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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Matt Dillon, Spring 96

(continued from page 4)

My administration is seeking a peaceful transition to freedom and democracy in Cuba. To accomplish this, we are enforcing a comprehensive economic embargo that presses the Cuban regime to end human rights abuses and adopt democratic reforms. We are also reaching out to the Cuban people through private, licensed humanitarian assistance as well as an increased flow of information. We would welcome an indication that the regime in Havana is prepared to take credible steps toward democratic reform and respect for human rights.

I appreciate knowing your thoughts on these important issues.

Bill Clinton
President of the United States

* * *

Dear Marvin,

Newly ordained cigar smokers need the service found at America's century-old cigar stores (Cigar Aficionado, Autumn 1995). Their original owners must have understood that teaching cigar smoking's refined rituals and rubrics to new smokers would cost them a cigar or two. New stores are opening daily. Do dealers expect to enrich our experience, earn our business and tolerate our inadequacies? Or will they show a snobbery guaranteed to keep their sales on a level much lower than their egos?

I believe this personal incident will encourage new smokers and admonish misguided dealers. I'll call my story "The Cigar Aficionado and the Arrogant Tobacconist--A Cautionary Tale."

I'm relatively new to cigar smoking, and I'm trying to find a very mild but flavorful cigar to enjoy on occasion. Every couple of months, I search for a new tobacconist who might be able to recommend a brand that will become my favorite smoke. The discovery process has been slow, because my wife hates the smells cigar smokers dare to call aromas. Last Thursday, I purchased two Churchills from the aforementioned dealer. While trying one, I noticed that the cigar's wrapper had begun to unravel. With the cigar still burning, I returned to the shop to show the owner. "Can you tell me what's happening to my cigar?" I asked. My disappointment in his product must have been evident. To answer me, he arrogantly picked up a nearby pen to demonstrate the rolling or banging or general mishandling of which I was undoubtedly guilty.

He went on to show off his product knowledge by romancing the cigar's very delicate outer layer, disturbed by (my) indelicate handling. I was truly impressed with his insight into the possible reasons for the problem I had experienced, and equally aware that he had absolutely no empathy for my frustration. After coldly delivering his polished response, he advised me with thinly veiled mockery to "throw that cigar away before it burns a hole in your suit."

I was a little embarrassed as I left, and I knew I would not do business with him again. Once back in my car, a valuable lesson occurred to me. He need not have replaced my cigar at no charge to satisfy my complaint, although that would surely have been the response of someone genuinely interested in my business. Had his professional explanation been given with concern over my misfortune, I would probably have seen the comedy of my errors. More important, I would then have simply bought another cigar on which to prove my newfound ability to handle it with the care and grace good cigars deserve.

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