I recently had a lengthy discussion with a friend of mine, on whether online head shops or physical head shops are a better and safer choice when it comes to buying smoking and vaping products. My friend (we’ll call him ‘Trent’ for the sake of privacy), enjoys visiting local head shops for fun and is always reppin’ their latest glass pipes. Trent would rather drive to the nearest head shop (20 minutes away) versus buying online. (Trent also has never actually bought a glass pipe online before.)
Now don’t get me wrong – this post isn’t meant to try and take business away from the legit quality head shops there are out there! I love local head shops! You guys get to educate the public on healthier, more scientific ways of ingesting herbs! I rep local businesses and small business owners, I just happen to see a few added benefits to buying online, especially when it comes to certain smoking devices. And since Trent has never ACTUALLY purchased a glass pipe online, he was my inspiration for this post! ; ) (Love you ‘Trent’…you know who you are! Haha! This is a shout out to you!)
Now to be fair, I’ll mention the good points Trent brought up in our discussion first before moving on to my added benefits of shopping online.
PHYSICAL HEAD SHOPS
1) You can see and touch the actual piece you’re going to buy
Of course this is the biggest and most obvious benefit, which is why we put it first on the list. “It’s just super impressive to walk-into a head shop or expo booth and see the owners tossing their glass pipes on the ground or around the store – WITHOUT THEM BREAKING – THAT’S how you know it’s quality, hand blown glass! There’s nothing to second-guess, you KNOW you’re gonna get a good piece from them.” – ‘Trent’
I totally agree with that statement, however, if you are cool with doing a little bit more research on brands up front and okay with buying based on photos and product descriptions you can land some spectacular glass online too and sometimes for a way lower price!
2) You Have An Experienced Expert There to Help You
Yes, I will agree that head shop owners know their inventory best (as they should!) however, now with the internet and YouTube, people can learn about smoking, vaporizing, the differences between them and the devices to use for each type, without ever leaving the comforts of home.
3) You Can Find Often Find Awesome Glass Pipes Hand Blown By Locals
This is true. In my opinion, one of the funnest things about visitingany head shop is to see what unique pieces they’re carrying. Many times, the craziest custom, one-of-a-kind heady glass pieces are hand blown or done with handheld torches by local glass workers. However, as the glass art movement continues to grow through the medical movement and Glass Expos, so do head shops – both offline and on. Which is good news for everyone because that means local glass workers are getting more exposure and some even offer their merchandise through online retailers. So that also means that you, like me – can order quality glass pipes online by local glassblowers. : )
4) Local Head Shops May Have More Variety Than Online Head Shops
This one really depends more on the head shop more than anything else. Every head shop is owned by a different person and will operate slightly different based on location. There are some head shops that have a passion for what they do and as a result, they ensure they always carry quality glass pipes and are seen as the best in their local market. For example: Mike’s Smoke Shop & Vapor Bar in Los Angeles, CA. They are obvious leaders in LA with many raving customer reviews on multiple websites and social media networks.
Others, may not be so reliable. For example: Hayk’s Smoke Shop in Los Angeles, doesn’t seem to have much of a presence online (which isn’t a good sign this day in age). If you go to their “website” that’s listed on Google+ hayksmokeshop.com you’ll find you are redirected to a related links page (not an actual website). They only had 2 reviews online. One of them was a 3 star review with no feedback and the other was a 1 star review complaining of their high prices and poorly made pipes. Obviously not the best choice….
I do have to say though – if you ARE going to purchase glass smoking pipes from a local head shop – look up: best head shop + your city in your phone before leaving home.
That way you can read the customer reviews and choose a shop that already has a good amount of good reviews. That way you are more likely to have a pleasant buying experience.
