Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Years ago I would head into a tobacconist around the corner from my office before lunch to purchase a tin of cigarillos and, often, one or several tins of pipe tobacco. Every week, two or three times. It used to be fun stepping into the neighborhood tobacconist, where they knew you and were familiar with your goes without saying excellent taste.

That is a very old-school concept. The last real tobacco store in San Francisco was Grant's on Market Street, between Montgomery and Sansome, where a Starbucks is now, no less than one minute walking distance from several other places where espresso drinks may be had.
You need never go without caffeine in the Financial District.
Smoking, you must do that at the nearest curb.
Or beyond, if the security guard yells.
Shield the snowflakes.

But to continue. Grant's disappeared in September of 2012. What may have happened is that one temper tantrum too many got them evicted, as they had been operating without a lease for seven years at that point, and the beauty academicians three floors above had on a daily basis complained about the awful smell.

They had ceased to be a worthwhile destination a few years before.
Which I wrote about then.
Here are some of the comments underneath that post.

Blogger el Greco said…

As one of the frequent customers/smokers, it was not only the change in store policy, it was the extremely rude way many of us were treated at the time. Ranting and raving at customers who were spending their money with you? Who needs it?

Anonymous Not S. Peabody! said…

Extremely rude? More like insane. There’s dysfunctionality, and then there’s DYSFUNCTIONALITY. Picking fights with people who spend money in your business is not normal behavior. Unless you are an alcoholic bar owner, of course. Then it might be both standard, and routinely ignored.

Anonymous Anonymous said…

He isn’t exactly dysfunctional. He just works out his dating frustrations on customers. If some girl told him he was balding, everyone else has to pay.

Anonymous Some other anonymous said…

Oh come on, Anonymous, that’s just mean! And we’ve seen enough domestic quarrels between the two of them there that we KNOW it isn’t true.

Anonymous Anonymous, again said…

Slap me, bitch.

Anonymous Anonymous said…

Well, that tobacconist is out of business now.
Just an empty store front on Market Street.

Anonymous Ranting Joe Bee said…

Well, that's what happens when you work at not making friends AND don't have an actual lease. Just month to month lets the landlord kick you out at will.

Sad, as they had been in that location for half a century, and the store had originally been founded shortly after the goldrush.

I wonder what Ted is doing now?

Anonymous Gone Fishing, Fuck'm said…

I for one don't miss Ted and Joe in the slightest. Their selection was always mediocre at best, and between grim North England incommunicabilty and that bad tempered pissant quarrelsomeness from a runty second-rate weasely Texan carpetbagger, I only went in their once a month. When it rained.

Even when old man Grant ran it is was distant, off-putting, and snooty. And so much more so when Joe took over as the loud-mouth in charge. It was, in all ways, a piss-poor excuse for a tobacconist. No loss. At all.

Anonymous Anonymous said…

Joe was almost always rude, arrogant, and flip. He managed to turn what should have been happy shopping into a grating and ignoble experience. I almost miss the place.

At Telfords in Marin they are at least glad to see me. A much better experience by far. Better choices, too.

Blogger The back of the hill said…

"grim North England incommunicabilty"

Oh come now! Ted was a very decent sort, just a bit dry.

And if he was ever grim, it was because he had to put up with an awful lot.

Normally he had a rather delightful sense of humour.


You know, I actually miss the potato-shaped security guard who used to go there. One day he was excited to have won the Irish sweepstakes, or the Grand Euro Rotterdam Lottery. Whatever it was. He showed everybody the e-mail telling him of his winnings.

Shortly after that he left town.

I think Joe ("a runty second-rate weasely Texan carpetbagger") went back to Texas. Where he's probably habitually plastic-wrapping everything in his apartment. No idea what happened to Ted.

El Greco and Not Sherman Peabody are still around. They are perfectly happy not shopping there anymore. I have no idea who the other commenters are. Except for one of them.

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