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Stogie Commentary: Manners Don’t Require a Raised Pinkie

22 Feb 2011

Visiting a tobacconist to smoke a cigar is almost always an enjoyable occasion. What could be better than lighting up and relaxing, perhaps enjoying a beverage, good company, or a televised sporting event?

We hear and read a lot about what store owners need to do to maintain a great shop, but I think we patrons have some responsibilities as well. I need to say first that the following are my own three pet peeves. No shop owner suggested any of them to me, nor did I run them by anyone. They’re just a few things I’ve noticed that I would love to see come to an end.

First and foremost, don’t bring cigars you bought elsewhere into the shop to smoke. Why anyone would even consider doing this is beyond my comprehension. Would you go into a bar and pull out your own bottle of Old Overholt? Or hoist your car on the lift in an auto shop and proceed to work on it? A cigar shop is a business. Selling cigars is the major part of that business. A lounge in which to smoke them is a perk for paying customers.

Now, I’ll grant two possible exceptions. If you pay to belong to a “club” within the shop and it includes a cigar locker, then I’d say you’re free to stock it as you see fit unless there’s a prohibition to which you agreed upon joining. But I’d also say you should remove the band when you’re smoking something the shop doesn’t carry. The second exception would be when a shop has a “cutting fee” for smoking outside cigars. Pay the tab and light up.

Second, don’t pocket the cutters or lighters supplied by the shop for customers to use. Let’s face it, putting the five-finger discount on these is stealing, plain and simple. It also hurts all the customers because the owners, faced with frequent replacements, will invariably begin to put out cheaper, and fewer, implements.

Finally, don’t talk loudly about how much higher the prices are at the shop than you can find on the internet. While this is really just common courtesy, like taking your cell phone calls outside, I think it’s particularly tasteless. Instead, why not send an email to your favorite online cigar retailer complaining about how you can’t smoke there?

George E

photo credit: Flickr

11 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: Manners Don’t Require a Raised Pinkie”

  1. Bill Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 5:43 am #

    I concur. I actually am surprised they allow people to bring thier own cigars in and smoke them there. I don't know of any other business that would allow a similar practice. I would feel feel like a total dink doing it.

  2. Mr.Friday Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 6:13 am #

    Hear Hear!

  3. TriMarkC Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    I agree almost 100%. BUT, I've had situations where the cigar lounge wouldn't even allow me to bring in cigars that I had previously bought from him!!! I just couldn't see the logic to that, so I stopped going there.

  4. Ethan K Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    I travel a bit trying to sell …. anyway, wanting to smoke, I've come into several B&Ms that don't have one decent cigar that is even close to a fair price. I look to buy something: cutter, coffee, soft-drink, butane…. and then hope I am welcome to light up a cigar from my stash. If I get "the look" or a direct comment, I leave. My father had a local store & treated someone buying a pack of chewing gum as well as anyone else.

  5. George E. Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    Ethan K. – There are quite a few Web sites where you can search out cigar shops by location and that might help you in your travels. I think the IPCPR's is a good one (

  6. Andrew Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 5:40 am #

    I strongly disagree with the bringing your own cigars policy. I don't see anything wrong with bringing your own cigars as long as you buy one of the B&Ms cigars or something else there. Money is money and as long as you buy something, why can't you smoke your own cigar of choice? Perhaps your own cigar has age on it. This is what I do at my local as well as many others.

  7. dmjones1009 Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    I agree with Andrew regarding the strict prohibition of only smoking them if you bought them there. I will occasionally take smokes that I bought elsewhere with me into the shop I frequent, but they also know I am a regular customer and end up buying something from them almost every time I go, even if I don't smoke it there and then. I think the common courtesy in this situation is to keep purchasing from that store, especially if you plan on bringing in other cigars. Of course, it also helps that I am on friendly terms with the shop owner, manager and employees…if I was going into a shop I rarely am at (or one I've never been to) I wouldn't dream of taking my own smokes with me.

  8. George E. Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    I'll certainly grant that circumstances and relationships can be a factor with any of the situations I mentioned. I think a key factor is spending money in the shop. Many lounges are so comfortable and pleasant that they take on the air of a club. But never forget that if the owner can't make it financially, he won't be able to keep going.

  9. Michael B Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Amen Brother!

    I would add…don't use the stores courtesy cutter if you wet your stick.

  10. Andy Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    I've found it is much easier to gain reputation with a shop owner than those who frequent the shop. Being a young, up and coming aficionado (19 years old), I often find that others in the store cast an evil eye on me as I pick through the humidor. I suppose it is much to their surprise when I use the same tools as they do. Most of them simmer down after a while, but as it is with most things in life, it takes a while to gain respect.

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