The Tao of Honest Bob

The Tao of Honest Bob
Inspiring Words from Watch Your Head’s Legendary Carnival Barker 

 

The Honest Bob needs no introduction. That’s because The Honest Bob is a fixture of our world; a walking institution of counter-cultural retail so predictably awesome, you could practically set your watch by his appearance at a CHAMPS event. As the owner and operator of Watch Your Head, Rhode Island’s premiere destination for all things inhalation since 1994, The Honest Bob has been slinging pipes and hawking bongs longer than some of us have been walking upright. He’s a pioneer of our world and he deserves your respect, as well as your proverbial ear. It is for this reason that instead of our typical rambling, we’re just going to give him the floor. Why? Because he’s Honest Bob Christie and he deserves it, dammit.   

 

On his introduction to color changing glass in 1994: 

 

I ordered two. Wholesale, they were about $25 then. Now, they’d be about $10. They showed up and they were the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. But . . . I didn’t think I’d ever get $65 for those things. But a week or two later, a couple of guys walking by asked if I had color changing glass. I immediately puffed up my chest and was like, Why, yes, I do! The finest from California. And one of them was like, We’re from California! I’ll take it! Then the other guy was like, I’ll take the other one!  and I was all, ‘Awesome!’ I wrapped them up, took $100 in my greedy little paw and they walked awayI was just like, ‘WOW.’ Monday, I called my rep and said, ‘I’ll take five more!‘ It’s been lather, rinse, repeat ever since. 

On his early heretical approach to merchandising:  

 

I didn’t price anything for the first six months. That forced me to learn my product, who made it, how much it cost me, how much I could sell it for. It would also force the customer to engage with me. It gave us a common talking point . . . It also gave me the opportunity to engage them, entertain them a little, and inform them, as well as learn from them; get the conversation started. 

On his nickname and how he came by it . . . honestly: 

 

In true format, the unwritten law of nicknames is you can’t give yourself a nickname. It was when I had my first business at 18, selling comic books . . . This kid gave me a $20 bill for a $2 comicI turned around to grab the change and when I turned around, he was gone. I went and found him in the show and he was like, “Wow, you didn’t have to do that. was like, Of course I did . . .  He said, That’s really honest of you. I’m gonna call you Honest Bob.’ That following week, I went to the Salvation Army and bought a pair of plaid pants and a polka dot tie and I just became Honest Bob at the next show with this preacher voice . . . It just carried on. 

On why student discounts are dumb: 

 

I never do a student discount. I don’t agree with that. I think it’s hokie because what happens if school’s not right for you at that time? What happens when you lose your ID? What happens when you graduate, and your student loans kick in? So what I do is buy one, get one half every day on most items. It helps generate volume. I hate Walmart, but one thing they got right was scale of volume.  

 

On not always knowing everything 

 

If you would have told me twenty years ago or more, that there would be this thing called decriminalization, I would have asked you what the hell you were smoking . . . That just goes to show you that you don’t know what you don’t know. 

On gender relations in the glass world:  

 

When I started this business, it was a sausage fest and it stayed that way for many years. The recent proliferation of women in the glass industry has just been amazing. To see women—pardon the pun, but in this industry, you have to say it—shatter the glass ceiling, it’s just absolutely wonderful and empowering and thankfully, something that obviously isn’t going to go away. 

On eschewing social norms: 

 

I didn’t have any problems bringing in things that were pink, things that had rainbows or things that might have been girly, because women’s money spends just like men’s money. Let’s get them through the door . . . Because I’m openly gay—I was the only openly gay shop owner that I knew of for so many years at the show—I ended up making my store into a place of inclusionwhat they now call a safe space. It was what it was before it became a word, you know what I mean? Everyone has always been welcome. 

On his secret to success, both in business in life: 

 

I think it comes down to honesty . . . honesty is the backbone of integrity . . . Honesty with your employees, honesty with your customers, and honesty with your vendors. You’ll never go wrong.  

Parting thoughts:  

 

The best tool anybody can have besides integrity is a love for critical thinking . . . you have to ask yourself, ‘does this make sense?’ That allows your mind to always be open. But it also allows it not to just be an empty vessel to be filled. It keeps the gears turning so you’re always examining . . . you know, I think the lack of critical thinking is what has gotten us into this social media crap that unfortunately shows no signs of going away. The internet never should have been put out to the public in the form that it was. It’s just too much too soon.  

 

 

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Print
Email

Recent Articles

Does cannabis help with pain relief? Or is it all in your head?

According to new research, the placebo response –- the appearance of improvement in a person’s physical or mental health after taking a placebo or ‘dummy’ treatment — amounts to 67% of the pain relief associated with genuine cannabinoids. Looking into 20 studies using cannabis for pain control in over 1,450 people between the ages of

Read More »

How to Protect The Health and Wellness of Your Most Valuable Asset – Your Employees

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) have become a vital resource for small business owners. Unfortunately, many of you aren’t aware of their existence or the services they provide such as counseling for those affected by workplace violence, wellness matters, traumatic events, relationship challenges, professional harassment, legal matters, adoption issues, eldercare and child care and more. Coverage

Read More »

Upcoming Legislative Sessions: What can we expect to see?

In my last article I discussed the 2022 legislative sessions in many states. In this article I want to shed some light on what we and many other advocates across the country anticipate in the 2023 session. As always, if you have any questions about how to get involved, ideas and relationships you may have

Read More »

How to Attract Seasonal Help

If you’re struggling to find seasonal workers, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that a quarter of small business owners have had a harder time finding seasonal help this year than in the past. And given that the clock’s ticking down, you might be growing increasingly desperate to find temporary workers. Offering minimal wages

Read More »

Cannabis Banking Bill Could Pass Congress by Year’s End

It has been a long road for the cannabis banking bill that aims to protect financial institutions that work with the marijuana industry. But analysts say the “SAFE Banking Plus,” has a roughly 70% chance of passing before the end of 2022. The House passed the SAFE Banking Act in 2021 and 2019, but getting

Read More »

Social Media

Most Recent

Are you 18 or older?