Bud Tender's Corner Working with Tourists

Bud Tender Danie Hartman

Bud Tender Danie Hartman

Bud Tender Danie Hartman at Grower's Outlet

     Being a budtender in a small town along Highway 101 on the Washington Coast, I have become pretty close to my local customers. Regulars make my job easy and sometimes put me in a complacent frame of mind.
     Luckily, the cure for this comes in the summer and fall months in the form of tourists. Winter is a pretty wet and dreary place.  Bring a little sunshine into the picture and we have people from all over the world passing through.
     For me, tourist season is a breath of fresh air. When recommending cannabis products there are so many preferences, tolerances and needs that I end up with a whole plethora of new information and I absolutely love it. My complacency is replaced by an obligation to figure out what is going to satisfy, help and heal these strangers and how I can leave them with a lasting, positiveimpression.
     One fundamental aspect in working with tourists is gaining an understanding of the person’s familiarity and exposure to the products.  The issue with that is there are so many details that contribute to a person’s preference that giving a blind recommendation could potentially ruin this awesome experience for my customer.
     I need to get to know them even if I only have 10 minutes to do so.  I make sure I figure out their tolerance levels, their average consumption and how they prefer to consume before I make a recommendation.  For many tourists this is a novelty.  They have never seen this kind of openness unless they are from states with recreational cannabis laws or have visited Holland.  Therefore, it is important to stress safety and important legalities.  30 mg of edible eaten all at once by someone with limited exposure to the products will be more than the person has bargained for.  This could be a recipe for disaster.
     Now I am not saying there is a right or wrong way to handle these kind of customers. If the way you interact with your customer works for you, then of course keep it, but be aware of the person you are working with to ensure they have an enjoyable and safe experience.
     For me,  working in retail, it’s 30% customer service 60% knowledge and 10% smiles. It’s going to be different from shop to shop. I recommend routinely asking questions about tolerance and familiarity of how to consume and the laws in your local regarding possession and consumption.   
     Sometimes a tourist may feel uneasy with with not knowing and reply in the affirmative with confidence.  If you sense this, try to give a brief overview anyway.  They will appreciate this; especially a spouse or partner whose significant other may be over confident.  Again, 30 mg edible and a half a bottle of wine will take someone out fast.  Not the best or safest way to enjoy a vacation.

     Just from following these simple steps,  it is crazy how much you can learn about a person in a matter of minutes just by breaking the ice, showing interest and concern in what they know and would like. There are so many varieties of products with different strengths and effects that it isimportant to narrow it down. We want the experience to be a happy, safe, legal and exciting one, not overwhelming or stressful.
     Overall, I believe humility and gratitude go a long way being a bud tender.. No matter how much I think I know there is always room for growth. Tourists may be a great source of income for small towns and big towns alike, but they are also a great source of knowledge whether it be directly or indirectly. I look forward to the tourist season because I know that not only am I expanding my knowledge but I’m also interacting with people from different areas in the world from different walks of life looking to experience the fun of purchasing legal cannabis..
     I am sharing in their awesome experience and their wisdom. There is nothing better than getting a phone call or a review from a person thanking me for helping them pick out just the right product.  I thank all my customers, local or those just passing through for motivating me to expand my knowledge and socialgraces.  As a bud tender, you can too!