Thoughts on the availability of OTC's

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by Bent, Feb 21, 2013.

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  1. Bent

    Bent Member

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    Most, if not all of the American OTC's have been around forever. This, alone, tells me that they are good and they sell. Sure, some people don't like this or that blend, but in general if they have been around for 50 years then the numbers are good, right?

    So, how come the local availability of OTC's is so low? I can find a few OTC's in my area that I like. Prince Albert, Half and Half, Captain Black and Borkum Riff are pretty much available everywhere, while I can only find Carter Hall and SWR Regular in few places. If I want a pouch of Granger, for instance, or Kentucky Club then I have to order online... why?

    Now, I can foresee some responses saying something along the lines of "I can find Granger locally in my area..." and that's fine, but keep in mind that while you'll be able to find Granger you might not find something else.

    I know the popularity of pipe smoking is not what it was 30+ years ago. But with the availability of OTC's being so low in most areas, I wonder, what gives? I was hoping this would be somewhat rectified when Lane took over many OTC's, but it doesn't look like anything is happening.

    Any thoughts?
     


  2. Tate

    Tate Member

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    Walk into your local store that sells some other OTC blends. Ask to see the manager. Ask him if he can stock the one you like. If he agrees and stocks it, buy it on the regular. Win-Win.
     
  3. Coastal Bend

    Coastal Bend Get off my lawn...

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    I have found a lack of selection/availability of OTC blends in my area as well. And, although I joke about being in the "Outback" with my friends, Corpus has a metro population of 400K, so while it's not as big a city as I'm used to it isn't tiny. Still there seems to only be a couple of blends most places I check. A while back when I wanted to try some Carter Hall there was none to be found in the pouch around here, although at least one grocery chain stocks the tubs. I have no inside knowledge, but I suspect it may be the old "shelf space" bug-a-boo. Other items considered "more popular" or faster turn squeeze out the other items, like pipe tobacco. Oh for the days when there was a wall of varieties and one could spend time reading the clever copy on the packages to decide which to try. It was like being a kid in a candy store.
     
  4. bubbagump

    bubbagump Well-Known Member

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    I've narrowed it down to two places that are worth stopping at. Between those two, I can get Captain Black (gold, white, and royal), Carter Hall, Smokers Pride VC, etc. I've noted (though I don't smoke) Granger, Prince Albert (regular), Sir Walter Raleigh (regular), Kentucky Club, Borkum Riff, etc. One place that looks rather dumpy on the outside even has a nice looking Peterson pipe in a display case.:cfsd:

    There's nothing to rectify...as far as local OTC stock goes, in my opinion. A drop in demand led to a drop in supply. Keep in mind...if it sold well...stores would stock more pipe tobacco. Am I annoyed that I have to drive all over town just to find a basic OTC or mail order it? A bit. However, I understand why that's the case.

    It would make sense (to me) though to just order a bit of everything in small volumes (provided they have the storage space) and just keep it in a back room (or shelf) until someone eventually comes in looking for it. Why? If you have what someone is looking for, they're more likely to come back than if you give them to "we don't have it...but we can order it" line. Just my $.02...

    One place I found (the one with the Peterson pipe I mentioned above) had absolutely terrible space utilization. They could have EASILY stocked another $500+ of product. They had PLENTY of space, but just weren't making the most of it. Having a business background, I would enjoy consulting/giving people pointers on things like that, but I get the impression that many wouldn't appreciate it. You know...the "I've been doing this for 'xx' years and I know what I'm doing" mentality.
     
  5. TWolf

    TWolf Member

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    In my area if you are a fan of Captain Black (especially White) you are all set. I've seen that everywhere. Carter Hall isn't everywhere but now that I know where to look it's easy to find. Everything else is a crapshoot. A smattering of PA or SWR and Borkum Riff here and there. My local supermarket (a small regional store) ironically had pouches of Paladin.

    What has really surprised me in my search is that places like Walmart and Food Lion have a huge selection of dip, chew, and even roll-your-own tobacco but a very small selection of tobacco for pipes. I haven't gone across the line and really explored Pennsylvania yet.
     
  6. bubbagump

    bubbagump Well-Known Member

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    That's the norm in Virginia too. Anywhere that sells cigarettes sells dip, chew, and roll your own stuff. Most do not carry pipe tobacco stuff though.
     
  7. Tate

    Tate Member

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    I had a pretty funny conversation with the customer service people at a Winn-Dixie a while back when I asked if they carried pipe cleaners. They sent me to the "home chemical" isle thinking I meant Drain-o. I then tried to explain to the manager and the woman what I was talking about. It didn't end well.
     
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  8. bubbagump

    bubbagump Well-Known Member

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    Lol. I called around to Rite-Aid's a while back to see what they had in stock. One woman (sounded 40-50) knew EXACTLY what I was talking about with pipes and tobacco. I was a bit surprised by that.:D Most people are just like "we have tobacco" or "we have pipes."
     
  9. Coastal Bend

    Coastal Bend Get off my lawn...

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    :haha:
     
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