Carrying on from the horrific vape experiences I shared yesterday, I have another little horror story that I wasn’t really sure whether or not to share. Maybe I’m being a bit ‘snowflakey’ in this one? Perhaps I’m a bit oversensitive? You know what I’m like … I do like to overreact a bit. But this story? Well, it happened. And it’s Halloween. So, I’m tellin’ it.
I’ve seen a quote and I think it’s very apt for right now:
If you wanted me to write more warmly about you, maybe you should have treated me better?
That Time I Went into A Vape Cafe
Three years ago, I went into a local vape cafe with a new-ish boyfriend. It was my first time in a vape cafe, and also my last. I haven’t been to one since.
We walked into the cloud-filled shop/cafe and over to the bar where we waited to be served. It was quite a busy evening, big groups of loud vape friends having coffee and making clouds. It took a while for our order to be taken, mostly because the chap behind the bar was having chats with the bigger groups and not really acknowledging me. I pretended it was because the room was cloudy and I’m short, but I almost felt invisible. And that made me feel like I didn’t have a right to be in there. Stupid, right? That’s what anxiety does to ya … It’s a real killer. I openly admit to being a bit “snowflakey” at times, but my then-boyfriend also felt uncomfortable and unacknowledged, so I knew it wasn’t snowflake syndrome that time.
Anyway, I stood at the bar, standing on my tip-toes, and the guy finally came around to serve me. I ordered my couple of coffees, paid for them, and sent my then-boyfriend to sit at an empty table with the tray so I could quickly chat with the server guy.
“Hey, sorry, I know you’re busy, but have you got a flyer or something for this place? I’m a vape reviewer — I have a website — and I’d love to mention the cafe in my next blog post!”
The guy eye-rolled me. Not a single word. Just an eye-roll.
The guy serving me actually eye-rolled at me.
Right, okay, I know everyone and their Granny is calling themselves a “vape reviewer” these days (or even three years ago), but I didn’t ask for bloody freebies. I’d PAID for my coffee already. I wholeheartedly planned to purchase a couple of bottles from the row of eliquids I’d spotted, purse in my hand. I just wanted a flyer, a business card, something. A little more information. A Facebook page? Anything?
He didn’t say anything to me. Not a word. At all. He walked away, over to the bigger groups of vapers, where he loudly proclaimed:
“I can’t wait to get out of here and get to bed.”
And his vape friends laughed and nodded along.
Not sure quite what to do, I sat down, embarrassed and probably beetroot red, and buried my face in my cup of coffee.
“What was all that about?”
The BF asked.
I just shrugged. If I’m honest, I was a little worried I’d cry if I opened my mouth, and that woulda been hella embarrassing. I’d already been humiliated by this vape-server-guy in front of his friends and around 15/20 other vapers, and also in front of my new-ish boyfriend. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me right up. I probably should have just ripped the guy a new one. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Even more embarrassingly, my then-boyfriend stated: “Maybe it’s because you’re a girl?”
(That’s one reason why we’re no longer dating.)
I spent about half an hour in the cafe after that, waiting for the server’s vape friends to clear a space at the bar so that I could go over and try the range of juices they had testers of, but they were firmly planted. They didn’t even look at me. For a while, I hovered around. I even tried to order another coffee, but I think I might have had my invisibility cloak on that day. The server-chap didn’t even acknowledge me standing there.
“This is awkward, shall we go somewhere else?”
My boyfriend asked after a little while.
And we did.
I don’t know what that server-guy’s problem was, but he sure as s**t made me feel like s**t. Maybe it was because I was just another “vape reviewer”? Perhaps it was because I was a girl? It might have just been because he was having a bad day? Either way, I wouldn’t want to be a new vaper walking into that environment. It was intimidating, uncomfortable, and downright hostile. Those are three things you don’t want when you’re trying to quit smoking.
Sadly, I’ve heard a few new vapers/cig-quitters say similar things about vape shops and cafes local to them, too.
- “All the vapers were sat together and I didn’t want to ask stupid questions within earshot. It’s not exactly a friendly environment, is it?”
- “I thought about going in, but it looked like there was a dress code and I wasn’t wearing it!”
- “The music was REALLY loud when I walked past.”
- “I’d be too worried about coughing my guts up in there.”
The incident really bugged me, and hearing those things from other vapers — new vapers — also really bugged, and still bugs me. At the time, I’d planned to go into different vape stores and cafes that were local to me and write about them for my website. I wanted to take my camera along and get some photos of the place, maybe even get some information on events or special nights. As first vape cafe experiences go, it wasn’t the greatest. It was super disappointing when I simply wanted to learn a bit more.
I tried to email the cafe because I was damn angry by the time I got home, but the emails kept failing. So, I hunted around for a Facebook page and sent that a message instead. God HELP you if you scorn a woman. She’s gonna go full-FBI, 1,000-word angry email on you. This woman definitely will.
I *WAS* sent an apology plus an invitation to go back and learn more, but I moved away from the area and have actively avoided vape cafes since. Shocking, right? Yes, the guy made me feel THAT awkward. And he made my then-boyfriend feel awkward too. ALL of those vapers did. Not one of them was helpful. None of them wanted to help or advise. None of them were even interested in the purchasing questions we had. Not even the guy behind the bar wanted to help, even if it meant he’d get a sale out of it. And my BF at that time WAS looking to buy, as was I.
We all need to be a lot nicer to each other.
I’ve decided NOT to name the vape cafe I’m talking about here. And I won’t. Three years later, it seems a bit mean to bash a place on my website based on that one experience, with that one guy. Plus, I never did go back and reevaluate. Maybe I should?
Have YOU ever found yourself in a similar situation? I’m not asking you to name n’ shame (I’d actually prefer it if you didn’t), but I’d love to hear about ALL vape cafe experiences, good and bad. Maybe you can help to change my mind on them? Tell me your stories!