky, like life, and that is what makes it precious. So for about a week I put myself in the mentality that many of our contemporary legislators and health and safety advocates use.... and the results were clearly disastrous. Using their logic I easily managed to justify making hair dye illegal, closing down any business where an accident may happen, and created posses to try and tame and manage the 'dirty' smokers in our society. While I only wrote about a handful of ideas, my mind conjured up hundreds - like banning grilling, sizzling fajitas, bar-b-q, or any type of cooking that produces carcinogens or smoke - oddly the smoking bans have never addressed any of these realities. In addition, I started to think about how horrible the sight of smokers and 'less than physically perfect' people might have on our children.... maybe we should keep them out of sight... The most horrific thoughts popped into my head many times a day. Every time something bad happened in the news, I would think: 'close it down', 'ban it', 'tax it', 'legislate and control', etc....

This is what happens when individual liberty is displaced as the highest value of a society.... and I truly fear what the future holds if we do not get a grip on our most precious values! Remember, that our constitution guarantees the individual right to the pursuit of happiness! And remind your friends and legislators too.... Health, Safety, and Longevity are all useless without Freedom. And while every man dies, not every man lives well and the government has no right to tell people what will make them happy.

There are billions of dollars funnelled into the anti-smoking campaigns, both by the tobacco companies (capitalism's greatest irony), the cancer, lung, heart institutes, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (winner of the 2008 Anti-Smoking Hypocrisy Award), drug companies, and the Robert Wood Johnson foundation - just to name a few.... These lobbies work day and night pressuring legislators to pass these feel good laws. And they continue to succeed. In the end, all I can think of now is what a massive waste of human life and intelligence this has been. After all, couldn't these do-gooders accomplish so much more addressing war, genocide, disease, mal-nutrition, potable water, education, etc.... ??? Our legislators continue to restrict what individuals choose to do to themselves instead of fighting the injustices that we do to each other.

Food for thought:

In Dallas, TX Tobacconists cannot keep their doors open now because the local legislators fear people might actually smell tobacco smoke wafting outside - protecting odor annoyance?

Apartments and Condominiums throughout the country are now making smoking illegal both indoors and on balconies because some tenants hate the smell - will they legislate what and how you can cook next?


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sign This: Tobacconist Preservation Act

Please sign the petition if you support The Tobacconist Preservation Act, a proposed Federal Law which will preserve and protect Tobacconist and consumer rights to smoke in retail Tobacconist stores.

* Please note, you can only sign The Tobacconist Preservation Act Petition once; whether you sign it online or a paper copy - only one signature per person.