Where Do You Buy Your Vapes? Gas Stations vs Vape Stores
Do you ever think about where your vapes come from? In Ontario, Canada, you can find vapes at specialty vape stores, online, gas stations and some corner stores. Yeah, thats convienant! But really, have you ever thought about what locations are better than others? I'm going to tell you that there is a difference.
Do Gas Stations Sell Vapes?
We all have a story about when we got ripped off buying vapes. That story often involves us at an awkward time or in a city or town passing through when we were caught unprepared or saw a fantastic deal online. It's not that we mean to not go to the place we love or are most familiar with. Sometimes, we find ourselves having to choose to buy something vs nothing when faced with a craving.
For me, it was just last week. My friends and I were driving back from our weekend adventures, and it was cold and dark, and the disposables I packed were running low. We pulled over to get gas at this lonely gas station out in the middle of nowhere, and low and behold, this gas station had one of those "rooms" set up. I asked the guy, "Do you have Elf Bars?" he hastily showed me 3 Elf Bars BC5000s on the wall.
"You have the BC10Ks?" I asked.
"This is what I have, $35 each," he said.
Please help me. I should have gotten back in the car when I heard the prices, but I knew we had a few hours left before I would get home, and there was no way I could make it to the next day. So I bought one, got out, and drove off.
The Disappointment of Buying Expired or Counterfeit Vapes
I don't even think it was a real Elf Bar. The box looked okay; it had the stamp and everything, but the vape looked off, and the colouring looked different. I took a haul, and instead of feeling happy, I instantly felt depressed. I didn't feel that hit. I tasted minimal flavour. Elf Bars usually always perk me up, leaving me sad. Then I inspected the box and saw that this Elf Bar had expired in 2022...
No one enjoys being ripped off, but sadly, many people experience this feeling when buying vapes. Sometimes, it happens: you get a defective disposable vape, or the vape juice has expired, or worse of all, you purchased a lousy knock-off from some unknowing merchant who knows next to nothing about vaping. It sucks, right?
Is Buying Vapes From A Gas Station Safe?
Firstly, I wouldn't say I like the idea of making vapes super accessible to everyone because vaping isn't something for everyone. When I was a kid, it was far too easy to buy cigarettes because cigarettes were EVERYWHERE (even in grocery stores). I saw over the years how people fought to restrict the accessibility of cigarettes to protect minors. It seemed like a bring-down when I was younger, but when I got older, I saw that, yeah, it was far too easy to get cigarettes because all you needed to do was to keep trying, and eventually, you'd find a store that would sell them to you.
Often, you'd find the one employee at these places who doesn't care, won't check, or is too busy with something else to check IDs properly and will sell them to you. We all want kids to stop smoking or vaping and keep nicotine products out of stores that sell other items. Yes, making it harder for underage kids to buy nicotine is a good thing. It's all too easy for kids to start vaping when they can find a way to buy them.
Secondly, can you trust that gas station to know about vaping? Vaping isn't like smoking, and those vapes have expiry dates (so do cigarettes, I know!). Are you betting that the employee at the gas station is checking them? From my most recent gas store purchase, I know it's not their priority. Promise me, check the dates before you buy the next time you are in that situation. If you see one or two vapes off the wall that say "Expires 2021," then leave.
You should be safe to vape up to two years after the expiry, but from my perspective, I like to stay within that year of freshness. Nicotine will lose its potency over time, and if you have ever had the displeasure of vaping something over two years old, you'll agree. Vaping juice two years past the expiry date doesn't make you "hardcore." It's silly and a waste of your good money.
Thirdly, it's not the employees' fault at many of these gas stations or corner stores. They get reps who sell them products and jump on it to serve their customers. So if a rep comes in and needs to unload a bunch of fake vapes from 2021, yeah, they are going to prey on the unknowing and uneducated, and sadly, gas stations and corner stores are the worst victims of these scams because they don't know and often don't care. They sell products, do the bare minimum due diligence, and send you on your way.
Why You Should Buy From Vape Stores
Vape stores offer way more than just vapes. Since vape stores only sell vape products, there's an excellent chance that the people who work in vape stores know a thing or two about the products they carry and how to use them. So, if you are quitting smoking or looking to find out more information about vaping, heading to a local vape store is your best bet for knowledge.
What is the Value Between Gas Stations and Vape Stores
Another good reason you should buy vapes at vape stores is the price and quality. Since a vape store's only focus is the vape products they buy, their prices will be reasonably priced to reflect what the current market is, and they will most likely do checks and standards when it comes to the products they buy. Since the focus of a vape store is the vapes, there is a high chance that a vape store will carry a vast selection of flavours, devices, juices, and everything related to vaping.
Why a Vape Store is Better Than The Gas Station
The best thing about vape stores is that they are vape stores. Good vape stores cater to their clientele and don't need to sell to kids. Selling to minors is an excellent way to get a vape store closed, so checking IDs and enforcing the law is a pinnacle for most vape stores. Trust me, vapers don't want to see kids vaping, and a vape store is the first frontline to stopping children from accessing vapes.
It's more than just safety or upholding good practices. Vape Stores are always bringing in the latest and newest products. I don't want to see Elf Bar BC5000 from 2022- I want those new, exciting Elf Bar BC10Ks. I want those new Breeze vapes. I like that new mod or pod system with the coils to keep up with my hobby. When I go into a gas station, I feel forced into the mercy of that selection, and usually, that selection isn't great.
Vape Stores Offer The Best Value
However, the main reason why I like vape stores is because I know that person behind the counter vapes and probably has a wealth of information for me. "Ann, have you tried the new flavour combos of the Flavour Beasts?" or "Ann, I can see you bought those replacement coils for your Luxe XD, but they are at a very low wattage for that device. I'd suggest you try the 1.2's and see how that treats ya," or even "Hey Ann, if you buy three packages of STLTH pods, you'll save $5 because we have a deal with STLTH" and thats why I keep coming back. At VapeMeet, we also offer a loyalty program, so as I keep buying vapes, I can use those loyalty points towards savings or deals, and you're not going to get that at the corner shop.
I could even tell you stories of how many people I helped make the switch from smoking to vaping when I worked the sales floor at VapeMeet. Often, many people would come in or message online about how confused they needed clarification about the transition. With just a few answers, I could see people feel more confident about finally ditching cigarettes. I connected well with those customers, and hearing their success stories was great. I took pride in helping people make better choices about their health, and I loved those connections with my customers.
Are Gas Stations Redeemable for Buying Vapes?
Sure, but buyer beware. It's like buying fresh chicken from the dollar store. Sure, you can, but just because you can, should you? My advice is to know where you are, check the labels, ask questions when buying your vapes and don't feel pressured by time or convenience. If you want to avoid any of the common problems facing vaping today, you can help yourself out and start a healthy relationship with your local vape store. You will begin to see a better return on your vaping when you change how you buy your vapes.
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