We both had different reasons for which way we each believe is better, but so far I’ve shown that online head shops offer just about everything that local heads shops can. And will the following evidence, I convinced him why online head shops are technically safer than physical head shops…
ONLINE HEAD SHOPS
1) You’re Likely to Pay More in Local Head Shop Than From Online Head Shops
Actually, this is a fact. Yes, scams are everywhere. But the fact is, head shops have overhead costs and have to pay for all their glass pieces up front. Buying thousands of dollars for super-unique heady pieces that someone may or may not isn’t the best business investment for a shop owner. That’s why you’ll always find the basic models at your local head shop, but when you want variety or are on a budget – buy online!
You are much more likely to get conned into paying more at a local head shop than buying smoking products from a reputable dealer online. A few popular ways I’ve seen people get conned are situations like:
A local shop inflates the prices of their pieces and overcharges for the selection they offer.
You pay top dollar for a glass pipe you later find out is poorly made or not original.
I’ve even heard of people getting conned into paying higher prices by greedy shop owners that profiled customers based on if they were a newbie smoker and didn’t know better or if they happened to look really young (discriminatory – yes, but unfortunately it can happen).
*TIP – When shopping at a local head shops that have a website, they know the importance of reputation and will be able to keep you informed of their newest stock!
Try buying a glass pipe from a random head shop down the street (without researching them first) and chances are your piece won’t last even for a month. Also, you are more likely to buy a piece – say like dab rig for example, at an unfair price in a local head shop compared to when you purchase from an online head shop where you can price compare. *Sound like “too much work” for you?
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2) Online Head Shops Offers The Best Product & Price Comparisons
Even if you were shopping at a local head shop with a large variety of quality glass pipes, nothing can compete with the ability to compare products and prices like online shopping does. Currently you have the ability to compare thousands of products on each online head shop. Soon you’ll also have the ability to search the inventory of all the best online head shops without leaving one platform, but that’s for another post.If you know the exact product you’re looking for, the internet can be your best friend to locate the online head shop that offers what you want and which will carry it for the best price.
3) As Long As You Have A PayPal account – You Can Buy a Pipe Online
Online head shops also accept credit cards, debit cards and sometimes crypto-currency like bitcoin. Multiple payment methods give you more flexibility and allow you to have added protection against identity theft or scams when using a credit card. In addition, always ensure that you offer the correct billing address. If you do make the mistake of placing an order of a glass pipe from a head shop without carefully reading their terms and conditions, then there is no reason you should blame all head shops for being unsafe.
4) The Internet Adds A Level of Protection
Although nothing in this matrix can be hidden, shopping online is safer for those who do not want anyone to know about their transactions or want to keep their purchases secret. No one will see you entering an online head shop neither will anyone ever know you are expecting a package. Only you, your internet history and the payment processor will know. This is therefore, the best way even for those who just reached eighteen and are still under their parents’ watch to buy their first piece privately. All you do is search for a head shop online and there you will be, a few minutes and you are done ordering you glass pipe or dab rig. Just be sure to double check that the online head shop you are ordering from, uses discreet shipping methods.
5) *The Winning Statement*
“With the internet you get access to hundreds of thousands of quality glass pipes from all over the world!”
Not only can you buy glass pipes from online head shops, there are also independent glass trading and buying sites like BoroMarket.
When it comes to selection – you can’t beat shopping for glass pipes online!
As more and more people continue to look for safe and reliable ways to buy smoking and vaporizing products online, more and more online head shops are taking your business seriously and making your online shopping experience a top priority. All the online head shops we endorse here on SmokeZum.com deliver quality-made glass pipes (many of which are from the USA) and promises discreet shipping that will get your order shipped right to the place you indicated with complete safety.
Which do you prefer, shopping at your local head shop or online head shops? And why? Let us know in the comment section below!
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Photo Credits (in order)
Photo credit- ehoyer – Foter – Featured Image, TheDabLab.com, quickmeme.com, marijuanapackaging.com, silverspoonpdx.com, everypipe.com, highpriorityglass.com, AquaLabTechnologies.com, dankstop.com