Readers have often asked how to unplug a clogged cigar. I know from experience that no amount of poking, squeezing, or picking will make a plugged cigar fun to smoke. My advice has always been to simply exchange the stick for another. It’s rare that an entire line of cigars will be plugged and it’s pretty safe to exchange one for the same make and model.
To a good cigar vendor, this is not an issue. Those who sell cigars are competing for customers and understand that good service is key to customer loyalty. All of us have experienced the disappointment that comes with buying a plugged cigar, and although that experience is rare, it is unavoidable in such a hand made product. So my suggestion to remedy a plugged cigar is to first call the vendor and let them know what’s up, and then make arrangements for the exchange. If the cigar seller is not accommodating then he does not deserve your patronage.
The same is true for cigar box purchases. If we don’t like the cigars… we can send them back! Any good cigar vendor will exchange a disappointing box of cigars, provided it is mostly full and in like-new condition. No one will exchange a half smoked box of cigars.
In terms of getting good service, vendor loyalty goes both ways. The more business we do with a vendor, the more accommodations we will get in return. In general, the cigar business is built on personal relationships and it’s a relatively small community. The good cigar sellers are smokers themselves and can relate to the inevitable problems inherent in the rolling of cigars. Plus, they know that with every cigar or box they exchange, they are building customer loyalty that will lead to future sales.
So, in the end, there is no need to angst about disappointing cigars. Like Donna Summer said, we “work hard for [our] money”, and cigar vendors know they “better treat [us] right”. And they will.