I saw something today I see often enough in my travels to Vape Shops around Sydney.
A middle-aged lady walks into a shop I was hanging out in. Vapour Power up in Thornleigh. A total newbie. A bit unsure, maybe even a bit nervous.
I know what she is going through. She was maybe only a little younger than me and had been probably smoking for a few decades. It’s a huge leap to take that step towards choosing to give up tobacco.
People don’t understand how difficult it is to give up tobacco.
More so if you had tried many times before. It’s a difficult scary decision to make and your brain is probably already offering internal resistance arguments in your head just by seriously thinking about it.
Vaping can seem a bit daunting and complicated. It is and it isn’t. Its simplicity means it can be reduced to simplicity and its simplicity can have layers added to make it complicated. It caters to the tinkerers and the seekers of convenience alike and the vast array of system choices do need explaining.
How it’s explained makes a hell of a lot of difference to your thoughts and feelings to vaping and ultimately the chances of success.
So, when you bravely walk into a vape shop with little to no experience the last thing you want is to feel like you’ve been had.
I watched and listened to Aziz Abali break things down for this lady who had a lot of questions. She was probably a little concerned about how much it was all going to cost. She didn’t know what she wanted.
I watched how he didn’t break away from her as the shop started filling with customers and the other person on duty sprung into action and sorted them out.
He was confident and spoke with assurance and authority without speaking down. He was calm, considerate and reassuring. Measured and took his time. It sounded more like a GP consultation.
I have no shame in saying I felt all warm and fuzzy.
The guys behind the counter didn’t see how happy she looked as she turned her back on them and walked out of there as if she knew she was doing the right thing.
Off she goes! I thought…. A new vaper is born.
That’s how it’s done folks. It’s why vape shops are so much more. Customer service counts and I wish that happened to me in the first shop I walked into. I turned out OK I think but I did do a fair bit of research before going into a shop and I can tell the difference between someone trying to dud me and someone genuinely trying to elicit information from me in order to better guide me.
Sure, you can say that about other retailers. Shops talk about customer service but other than maybe buying lingerie, vaping is a deeply subjective and ultimately an intimate thing. Starting to vape also has that added danger because you are dealing with peoples doubt, fear and habits.
While Aziz’s special customer handling skills deserve a mention I’m sure I could regale you with other notes of some special performances I’ve seen. The warm personalities, the funny ones and the calm & wise approaches. Makes a huge difference.
The point really is that vapers know. We’ve all been that lady I saw today and I wish every new vaper gets to experience that early special attention. Just to smooth that early transition from something you love that’s doing you harm to something you can love that does so much less harm to your body.
And here’s the rub…
The more I read and hear about what’s happening in South Australia with all the new restrictive laws making it very difficult for retailers to operate. The more I feel sad for the potential thousands of smokers in that state that may not even consider vaping because they won’t get that assistance a lot of smokers would benefit from thinking about vaping for the first time.
It’s not fair. There are a lot of Azizes out there who are passionate and very knowledgeable about vaping that can pass on their knowledge and guidance with special handling.
You’re not going to find these people working in tobacco shops, supermarkets or service stations which is where you’re going to get your vape gear from if the new laws in Souths Australia should eve, unfortunately,y roll out to other states. You certainly won’t be able to buy vape gear online there at all
Just let that sink in for a bit cause it has with me and it’s a bit scary even to me…let a lone a newbie.
Something can be done….write to your local government reps, speak a lot more to people, even the smokers and non-smokers.
Tell them your story.
Give then your time….
I reckon we can change things for the better.
Cheers for now