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5 Traits to Look for in a Quality, Modern-Day Head Shop

This article is sponsored by Smoke Cartel, an online retailer and head shop made up of a close-knit team of glass lovers dedicated to making sure you get the best possible smoking gear.


As the cannabis industry continues to evolve and mature, so too are head shops, or places that sell glass brands, water pipes, and other accessories that are useful to cannabis consumers.

What is a Head Shop?

The stereotypical perception of a head shop is a hazy, dimly-lit, dark-colored storefront on the wrong side of town with bars over its windows, green neon signs, and complicated-looking products. Nowadays, however, your visit to a quality, modern-day head shop shouldn’t be scary or intimidating; instead, you should feel comfortable and welcome as employees help educate you on the products you’re interested in purchasing.

If you’re a new or inexperienced cannabis consumer and wanted to visit a head shop to check out the products and accessories available, here are five traits to look for so that you can single out the top establishments in your area and avoid the ones that aren’t evolving with the times.

what to look for in a head shop: knowledgeable employees

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned veteran, a good head shop will cater to your needs regardless of your level of knowledge. You should never be made to feel uncomfortable about any lack of knowledge — employees should be well-versed in the products and their various uses. They’ll be patient and friendly towards inexperienced customers who have more basic questions, and they can easily transition to talking about percolators, splash guards, and the latest color trends with more informed patrons.

Be wary of stores that disseminate false advice in a blatant attempt to sell more products. An example of this shady tactic is telling customers that a piece of glass was “triple blown” as a term of thickness, when this is not actually a glass-blowing technique.

what to look for in a head shop: a drive to always stay the best

Good head shop employees know their jargon and understand common head shop terms like bubbler, dab rig, nectar collector, vaporizer, etc. They also keep up on the latest trends so they’re not caught off-guard when a customer comes in and drops a term they haven’t heard of or don’t know much about.

Watch out for employees who won’t directly answer your questions or shrug off your concerns — you should leave your local head shop feeling confident and proud with your purchase. Remember, if you are at a shop that is less than satisfactory, do not feel stuck! There are plenty of top establishments waiting to serve your needs.

what to look for in a head shop: transparency

This industry is no longer in the Dark Ages, so there’s no reason to maintain a high level of secrecy any more. A good head shop is an honest, legitimate business just like any other specialty store. Shops should be open and honest about where they’re based, where they’re purchasing wares, and how they’re improving the industry. If that information isn’t easily accessible, it shouldn’t feel like pulling teeth to get a response.

If you’re at a reputable store, shop employees should be able to make the best recommendation based on the customer’s individual needs and can advise against a particular glass brand or product if it’s a low-quality item or it doesn’t align with the customer’s lifestyle. Head shop employees should have extensive product knowledge and be able to recommend the best product for the consumer regardless of the price or what they would like to push.

what to look for in a head shop: diverse selection of quality products

A good head shop has a big selection of quality glass, vapes, and cannabis accessories. It should stock the current brands, artists, and styles that are trendy, as well as the classics that everyone has come to expect. Having the right product mix and specialty products available will give head shop patrons the most complete and personalized shopping experience.

Most new-age head shops will have a great deal of knowledge about the current glass trends, as well as plenty of knowledge about age-old favorites. Be sure to check around and see that your favorite shop is price-matching well-known brands and industry favorites — any reputable store will price-match branded items from competitors.

what to look for in a head shop: customer service

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, head shops have generally gained a reputation for poor customer service, and a quality head shop will recognize this and strive to do better. Good head shops will go above and beyond for their customers, doing things like offering replacements for products that arrive defective or broken during shipping.

Quality shops should have information about warranty packages for viable electronic products, as well as safety information on newer, less understood devices such as electronic nails. Helpful advice and in-store demonstrations are little touches that will impress new customers and keep happy clients coming back. Any reputable store places its customers as top priority, regularly adding new features and maintaining an easy, comfortable environment for patrons.