I woke up today and realized I had an open schedule, so I decided to hop in the car and drive out to a local cigar lounge I had never been to. Setup for a great day, right? Not this time. Upon arriving it became immediately apparent that this smoke was going to be pretty unenjoyable because the customer service was so bad. And it really is hard to make something as essentially pleasurable as cigar smoking an unenjoyable experience.
So it got me thinking about which sins that the cigar-lounge-which-will-go-unnamed is guilty of. Here they are, in the form of a story:
1. Ignoring the customer when they enter
I walked into this shop with the purpose of buying a few cigars, meeting the owners, and just having friendly conversation. Pretty normal agenda, right? But when I walked in, I got an interesting reception. Two guys (who happened to be the owners) were standing in the middle of the room. They looked at me as I entered and went back to talking to each other. They were standing in my way so I awkwardly asked “hey.. are you guys open?”
“Yeah,” one of the guys said, “what do you want?”
“Uhh…” I said a little awkwardly, “I was hoping to smoke a cigar.”
“Cool” was the response. So I shuffled by, a little confused, and walked into the humidor and grabbed a few cigars.
When your customer’s first impression is awkwardness and and zero personal connection, that’s a bad sign.
2. Leaving a messy smoking area messy
After buying the cigars, which was again awkwardly silent, I went to sit down. I searched a bit and found a pair of cutters (there were none at the counter), and then looked around and found a tabletop lighter – no help there. I sat down at a table with an empty soda can on top of it and a random iphone charger, so I moved them so I’d have room to set down my laptop. Then I realized that the ash tray on the table was covered in a thick layer of ash, along with dead cigarette butts.
No one likes to set their cigar down in a pile of ash and then have to smoke a dirty cigar.
3. Treating the customer like serving is a chore
On my drive over I thought about stopping and buying a drink to bring in, but I figured I’d be a good patron and just buy a coke or bottle of water at the shop. This was a mistake. After about 5 minutes of smoking, my mouth and throat were parched, so I asked if I could buy a bottle of water.
The owner acted a little annoyed and responded, “we just had a party here last night and I didn’t buy any more. Sorry.”
Not having drinks isn’t necessarily such a problem, except for the fact that this shop isn’t anywhere near a store to buy drinks. My mouth was very dry, so I went outside to my car, grabbed an empty water bottle, and came back in and asked if it was okay if I filled the bottle up at the sink. The owners again looked mildly annoyed (as if the suggestion of me wanting some water was offensive) and said “sure.”
As I type, I’m still sitting here, smoking by myself, with the owners sitting on the other side of the room smoking, checking their phones, and watching golf. My cigar is almost done, so I’m going to head out in a few minutes.
I doubt they’ll notice.
Do you have any cigar shop horror stories? Share in the comments.