Confession of a Boulder Budtender
This week I was criticized by a reader for not offering a true “confession” like the title of this blog suggests. Alright I have a reader! The thing is though, there is not much to expose about being a budtender. There are no secrets that need uncovering, no whistleblowing that needs doing, and no oppressive leader that needs toppling. I am not an investigative journalist up here to call out the weed industry for their abuses of power, I am just a dude who works in a weed shop. “Breaking News! Nobody likes strains that are low in THC, more on this story next week”. I like to make fun of customers and complain about issues that anyone in a prohibition state would gladly deal with if it meant they could have legal cannabis. Each week I wanted to give you stories from the other side of the weed counter. It would not be a hard-hitting exposé on weed, but rather an exposé on how to hit that weed hard. It has been my intention to offer light-hearted tales from within the weediverse, jokes about funny customers, and information to make your visit to the dispensary an enjoyable one. I want to be the straight guy entertaining you with the goofy people and their antics I see every day, like the movie Clerks, but instead of a convenient store, it is my Quick Stop weed shop. You, the reader, will be the Randall to my Dante, or to a lesser extent the Silent Bob to my Jay. I ramble on about daily musings and annoyances and you follow along. My reader’s criticism was valid though and as time goes on I must dig a little deeper than just movie suggestions, edible reviews, or discussing what is sticking in my craw this week. By the way, how great would it be if Clerks III were set in a weed shop? Perfect setting.
Ya know, I confess that sometimes my job sucks, because sometimes patients die. Death is an unavoidable part of life, but it is not like budtenders are trained health care workers, I am just some dude who moved here to ski and hang with my brother. Cannabis culture is huge and when you spend your days looking at the sexy new packaging that Incredibles is doing for their gummies, the hyped-up interviews with cannabis celebrities, or the impressive things infused product manufacturers are doing to purify concentrates you get caught up in it. It is easy for me to forget that many people are using cannabis to survive, and as a budtender, you can get to know the patients really well. When they come to pick up their medicine you kinda end up hanging with them for a bit. They tell you stories about their lives and their illness and you get to know them. I like to see this as an opportunity to hear cool stories from old timers so I tend to get involved. Additionally, picking out weed with a patient can be a very personal meeting because you are discussing intimate topics that can deal with feelings or emotions. Essentially, this is not a quick meeting and may take up to an hour sometimes. You want these people to know you are listening and not just there to make a quick buck off their illness. Then, when it comes to pain relief, occasionally you must hear the nitty gritty details that these folks are having to deal with. It only makes sense that one begins to empathize. You make a connection with people you would never encounter elsewhere and it can be hard to see them go. One guy that will always stick with me was Bruce. Bruce was a really nice guy, and he made me smile every time he popped in. I saw him the day he died and we chatted about the upcoming holiday weekend, it happened to be close to April twentieth. Such a gentleman he was, I miss seeing Bruce around. A few months after he passed away another patient, a sweet little lady named Kathy, who had been struggling with cancer for years finally lost her battle. Strange thing is she never mentioned it and it was not noticeable. Kathy and I spoke about music mostly and she gave me the impression that she was just some cool old broad. One who was down for rolling some j’s and playing her Elvis records.
I also confess that I have never told my bosses how much I appreciate the opportunity they gave me to manage their dispensary. I guess I have not said anything because I have worked there for years and at this point, it feels a little weird to come up and say thank you out of the blue. The job of budtender was a natural progression from being a bartender/waiter for me, and at the time I was only looking at it like it was another job, not a career. In reality, though, it is a pretty fortunate job to have in your late twenties. It has allowed me to live in a ski town and have a fun life. It has even given me this current opportunity to evolve into weed blogging. Que divertido! Recently, I got to a point where I felt like I was ready to do something more so I asked for a promotion, and I was denied. The business has been promoting folks around me for years while offering me no advancement. Hadn’t I put in my time as well? Although I love my job and the people I work for, lately they make choices that disappoint me. I have been passed over a few times now, am I destined to only be the budtender? Sometimes, I fear that I will have spent these years of my life working for a company that does not appreciate me like I appreciate them. Is that a common feeling most people have when they think about their jobs? I am the oldest employee they have, I am family, and it feels like they are pushing me away. I feel like they hired me when they needed a trustworthy employee and lately, with their success, they appeared to have forgotten I even work there. I like what I do though. Nowhere else will this dispensary find a more loyal or more knowledgeable employee. Like I said I am family. Did I tell you my older brother is the owner? Yeah, that stings a little more now. It can be a painful one when your brother will not stick up for you, especially when it is his company. That sort of thing indicates how he really thinks about me. Maybe I should consider that a little more. I always wanted to be like my older brother. Maybe I should not have made fun of him for wearing that head gear when we were little. I will save that for a different confession though.
So there ya have it. There is a confession, an assertion, my declaration for the week. That was a tough one to write so next week I am going to lighten things back up a little. How about this for a topic: what is the best bong to pair with the best weed? Or, how about: does legally having to black out windows in a weed shop do anything other than piss budtenders off? I am also considering: The nuisance of childproof packaging, and why children are the only ones who can open it. Just kidding.
I understand that every job has its negatives, historically they are not supposed to be fun places to spend the day. My job is though. If my dispensary is unable to appreciate me then I suppose it is their loss. And people die, luckily for me I had a chance to meet them. When I was little, my brother once told me that the most important thing in life is the people we meet. Having this job has helped me to realize that even more, even if most of them are goofballs, and even if that promotion never comes.
Cannabis products are designed for adults 21 and older. Please consume responsibly.