“Cigar.com” was in my mailbox this day. Elegant in style, attractive graphics, with 88 pages of cigars and cigar-related paraphernalia from front to back. I’ve received other catalogs through the mail and I usually throw them out.
But for whatever reason, I didn’t fling this one into the trash. So I started to flip through the pages to see what’s offered for this March 2018 issue. Of course, it’s jammed with deals. Or so one would think. I don’t know every retail or wholesale price of every cigar that’s offered in the shops. So I really can’t say if they are high or low.
As much as this pains me, I thought I’d mention some of the brands that are included in this very readable publication. Let’s see, Punch, Cohiba Red Dot, Rocky Patel, Davidoff, Graycliff, a wide assortment of cigars by A.J. Fernandez, Oliva, Macanudo, Acid, Nat Sherman, (a brand that’s looking for a rep and may have found one by the time this is published), CAO, Camacho, Diamond Crown, of course Gurkha, a bunch of house blends, (probably made by the same folks who brought you the more recognizable brands).
Oh look, here’s Ashton, Caldwell, Drew Estate, Don Pepín García, My Father, Alec Bradley, San Cristobal, Partagás, more Rocky Patel, Obsidian ( I think that’s PDR), Fratello, Padrón, Sancho Paza, (odd to include), HC, Asylum 13, Warped, Southern Draw (Oops! A boutique cigar by A.J.?) Arturo Fuente, Nub (isn’t that odd, too?), and on and on and on and on and on.
Wow! If I didn’t know better I’ll bet you a dime to a donut that some of these are offered in the shops. Again, I can’t criticize because I don’t know the prices. Whoops, forgot Java, just saw that one. I mean there are so many.
I used to buy from J.R. in the early days. In fact, I just smoked my last Champion from that company and despite its age, it was one grand cigar. I think that was one of the first boxes I bought from a catalog. Although, I clearly remember Davidoff sending me a five pack of some cigar very early on that I enjoyed tremendously. Sadly, when I called to reorder, the customer service person said that they couldn’t send me a single five-pack, something to do with a minimum order and I wasn’t about to spend any more than I planned. Keep in mind this was years ago when I was simply a consumer. Without sounding too elitist, I don’t buy cigars anymore.
It’s really a treasure chest of cigars that are offered. And you can buy them from your house. Click, click, click and they are on their way. No muss no fuss. Snow, rain, sleet or snow – I can get a cigar. Though I will throw in you have to wait a few days for them to arrive. But then you have to wait in line at the cigar shop, too. So what’s the difference? Ah, convenience. You can’t beat it.
So I’m writing as I am and I can still remember one of the stores I visited not too long ago as a broker. I stood while the owner frantically ran to his computer to see if the cigars I was introducing for sale were offered on the web – the paperless catalog. I just stood around while this little circus act was being performed because God knows the shop owner wouldn’t dare pick up a brand I was selling if he found it in, oh say Cigar International, or Famous, or Thompson (alas poor Thompson – we knew thee well).
I often wondered why the hunt and peck for my brand when I could have sworn I saw Montecristo, Rocky Patel, HC, Drew Estate, and many, many more brands that are in the catalog are offered on his very sacred cedar shelves. I’m sure he would have been aghast if he found any I had just shown him on the internet. But he did not – find any – of mine – on the internet. No blunt excuse to say, “No thanks.” “No, thanks.” Shit.
Today I still stick with boutique cigars that are not listed on the web or photographed for the catalogs. Though. Though, that has changed dramatically. You can find some of the boutique cigars I represent on the net and in the catalogs. Even though we were told that would never happen. That was our ace up our sleeve to make the sale. The customer had to visit your establishment to get the cigar because it wasn’t available anywhere else. Excuse me, I have to vomit.
No, now it’s “Oh, yeah they have it, but it’s price protected by an ironclad contract.” Good God how I hate to wretch. Forgive me.
Oh boy. Whew! I’m feeling a bit better.
So, as independent cigar brokers, we go on, “Higglety Pigglety Pop! Or, There Must Be More to Life,” a grand book by Maurice Sendak that explores the daring imagination (that) has woven a simple rhyme into a brilliantly original tale about Jennie, the Sealyham terrier, who seeks Experience and becomes the star of the World Mother Goose Theatre.” (Wiki)
I’ve been to New York, Chicago, Boston, and Atlanta and I have yet to find this particular playhouse, but I will not tarry and the search I will never give up. I will go far beyond the false promises, useless ironclad contracts, and sincere foolproof declarations of “No, it will never be on the net,” to find the missing arena where I will someday wear my five-pronged star with pride, dignity, and truth. I mean, really – who would f**k with Mother Goose?