AdviceBoozeCoffee ShopsDrugsEat & DrinkSan FranciscoSatire/Humor/ComedyWorkers Rights

Do You Practice Good Weed Store Etiquette?

The Bay's best newsletter for underground events & news

Your friendly neighborhood budtender probably loves their job. Despite the less-than-desirable pay, I enjoy my pot shop gig. We show up for the discount, tips, samples and more, but until the end of the day we’re there to help you. Here’s how you can help us.

Bring Cash

White woman in black leather jacket smiles next to automatic teller machine.

“You know what else ATM stands for?”

No one gives a shit you bought weed in Las Vegas with a credit card. Different state, different rules. Dispensaries in California can’t take credit cards, and if you visit one that does, they’re using some cutty work-around to do it. Since weed is still federally illegal, credit card companies aren’t allowed to work with cannabis clubs. If they do, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which Congress created in the wake of the Great Depression to maintain economic stability, will pull their backing, leaving them financially vulnerable.

Because debit cards trace back to federally insured bank accounts, FDIC-backed banks are subject to the rule as well. It would seem cash is the only option, but the weed industry always has tricks up its sleeves. I knew a shop where you paid three dollars for an innocuous-looking gift card and loaded the value yourself. That card in turn was redeemable for purchases from there and there only.

The debit-processing machines I use now charge a $3 fee and function much like the traditional ATM installed near the front of the shop. A signal travels a phone line to an intermediary server, which relays the message to your bank’s computer. They deduct the total plus fees from your account and approve a withdrawal from the ATM you’re using. That’s why it’ll read as a withdrawal from an “out-of-network ATM” on your next bank statement. If, like mine, your bank charges extra on their end for out-of-network withdrawals, they’ll get you for this one too.

To make matters worse, some financial institutions (Bank of America in particular) will interpret these transactions as fraud and lock your card. I’ve seen too many adults cuss out other adults over the phone for this very reason.

All this you can avoid if you just bring some goddamn cash.

Have An Idea of What You Want Beforehand

Woman with a cart full of vegetables shops for more produce at a grocery store.

“Let’s see: carrots, rhubarb, Cat Piss, Kush Breath, baby formula…”

I spent some time searching my mind for all the reasons not to give you ways to order weed, as it should be common sense by now.

Anyway, here are some ways to order weed.

  • Look online. Starting at 7 AM, my coworkers adjust the menu to reflect current inventory.
  • Consider your plans and how weed might affect them. You may not want to smoke OG Kush on a mid-day hike.
  • Skip the rigmarole: place an order for pick-up or delivery if available.
  • Apply what you liked and disliked about your previous pot purchase to your next one.
  • Determine how you want to consume THC. Are you smoking, vaping, eating, etc.?
  • Measure how much you’re looking for against how much you’d like to spend.

Disclaimers: No Barbara, we can’t dope up your Pomeranian. Few cannabis clubs carry pet-specific CBD products since they’re readily found in head shops and herbal supplement stores. Silence your annoying pet some other way.

Some areas lie well beyond my wheelhouse. For instance, I’ve been asked about therapeutic cannabis treatment for children with autism, a subject about which I have no license to speak. That reasonable question is one for your family practitioner. I’m just a part-time drug dealer with state-level clearance to sell. The only schooling for this job is experience.

So often it comes down to one simple question: why are you smoking? Cannabis offers such a wide variety of effects that it’s practically impossible for us to guess what you need. Edibles? Prerolls? For Firefly to come back? Visit my previous article, What Your Weed Order Says About You, for more.

Don’t Be A Dick

A ceramic tablet that reads, "If you are grouchy, irritable, or just plain mean, there will a ten dollar charge for putting up with you."

Do you like it? I made this from the dust of the teeth I’ve ground down.

Everyone makes mistakes. If we mess up your delivery order, we’ll do whatever we can to rectify that. It does not however grant you the right to treat us like shit. Fuck your little party for a friend from out of town, your weekend off, your deep-vein thrombosis. Have you forgotten that each of us lived through a global traumatic event whose consequences are still unfolding? Until further notice, matters matter.

