Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Picky Pipers?

I would not say that a healthy fear of making money is the average business owners problem. Though perhaps it may be the fear of the unwitting employee. My topic today is one that I would be interested to hear many responses from varied sources. We all, as pipe smokers, have our own way. For some of us it is more about the pipe, for others, about the tobacco. These are both fine and admirable. For some it is about the lore, and feel, for others it is about the experience. We all smoke pipes for different reasons, and may judge a pipe by wholly different standards when the day is done. That being said, how particular are you?

My mother-in-law wanted to buy a pipe for me this year for Christmas. This is actually one of my favorite exercises in life. Two of my favorite pipes, though they may not be my nicest pipes, are the two my wife picked out for me. One is a larger rusticated pipe (Eriksen) and the other is a smooth finish (unbranded). Both 3/4 bent stems. The first large rusticated one reminded her of a teddy bear, thus naturally, was meaningful to me. The second was "more intellectual and academic" and made her think of C.S. Lewis (something of a hero of mine). I like that, I like the idea of people picking out the pipes that they think suit me, or fit my personality.

The checker at the store they went into, however, claimed that "You should NEVER buy a pipe for a pipe smoker! It's FAR too personal!" And thus cost herself a sale. Hmm...This seems silly. Isn't the best thing to do to say, "I would be happy to find a pipe I'm sure he will love, but just in case I would keep the receipt. Pipe smokers can be finicky." Seriously, it's like someone bottled stupidity and anointed this poor clerk's head with it to make sure that no money was made that day. I couldn't understand it if I wanted to.

That being said, how picky of a smoker are you? Every pipe I own has its own character. Certain tobaccos work better in certain pipes. This is just the way of things. I don't even think I can make correlation between nicer pipes and nicer tobaccos working exclusively in them. Could someone buy you a pipe, or would you rather have the money to pick it out on your own? Is the value of a pipe sentimental or is it purely based on quality? Inquiring minds want to know.

Teaser: I just bought a new pipe from Dave at the VSL. It relates to one of my favorite iconic pipe smokers. A free smiley face emoticon goes to the person who can guess who that iconic pipe smoker might be. It should be here in a week or so...
First impression: this guy is top notch. Friendly, helpful and more than fair with pricing. Check it out.

or on his Youtube Channel:


  1. Hi! I'm new to your blog, but I like what I see. I have a couple of opinions on this matter. I'm a relatively new pipe smoker (a year and some change), so I'm just starting my collection. I take a lot of time to pick out each of my pipes, and then name them. I have my first briar, Lil Red (Riding Hood), a white ash churchwarden, Gandalf, a small clay pipe, Watson, and my most recent acquisition, a Nording Harmony named Boethius. They are all different and significant in their own ways. I certainly wouldn't mind someone else giving me a pipe, though. As much as I like to think of myself as wanting quality over sentimentality, I think that I would enjoy a $30 pipe given to me by my father more than a $130 pipe I picked out myself. I think pipes go beyond simply smoking them; it's more personal.

    1. Great stuff! I couldn't agree more. What something is really worth often far surpasses it fair market value.