A vape shop is quite an interesting place to be sometimes. Over four years of working in a shop, I’ve grown to have quite a relationship with my customers, and appreciate each and every single one of them.
I’ve had customers tell me about their darkest times—handling divorces, depression, substance abuse, deaths and more. I’ve also seen the brightest times in their life—babies being born, a new pet, a new house, marriage and general happiness. The fact that I’ve had the opportunity to help these people through their best and worst times is absolutely incredible.
Working in a vape shop isn’t just grabbing products for people. It’s creating connections and a support system for all ways of life. Let’s talk about some of these experiences.
1. I have a 78 year old woman who comes twice a month for a 15 mL bottle of e-liquid. Her and I have had lots of conversations, one where I was trying to move 1,000 miles away. The next time she saw me at the store, her eyes lit up because I hadn’t left yet. I told her I’ll be here for a few more years, as long as the FDA doesn’t shut us down. She didn’t know what the FDA was trying to do, so I explained the PMTA and she was irate. She doesn’t understand the reason the FDA wants to get rid of her Sweet Strawberry e-liquid.
2. I have an 80 year old Vietnam Veteran who frequents the store once a week. He has become another grandfather to me. He’s given me life advice, he’s shared his stories with me, and calls me his “granddaughter.” He loves coming to the vape shop, seeing what new products we have, what e-liquids we are carrying, and loves to talk with us. He normally purchases a flavor called Papaya Plunge, and he absolutely loves it. He says it’s the only sweet he can have, because of his diabetes.
3. I have a 30 somethin’ year old guy who comes to the store. We special ordered a flavor for him, and he comes in specifically for that flavor. His wife left him a few weeks ago, and he sat down and talked with us for hours about how he was so depressed and worried about his bills. I was able to bring him some hope by giving him the number to text Crisis Text Line.
I have another Veteran who comes to the store. He gets a flavor called Cowboy. He’s been coming to the store for two years now. Three years ago, he had a heart attack at a local restaurant and wanted to quit smoking. His heart health is much better than it was three years ago. He doesn’t have COPD attacks nearly as much, although he still has aggravation when he chases his grandkids around the yard.
4. There’s another late 30’s gentleman that comes to the store who wanted to quit smoking because his wife was pregnant. Now he is smoke-free and has a four month old daughter at home.
5. There’s a guy who comes in who is in the Navy who wanted to quit smoking because he noticed he couldn’t do his physical tests well. He just dropped his nicotine level to zero, and is quitting vaping now.
6. I have a girl who is in her early 20s who wanted to quit smoking because she was spending so much money on cigarettes. She saved her money switching to vaping, and the extra money that she would’ve spent on cigarettes, she put into a savings account. She now runs a small business in our hometown, and is doing wonderful.
7. There is a couple that comes in, both in their early 40s. She is a massage therapist, he’s in the State Police force. They both wanted to quit smoking, and now vape. Every week, they come in and thank me for helping them transition from cigarettes to vaping.
8. Probably one of the most difficult customers I had to handle was a 3 pack a day smoker of Newport 100s. He desperately wanted to quit smoking, but figured he smoked too much to be able to quit. He was hoping to at least drop down how many cigarettes he smoked. He has been smoke-free for 2.5 years.
9. I have a woman who works for a healthcare system in our area, and she wanted to quit smoking. She knows the dangers of smoking cigarettes as she is a respiratory therapist, and felt that she had been contradicting her education and work by smoking. She switched to vaping, and now refers all of her smoking patients to the vape shop to help them quit smoking too.
This is just a small scope of individuals that I have the pleasure to talk with in the vape shop. We aren’t just employees, we are friends, we are therapists, we are listeners, and we are there for our customers. I’m personally thankful for the other walks of life that I’ve had, including being a Crisis Counselor for Crisis Text Line. I’ve been able to use the skills from that to help my customers through some of their most difficult times.
We aren’t just a vape shop. We are a support system. We are friends. We are family.
From my family to yours, happy holidays!