Speaking of insufferables, what’s with the compulsion to pretend you’re smarter than your budtender? So what you smoked in the seventies. Weed back then looked like a homeless man’s beard and probably contained as much THC. Today’s shit blows your Thai stick out of the bong water. We’re only looking out for you, but do go off.

Also, don’t hold up the line. Never demand a deal. Nothing’s worse (or more entertaining) than an entitled customer. Indeed pot fucks with your short-term memory, but it wasn’t too long ago that scoring weed was a nefarious affair. Back in my day you hoped for mids, wound up with schwag, and smoked it anyway. The market wasn’t pretty either. You worked with what you had. Sometimes your best bet was a clandestine meetup with a friend of a friend in the apartments behind the bowling alley. It’s someone you once took a gym class with, a guy who asks you to match bowls from the sack you just bought/he likely shorted. Be grateful that’s all in the past. Don’t be a dick.

Do Trust Your Budtender

A bushel of hemp leaves next to a clipboard with the words "To-Do List" painted on it. Vials and rolled-up pages torn from books litter the picture.

1) Buy weed. 2) Smoke weed. 3) Figure out what the hell is in these vials…

Most of us got into this industry because at root, we appreciate weed and what’s done for our lives. I entered the business because I follow weed’s ever-changing role in mental health treatments. In no way would I benefit from selling you a product unsuitable for you. To secure the best outcome, your best bet is to be upfront about what you need. You need some good cheap weed? I gotchu. Anxiety relief at less than forty dollars? High-dose edibles that travel well? Wait right here. My best top shelf, indica dominant? Coming right up.

We’re not doctors, but I watch them on TV. That said, please try and give accurate information. The payoff is only as good as your efforts. We’ll do what we can to match your needs with what’s available.

Never Come In Past 9:45 PM

Wooden sign painted to simulate a waving ribbon with text that reads, "Sorry, We Are Closed."

Rolldown gate for our protection, tbqh

I can always tell the difference between someone who just got off work and someone who waited until the last minute to come in. The first enters all apologetic, aware they’re cutting it close. I’m inclined to help them first versus the other kind of customer. Those stroll in like they have all the time in the world (they don’t). The State of California does not allow cannabis sales past ten o’clock at night. The store’s operating system wouldn’t let us process a transaction even if we wanted to.

Look—shit happens. I get that. Sometimes you’re off at nine-thirty and your window of opportunity to re-up is slim. Maybe you’re just new. You likely know what you want, and if the fates are kind, you’re carrying cash. If you make it before ten, you’ll probably be all right. If not you’ll hear, “We open at 8!” but through a locked gate.

Always, Always Tip

Empty tip jar resting in someone's hand.

“Thanks for nothing, asshole! I think I’ll retire early.”

Surprise! This is yet another industry wherein ground-level workers like myself can’t get by on meager wages alone. Until we raise the minimum wage to a realistic rate, every dollar counts. This job gets demanding despite what some may think. Open your hearts, and your wallets. With your coin we wash our clothes in musty basements, take MUNI to work, pump more energy into our tired bodies, then ride the bus home to do it all again the next day. Whether you purchase a zip or “just a preroll” doesn’t matter. It takes hours to sticker hundreds of individual joints that then require counting every morning.

The bottom line is, I don’t care if your budtender stabs you (you probably rolled up right before closing). Always tip. If you’re the customer who always knows what they want, you tip because we’re being expedient for you. What if you’re the one to want a conversation? You tip us for the energy that takes. If you buy cannabis because it dulls your chronic pain, you tip because we do away with the how-are-you’s and cut straight to what your cranky ass needs. Always tip, especially if you want the best buds. I am one petty bitch with an excellent memory for faces. You stiff me, next time, you’re getting stems.

Like this article? Make sure to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a goddamn thing!
Previous post

Club Deluxe is Saved!

Next post

How To Prepare for Burning Man In Twenty-Four Hours

Jake Warren

Jake Warren

A Potawatomi nonfiction writer and Tenderloin resident possessing an Indigenous perspective on sexuality and a fascination with etymological nuance. Queer decolonial leftist, cannabis industry affiliate, seasoned raver, and unofficial earthquake authority.

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *