I still use the Tesco baccy counter for lighter fuel and flints. I have a Zippo that was given to me by a Syrian student years ago, with a picture of a pig on it! Her father gave me a gigantic cigar and her mother gave me a hand-stitched tablecloth that is far too beautiful to use, and that is one of the reasons why I will not tar all Muslims with the terrorist brush. The student was only here for eight weeks and she did enough work for a full paper. I'd take on all the students I can find with that work ethic.
Oh, and if her parents are ever in town again, I'll be angling for another invite to lunch. It's not likely, given the current situation over there. I just hope the student and her family are okay.
Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes. Lighter fuel and flints. Neither are frequent purchases. A pack of flints lasts ages, a can of lighter fuel not quite so long. It came as a surprise recently to find that Tesco no longer sell lighter fuel for petrol lighters. They might still have it for gas-powered ones, I don't know.
Well, no problem. The local pound shop is where I buy papers and they sell the lighter fuel too. For, surprisingly enough, a pound.
Just a few days ago I ran out of flints. I buy food in Tesco so I thought, no problem, I'll pick up a pack of flints while I'm there.
I had to say 'flints' five times before the spotty youth worked out what I was asking for. Then he told me they didn't sell those - in a voice that suggested they never had. This is where I bought my last pack of flints. Oh, no, the whole idea of 'lighter flints' has gone right down the memory hole now.
I noticed all the various cigarettes, rolling baccy and cigars are there (and nearly passed out at the prices) and they could sell me overpriced disposable lighters but no flints and no refuelling. Doesn't seem very 'green', does it? I've had this lighter for almost twenty years and they want me to replace it with throwaways? Ah, but smoker-hate trumps global warming even though both are based on junk science and outright lies.
We don't have the doors of oppression here yet. Man Widdicombe has seen them. When they arrive I am going to play with them. It will be easy because there seems to be a policy of only employing those who are totally ignorant of smoking at the tobacco counter.
"I'll have twenty Sarcoma, please."
(sucker opens all the doors and peers at the tiny names on the plain packs) "Sorry, we don't have those."
"Oh. Okay, do you have Oedema Lights?"
(sucker goes through all the doors again) "No."
"How about Infarctions? You must have those."
"I'll check." (opening and closing door ritual again) "Nope."
It'll turn into the Monty Python Cheese Shop Sketch and the best part is, the teenager behind the desk will never have seen it so won't recognise it. I think I'll end with "Okay, two ounces of Satan's Anal Scratchings then" and see how long it takes the penny to drop, if it ever does. Finally I'll leave and visit the Van Man who is cheaper and who is not required to have doors.
The de-stocking of smoking accoutrements seems, so far, to be confined to Tesco. Morrison's aren't doing it yet and the pound shop is boosting stocks.Simple economics based on falling sales? The pound shop is a couple of streets away and they have moved the papers, filters, baccy tins, rolling gadgets etc from the little space by the tills to a larger section in the aisles. Since these shops rely on small profit/fast turnover, they are not going to saddle themselves with stuff that doesn't sell.
There's no law at all around the sale of the non-tobacco components of smoking. There are many shops that haven't bothered with a tobacco licence but sell the papers, lighters etc. There's one here that sometimes has bongs for sale, and those really big rolling papers that everyone knows aren't actually intended for tobacco. All legal, because they don't include any smoking substances at all.
So if there's no law involved and no problem selling these things, why are they being de-stocked?
One possible reason is that the marketing department have realised something. In all the shops selling tobacco from behind the new Cancer Doors, it's likely that the papers etc will be behind those doors too. If they take the cheapest option of simply fitting doors over the display, then all smoking-related materials disappear from view. Nobody can see them.
In the cheap shops that sell no tobacco, the papers etc will be on open display. That's where we'll see them and that's where we'll buy them.
Ever-increasing numbers of smokers now buy everything but tobacco from the tobacco counter. We get the baccy abroad, either ourselves or through contact with someone else. Is the government losing revenue over this? Tough. The government has made their position clear. They hate us, completely and absolutely, and only a masochist willingly pays to be beaten up.
The pub industry still insists their collapsing share prices and closed pubs have nothing to do with the smoking ban. Then they complain that smokers have stopped going to their pubs and they think that's because of the supermarkets. Fine. Let the idiots believe what they want right up to bankruptcy.
Next, the supermarkets will complain that the pound shop is selling papers, flints and lighters and that is the reason their takings are down at the tobacco counter. Nothing to do with the doors or the prices or the plain packs.
Through it all, the government is complaining that we aren't paying for our own punishment.
I think it was 2005 when I first heard the line that 'tobacco bought overseas is far more dangerous than tobacco bought in the UK' even though it all comes from the same companies. This was, of course, to put us off buying tobacco abroad or from the (rather less common in those days) Man with a Van. That was before the really vicious stuff started, and foreign baccy was already costing the Treasury money.
Now the problem is huge and still growing, I can see a day coming where the only UK duty paid tobacco will be the subsidised supply at Westminster and I bet half the smoking MPs won't even buy it there.
So now we have another attempt at scaring us into paying the government to ban us from our cars and then our homes. This time we are to fear the dreaded fake tobacco. Here is their handy guide to spotting the fakes:
An unusual or unexpected taste
Different tobaccos have different tastes. That's why we all have preferred brands.
Spelling mistakes and altered logos
Low quality labels and packaging
Well that's going to be really helpful when they're all in the same packs with no logos at all. What are we supposed to do, check whether the precise shade of grey is exactly as it should be?
Foreign safety warnings or no health warnings at all
The ones with foreign safety warnings aren't even illegal, much less fake. Yet here they are lumped in with the fakes.
Often sold in street markets, car boot sales and pubs
Yes, well, you'd hardly expect to find the cheap dodgy-imports in Sainsbury's, would you?
Most copied brands are Super Kings, Benson & Hedges, Lambert &
Butler, Camel, Embassy Number 1, Embassy Regal and Golden Virginia
These are the most popular brands too. The ones the Men with Vans will bring in. They aren't necessarily fakes - yet.
When the packaging is all plain, all you need do to copy any brand is to change the little typed name on the front. Plain packaging will be an absolute gift to the crime syndicates and will mean the 'fake' problem will soon overtake the 'smuggling' problem.
Criminals could even set themselves up as legitimate suppliers and fill the shops and supermarkets with fakes. Who'd know? The packs all look the same and no smoker will notice anything amiss in passing because the plain packs are all hidden behind the Filthy Habit Doors.
The only way to be sure of buying the real product will be to buy Man with a Van's supply of non-plain packs from another country. Nothing in the shops will be trusted.
So the government is setting up the tobacco market to collapse, putting it in the hands of criminals who care nothing for quality control or age limits, complaining about lost revenue and yet still pushing their agenda of pure hatred against the same people they insist have to pay more tax in order to fund more hate.
They are so consumed by hate that they will not listen. They will not even hear us when we speak. They are happy to send pensioners into the snow, to see the pubs, clubs, cafes and bingo halls close, to force smokers into spitefully-designed shelters, to deny us the NHS treatment we are still forced to pay for anyway, and now to ban us from our cars and next, render us homeless and jobless. We have only one means to fight back Only one.
Don't buy your tobacco from any UK outlet.
Don't pay for your own denormalisation.
And most of all, vote for someone else next time.