I’ll be honest with you. Often, it can be difficult to sit down and write one of these because the field of choices I have to chose from is not only getting smaller and smaller every day, but is very rarely of anything even close to a caliber that would make me want to review it all. They are hastily built, devoid of any attention to detail or form of customer assurance, and, in cases we’ve covered previously, operation in downright illegal fashions. To review them would be little more then a wholesale dismantling of every facet of the site, nearly identical from week to week as I point to flaws with presentation, service and so on. A few weeks ago, when I came across today’s contestant, I was cautiously excited. The outfit was slick, well designed, and quite impressive. I’ve seen these sorts of places come and go in the blink of an eye, however, so I tried to hold my optimism in check. I included them in a cage match, as well as used them as part of last week’s comparison piece, and as much as I hate clowns, I have to tip my hat to this big top. The Super Fun Cave is definitely a circus worth visiting.
I don’t really like credit cards. I’ll get that out of the way now. It’s too easy to be irresponsible, and I’m more than a little unammused about the idea of entire companies that exist and make money by doing nothing but giving me access to money that is not only imaginary, but is money I don’t actually have. That being said, given the prevalence, indeed the preference, of online commerce that I and most other people seem to have, it’s obvious that credit cards aren’t going anywhere any time soon. So faced as we are with the challenge of using these things, it behooves us to educate ourselves a little about who exactly we’re giving our digits to and what exactly is being done with them. I’ve written before about the actual process of paying with credit cards, so you can go read that for a primer. What we’ll do here today is take a look at 3 different vendors in comparison. We’ll examine what is being done right, what is being done wrong, and how to recognize trouble waiting to happen.
This is one I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Back when, one of my first articles was about a little outfit called Da Brand. I had a sort of love/hate relationship with them. They had a great brand presence (the likes of which I hadn’t seen again until Super Fun Cave) and, by all rights and reviews, a great product to go with it. It was almost enough to forgive them the fact that their site would spout trashy hip hop at me whenever I refreshed it or navigated to a new page. And then, one day, they vanished.
I have been buying herbal incense for about 6 months. I’ve been buying Rip its by DeBrand both at local stores and online. I first bought it at herbal insence connection. When I returned to buy more, the site was down due maintenance. After a couple weeks the site was back, but Rip its were no longer offered(only had 6 new products offered). I found Rip its at the K2 spice site at that time. But now, I can’t find it in stores or online. Went to DeBrands’ site. Rip its are there for sale, but when trying to pay (both credit card & PayPal) it says no payment gateway. I’ve sent DeBrand 2 inquiries. No reply. I went to another site and bought ten 1gm variety pack. TRASH & WASTE OF MONEY! Rip its aroma was so trippy and mind expanding, like no other. Does anyone know anything about why Rip its are impossible to find? Or where I could buy it?
Like most of you, and indeed, most sane people, I’m not all that big a fan of Twilight. The only reason I bring it up is because, apparently, the latest installment of the movie franchise hit the shelves this weekend, which means we are that much closer to the inevitable cultural death of this thing. I was always more a zombie fan myself. Call me crazy, but there’s something more entertaining about the desperate struggle for survival against enormous odds and hordes of undead than halfhearted sighs over perpetually sparkly high schoolers. And that’s about as clear an introduction as I can manage for the subject of today’s expedition, another Cage Match review with the popular and apparently quite potent line of potpourri known as Zombie Matter. Four sites enter, one emerges, and for the rest…well, hey, zombies gotta eat.
The last time I got a sizable correspondance from a reader, it turned in to a fascinating, multi-post odyssey detailing the lying lies and dirty secrets of what was, at the time, one of the larger and more well established legal high companies, Am-Hi-Co. A company which since has started a meteoric fall due to it’s own neglect and disregard for standards. The irony is that all of their problems could be solved with a minuscule amount of logistical planning and elbow grease, we’re talking maybe a weekend of notebook paper and moving some boxes around. I mean, how hard is it to devise an efficient system wherein you look at an order, fill it with the appropriate product in a timely fashion, and mail it? Apparently, very. It doesn’t help matters much when the postal system they’re dumping into is damn near as inept. One collector decided to share his account, which follows below in an unedited version, both for journalistic reasons and also because it’s just plain amusing.
