Opinion: Why I Don’t Support Gas Pipe
Today I’d like to talk about Gas Pipe since their name continues to be brought to my attention given how much they’ve been in the media lately.
Now let me preface this by saying that I am not trying to disparage the Gas Pipe or its management, employees, etc. I am merely sharing my opinion which is based on a decade of experience with them.
I have worn a Norml shirt since 2011 but I have been consuming cannabis since 2001. Since that time I have been in many different Gas Pipe stores and every single one (except the big one in Dallas) involved a less than pleasant interaction with a GP employee or manager. To date, the only item I have ever purchased from Gas Pipe is a single pack of pipe cleaners. Why? Because they’ve always had shitty customer service (at least to me) and why would I give you my money if you’re all but insulting me? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked out of a Gas Pipe with a friend that just spent money, shaking my head and cursing them for shopping there.
As an activist fighting for legalization, I’ve had GP employees tell me they “aren’t allowed” to put out Norml flyers because of the pot leaves on them, while a cursory glance around that same shop showed leaves EVERYWHERE. I’ve had GP employees accept our flyers, only to find them in the trash later that day. I’ve had GP employees incorrectly “explain” to me why they could lose their store over these flyers because of the laws here. If that were true, why do other smoke shops do these things for us? Why do other smoke shops honor discounts for DFW NORML members? To my knowledge, DFW Norml has never once received a financial contribution or product donation from Gas Pipe, despite them being the smoke shop everyone thinks of when they think of a Texas smoke shop. I’m also unaware of any discounts currently being offered to our members, though I’m sure this post will undoubtedly trigger the sudden existence of one.
As a frequenter of smoke shops, I’ve been repeatedly unimpressed by Gas Pipe for years and I always wondered why they treated reformers like us so poorly when places like Hempy’s Emporium SMOKE SHOP and Habits SmokeShop have always treated us so well. Then I found out that Gas Pipe was being raided over synthetic marijuana production and it all became clear to me, of course they wouldn’t openly support the people fighting for marijuana law reform when they’re making money hand over fist off of an illegal synthetic marijuana market! Why support a sensible change to the law when it impacts your underground business plan? A massive puzzle piece fell into place for me because of this raid.
It’s no wonder I never felt support from Gas Pipe – in my experience with them they don’t care about our rights as responsible cannabis consumers enough to put out some flyers or to sponsor an event, despite being asked by multiple volunteers (myself included) at multiple different times and locations. But now that they’ve been raided, I’m hearing from volunteers that Gas Pipe now wants to support us all of a sudden with employees wearing our shirts in their shops and possibly even hanging our banners or signs… Oh. Hell. No. To me that is too little too late – not to mention an obvious play for credibility off of our good reputation now that their name is being dragged through the mud along with words like SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA and K2.
I would have loved to work with Gas Pipe. I tried to for years and was always treated poorly so I eventually gave up and found other shops that wanted to be involved with us. For years now we have successfully worked with retail shops around the metroplex and they’ve donated money, products, promotion and all manner of support to our cause to show they are serious about reform. Now all of a sudden Gas Pipe wants support from the very movement they have ignored for decades and we’re supposed to what, forget about the past? The strongest dab hit in the world couldn’t make me forget how Gas Pipe has repeatedly made me feel over the years. As an experienced and educated cannabis consumer that votes with his dollars (as well as his votes), I ONLY shop at stores that openly support the cause and I encourage everyone I meet to do the same.
In closing: Shopping at businesses that don’t give back to the movement does not help the movement. Thanks for reading.
Herb’s the word.
By: Shaun McAlister
Executive Director of DFW NORML
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