Category Archives: Bath Salts
I’ve been meaning to do this for some time, and the comments on the last post have only served as impetus to do this sooner, rather then later. We’re going to revisit Am-Hi-Co and see just how hard the once great behemoth has fallen. After all, they were operating under a similar model before they brought in the American team to run things, but there was a reason they brought in the American team: the model they were using was hemorrhaging money. Perhaps under the tutelage of the Americans, using the example they’d set, the previous team was able to at least maintain the momentum enough to keep ahead of trouble. Somehow, however, I doubt it. Old habits die hard, especially bad ones.
Well, here it is. I’m finally doing a review of Am-Hi-Co. It’s been a long time coming, and I never thought it would be like this. Late last week, I was contacted by someone claiming to be a former Am-Hi-Co employee. They had documents, snippets of conversations and emails, and all sorts of interesting info that paints a very interesting portrait of what amounts to a Legal High Hindenburg. Of course, I was skeptical. Being a student of, among other things, the Classics, I tend to assume automatically that any gift horse that shows up is likely packing a few surprises. That being said, everything seems to check out. The stories they gave me jive pretty well chronologically with complaints on various forums and “Sorry, we’re having trouble” posts on their own (seemingly deserted) blog, and a lot of the specifics and details seem to mash up as well. You all know how I am with data and research, so I can give you a reasonable assurance that what follows is, for the most part, the truth. As always, however, grab that grain of salt. If nothing else, you’ll have something to put on your popcorn to enjoy with the ensuing fireworks.
Well, it happened. As of last Friday, the DEA finally got around to actually implementing that ban on the 3 biggest bath salt ingredients and bringing the banhammer down hard. These three chemicals are now classified as schedule one narcotics, and anyone caught selling, possessing, distributing or basically anywhere near these things is in for a world of hurt. While, to my knowledge, no one has yet gone down under the federal law. State laws are a different matter, having been in place for some time, but it remains to be seen how much of this new DEA emergency act is in earnest, and how much is just posturing. The problem is, until the DEA actually decides to do something to someone, we have no real way of knowing. Sure, they’re a few days late getting the emergency action placed in the federal register, but it would be foolish to assume that this single instance of sluggishness is representative of how they’ll play the rest of their cards. For the time being, one can only offer advice.
And that advice is “Don’t be Stupid”.
I’ve spoken many times about things that a website, particularly of the Legal High variety, should never do. There are, of course, obvious errors that arise from laziness, shady leanings, or downright ignorance. Far more often we encounter problems that are the result of poor taste, like the insistence that naked chicks and random noise are the best way to sell you wares, the result of poor understanding of a customer base, or just a poor understanding of business in general. These days, for better or (usually) worse, anyone can look up some info on the internet and start a business. Most, however, forget the first part, or they skim a dozen pages out of the middle of Internet Businesses for Dummies and think that they’re Donald Trump.
This is the reason why we’re looking at today’s subject, Swank Herb. It is not, however, for the reason you might automatically assume. While I doubt the people at Swank Herb are regular readers, they have nonetheless avoided the all too common pitfalls I enjoy ripping into on a weekly basis. That is to say, as near as I can tell, Swank Herb doesn’t do anything wrong. What makes them peculiar is that they don’t do anything right either. They actually don’t do much of anything at all. Swank Herb, in all it’s mediocre glory, is the epitome of average. Read the rest of this entry
This may sound strange, but quality is a lot like hard core porn. When someone gets screwed, it’s easy to tell.
In 1964, the Supreme Court of the United States heard the case of Jacobellis v. Ohio. A movie theater had shown a French film about adultery called “The Lovers”, which had graphic sexual material, and the theater owner was convicted and fined for the public depiction of obscene material. The case, which became an important precedent in the question of obscene material as free speech as covered by the First Amendment, was heard by, among others, Justice Potter Stewart. For him, the question was whether or not the film could be considered “hard core pornography”, which he felt wasn’t protected by the First amendment, was key. The task of defining what that was, however, proved to be difficult.
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.
– Justice Potter Stewart, 1964
Quality, I feel, is equally hard to define. I mean, what is hard core porn? Naked people getting it on on camera for it’s own sake, without any sort of story or artistic value to back it up? And no, Logjammin’ doesn’t count. Or does it? Who is to say that the grainy, obviosuly ironic tale of love and cable isn’t art or story?
Ask yourself now, what is quality? Is it merely having an experience or getting a product that you can feel good about having spent money on quality? Or is it possible to not be pleased over what is otherwise a quality product? I mean a Ferrari is still a Ferrari, even if you don’t like the color.
So yes, quality, like porn, is something that can only sort of be predefined. For the most part, you only really know it when you see it. Conversely, when it’s truly not there, it’s easy to recognize as well. Today’s subject, the IncenseCafe, is a good example.
I’ve talked time and time again about how ridiculously difficult it is to try and track down legal high sites that are both consistently stocked and that I don’t feel instantly turned off from buying from. Today, it seems, I’ve gotten lucky. I went looking to see if I could take stock of sites that are prepared for the “impending doom”. I started by trying to track down vendors of some of the larger brands of products like Lady Bubbles, Ivory Wave, and Crazy Train. While a lot of the core vendor sites, Am-Hi-Co being the primary exception, seem to be completely oblivious to the oncoming storm, I’ve noticed that most of the re-sellers and affiliates tend to be quicker on the draw with what is coming down the pipe. Although the response that a lot of these companies seem to be having is to close up shop, a handful, like today’s offering, are very obviously intent on not going anywhere. That’s actually how I found them. Not only is the Herbal Aroma Shop up front about the fact they’re having a sale, but they have an incredible selection. While not the tippy top of the Google list, I didn’t have to scroll far to find them, even when searching for a variety of brands. So aside from selection and decent prices, what do they have to offer?
While I cannot locate the exact place, I believe at one point I have referred to the legal high market as the Wild West. Here, a few months in, it is obvious and apparent that the description is apt. In the past few weeks, let alone the months that I’ve been writing this blog, things have rapidly changed. As I said, however, it’s par for the course. Companies I review one week are gone the next, products disappear almost as soon as they are released, emergency bans and legal action take out whole sections of the industry in single strokes. Change is truly the only constant. So where do things stand now, at this point in time? Who is still going strong, who is gone, who has made heroic comebacks, and what do legal high aficionados have to look forward to in the coming months? This seems as good a point as any to take a breath and ponder what we’ve learned. Read the rest of this entry
In addition to being introduced to Am-Hi-Co, one of the practical upshots of the last two weeks’ blogs has been an exposure to the expansive and complicated world of so-called “bath salts”. This whole subset of the legal high market is not something I’d really previously been aware of, nor is it something I was likely to explore on my own. As I mentioned last week, bath salts and that sort of thing aren’t really my scene. Consider cocaine and similar substances that these products are alleged to be analogous to. I know people who have experienced a broad spectrum of intoxicants, and they all say that, while potentially quite amazing, the “synthetic” end of things can be pretty dicey. Take cocaine, specifically. I’ve heard two things consistently. I’ve heard that good, trustworthy stuff that isn’t going to melt your face off is hard to come by, and that if you can manage to get a hold of a decent supply, it’s the best drug you should never do as it can very easily become a tough to kick habit, what with everything that’s in there. One might be tempted to think, than, that an above-board alternative would be a safer bet as far as content and consistency is concerned. Read the rest of this entry