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.
There are business and marketing practices that, when implemented properly, are generally regarded not so much as “correct”, but rather “safe”. I mean, there are no wrong ways to market yourself, just ways that won’t make you any money. We’ve discussed at great length what some of these less than profitable ways are, as well as explored the patterns we most often see the successful business follow. Every once in a while, however, you get something that comes out of left field and hits you like a sack of sweet Valencia oranges, like when some crackpot straps wings to some bike parts and decides to push the contraption down some sand dunes. You look at this thing and go “How does that even work” and yet somehow, despite all odds, it does. Today, we’re looking at the closest thing that Herbal Highs have yet to offer so far.
A goddamn talking chicken.
It’s been a busy week, and I have news. Soon, I will officially be joining the ranks of the Legal High Network. It’s a little sparse over there right now, but I’m going to be remedying that soon enough.
The idea of the Legal High Network is, to me, a great one. Those of us who enjoy highs of both the legal and the illegal sort have to stick together, and having a place where we can trust that we’re among friends, and trust the information we’re getting, be it reviews or suggestions or warnings or what have you. That, and it’ll be convenient to have one singular place to pop over to without having to go hunting all over the web. We have a few exciting people on board and grand plans for the future, including a possible store front.
The other practical upshoot is that I’m going to be migrating off of WordPress and on to my own servers. You won’t, or at least shouldn’t, notice any down time or changes, but I’ll keep you posted none the less, and you will be able to keep up on reviews and discussions about all our favorite pastimes.
It’s kind of interesting, having to hide something so innocuous and harmless as an affinity for highs of various natures. A friend of mine, SWIM if you will, had this conversation with me the other day. You see, SWIM has the enviable job of being a clerk, part time, in a medical marijuana dispensary. Obviously, he is a patient as well, and it seems like a great gig. He gets to walk into a store and get an employee discount on primo weed. He was quick, however, to explain the other less enjoyable side of his particular good fortune. He looked at me and said, frankly, “This must be what it feels like to be gay.”
Now understand that he wasn’t being flippant when he said that. After all, it’s not like anyone has ever been tied to a fence and beaten to death over liking to get stoned. What he is talking about is that feeling as though you have to hide something about yourself that is, for some people, an important part of who they are. Consider, then, the stigma attached to, in this case, smoking pot. You get labeled a stoner, a high on, a pot head, and all of a sudden people are making all kind of assumptions about you and assuming they know all about you simply because they learned a fact they consider to be all encompassing, wholly defining. Simply put, you wind up judged quickly and unfairly and there is little you can do to ever change that opinion.
“Now take that,” he said, “and ask yourself how your family and close friends would react. Sure, you tend to think they would be cool with it. I mean, they like you already, right? But really think about it. Would your mother be cool with it? Your siblings? The folks at your church or your bridge club or whatever?”
And he’s right. You would like to trust that we know how our closest friends and family would react to choices we make, but at the end of the day there are some choices that people can’t wrap their head around. He told me a story about one of the patients who came into the store who had all but been shut out of his church when he admitted he used medical marijuana to help cope with his cancer treatments. All of these “Christians”, who had been helpful and supportive up until that point, wouldn’t even talk to him or acknowledge him unless absolutely necessary. When he found out that the few people who write most of the big checks to the church (many of whom take a daily cocktail of Xannex, Prozac, and a host of other strong psychoactive drugs) had been pressuring the other members to give the cold shoulder to “that dirty hippy”, he obliged and is looking for spiritual salvation elsewhere. Fair? Not at all. But a fact of life.
“Some days,” he said, “you feel like a criminal just for being who you are.”
It isn’t often that we find a legal high provider who makes even the minimum decent effort, let alone the extra mile, to make their products or their presentation and sale of said items shine. Hell, most stop at “barely functional” and hobble on from there. Fewer still who actually reach for the stars truly make it. You wind up with instances like Scientifics, where the unique packaging and the, at least partially, image driven price for what is apparently an average quality blend pretty much deflates the whole thing. Or you get something like the Herbal Aroma Shop that, while well on it’s way, is not quite there yet.
Today’s offering however, the Code Black Incense Store, is as close to there as we’ve seen.