I’ve worked in the Cannabis industry for about a year now and realized this past weekend that I have never visited a cannabis dispensary. An industry that I have researched relentlessly and feel that I am well versed in, but never have I purchased any cannabis products on my own. That was about to change.
On a sunny yet chilly Saturday afternoon, I was sitting on my patio writing an article for work about the “Budtender” experience and their point of view of working on the frontlines of the cannabis industry. I had gotten much of my information from the research and directly from a Budtender of a large cannabis dispensary. Something she said had really stuck with me, “treat every customer like it’s their first time.” I avoided going into dispensaries because I was nervous about my lack of knowledge of each product’s specifics and didn’t want to look like an amateur. At that point, I basically jumped out of my chair, got into my car and drove to a nearby dispensary. I had to experience this for myself; what was I terrified of?
I walked in and thought, “wow, it’s really charming in here,” it looked like a high-end store with a sleek, modern design and product displays arranged beautifully. Right away, I felt a bit more at ease, eliminating the stigma that I had clearly held on to about what the inside of this establishment would look like, a stigma I never knew I had. I was instantly greeted by all three of the staff and was asked if I needed help. So far, so good.
I did a walkthrough on my own first reading the different labels in the product showcases and familiarizing myself with how the store was laid out. Finally, I mustered up the courage to ask for help. I told the budtender that this was my first time shopping in a cannabis dispensary, and to my relief, she was not only extremely friendly but was excited to help me with my first purchase. She then asked me questions; I was already familiar with the questions, having just written an article on the budtender. I was very impressed when she asked ALL of the questions, which included:
- “What brought you to our store?”
- “What type of product are you looking for (flower, edibles, oils, pre-rolls etc.)?”
- “Do you have any specific purposes for consumption/usage (i.e. looking for THC, CBD, or a mix of both)?”
- “Do you have any medical conditions you are attempting to remedy or just want to let me know about?”
- “Is there anything else you’d like to tell me to find you the best product?”
Closing out my Cannabis Dispensary experience at the cash register, I asked the budtender if she helps many first-timers. She said due to the legalization of recreational use and the societal stigma slowly being lifted, 25% of her customers are new to the cannabis/dispensary experience. It was comforting to know that. She went on to say that she had never thought she’d be working in cannabis and had been employed at retail clothing stores most of her career. Still, she had always had a passion for agriculture and decided it was a good fit due to her love of plants and customer service experience.
My experience just reinforced how diverse the cannabis industry is. It has opened up jobs, erased the stigma, and has become a reliable business industry. It brings individuals from all walks of life together to transition to cannabis-related careers bringing past experiences from various roles. It was also a lesson for me to face my fears and realize that there’s no reason to feel ashamed being a first-time patron and needing extra assistance. That’s what great customer service is, after all. A good budtender will guide you through the journey and help you find what you came in for, just like if you were shopping for a jacket or shoes.
The verdict: it was a lovely encounter. I would definitely revisit that dispensary and recommend my budtender to walk any customer through their first dispensary journey. My takeaway is always to face your fears and don’t let feeling less-educated about a topic stop you from learning more about it!
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