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Brother Of The Leaf?

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013

So naturally, we have all heard the term BOTL & SOTL. We all have a general understanding of it’s meaning or at least what it means to us and we go from there. I ask this sincerely, what is a BOTL? Who has the right answer and who came up with the term? Once this is broken brown, in greater detail what are the fine prints that justify’s if one is a BOTL or not? Does a random act of kindness ( RAOK ) make you a BOTL? Does being a cigar lover make you a BOTL? Does participating in a group, club, forum etc make you a BOTL? Now, on the flip side, let’s dig into the issue that gets under my skin! Does selling cigars at a profit make you less of a BOTL? Does not sending the same quality of cigars to someone in a trade when you sent what you feel is comparable, some of your favorites or maybe even the best you have make you less or a bad BOTL? Does buying all elite ( HTF, LE, Rare ) cigars and not sharing ( HORDING ) make you less of a BOTL? I could go on and on with pro’s and con’s concerning both sides of the question but I think you get the point.

BOTL2012 1I’ve been apart of many cigar forums, sites, etc as I’m sure many of you have as well. Many of us use the same names, some change them from site to site for various reasons but one thing that is consistent between almost every site is DRAMA. Now, not everyone or every forum / site is bad as I’ve made several friends, learned a great deal about cigars, found new sources, made some great trades, tried allot of new cigars, have been blessed by many people and had the opportunity to bless many people as well. These are why many come to these sites and there’s also people who come to sell their cigars and collections, some to mooch cigars, rip people off and stiff people in trades, box passes etc. Sadly, its all apart of not knowing the people you are dealing with, which is also why almost every site clearly says they don’t advise buying or trading nor will they take any responsibility if a transaction goes south. There are allot of benefits to these places and they are filled with more good to GREAT people ( BOTL & SOTL ) then bad. But…….. you always have a few bad eggs in every batch that are great at ruining that experience for everyone. I’ll keep from releasing sources or names but what eats me up more than anything is how much these so called true ( BOTL ) love to trash talk in open forums or threads about other ( NON BOTL – as they claim ). So, let me ask the question…… you think this person is selling something for more than they should ( clearly you want them or you wouldn’t have acknowledged it ) but you think its ok to call them a POS, not a BOTL, a gouger etc? Is this really the actions of a true BOTL? I’m not saying I agree nor disagree with this but let me explain. Tatuaje Monster Series #1 The Frank…. I bought a single from a guy and paid $50. This cigar is 6 years old, HTF, long out of production and almost impossible to find. Now they retailed for $13 6 years ago but I didn’t slander the guy and raise hell. I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me, it was business. I paid the $50 and got what I paid for. Many of us have done this. I’ve overpaid for something I wanted and I’ve also sold something at a profit because it was something I had that I either didn’t really want to sell or someone else really wanted it and I needed the money etc. I’ve also gifted cigars of the same caliber to people, sold them at MSRP or below what I paid because they were a friend, a genuine good person looking for something ( not expecting something ) or I just wanted to get rid of something I knew I wasn’t going to smoke. I’ve been blessed by many in Random Act’s of Kindness ( RAOK ) without the person wanting or asking for anything in return as well as I have done the same countless times for others. Last Christmas, I got really sick ( ill refrain from the details ) but a great group of guys from Twitter ( all who barely knew me or even knew me at all ) got together and created a true miracle for me and my family! I never asked for such a thing, never expected it or even saw it coming, it just came! It was so inspiring and such a blessing to see such caring and giving people who wanted to do something nice for someone they didnt know and their family just because. Now to me, these men are all true BOTL in my mind and heart and will forever be, nothing will ever change that. I’ve had several friends do similar things and Iv done countless things for others as well, not because I had to but because I wanted to. Because its apart of who I am and what I believe to be apart of being a BOTL. Giving! But at the same time, its my decision to do this, and who I do it for as it is yours! It doesn’t mean that since your a BOTL that I should have to give you something, I owe you something, that I should cut you a deal if I’m selling something etc. I look at many as family and some are as much as a brother and best friend to me then my own flesh and blood, but if I or someone else breaks ( THIS ) one person’s code of BOTL conduct, that perception is they are less of a BOTL or looses BOTL status or even worse from many of the statements and comments I read on OPEN FORUMS, Instagram, Twitter etc. Many use sites to sell cigars, some at great prices and others at crazy prices and you know what, its business ( not personal ). That’s honestly what many use those places for. I collect vinyl records too. I’m dying to get a copy of Circa Survive Juturna on vinyl but every copy for sell is listed at $300 to $500. This LP sold for $20 shipped. Now I dont go crazy, blasting the seller and raising Hell! Its something I want, but this particular item I just cant and wont pay that markup. Again, its theirs to sell, they can ask what they want and to be honest, if someone wants to pay that, the buyer and seller got what they wanted….. But, It doesnt make them less of a person nor BOTL. Again, if you dont like it, dont buy it. Gouging or not, its theirs to do what they want. The process doesn’t hurt anyone or anything, but what does do damage is all the slandering people do and are so quick to use the term BOTL is a negative way without thinking about what they saying, makes them no better than the person they are talking about if not worse because that person didn’t launch a personal attack on someone Else’s character. Trades are the same way, you do a blind trade and don’t ask for something specific in return, then sadly you get what you get. One would hope that the person they are trading with would return with proper consideration but not all do. So again, there’s allot to take into consideration. Lastly, you have the Hording call! First off, good cigars are not cheap. We all work hard for our money to buy what we buy. So if someone has a nice collection, you know what? They paid allot of money for that collection! So mooching or expecting that person to unload on you, throwing freebies your way etc….. come on. Flip side, if they do, then be grateful, be thankful and don’t forget to pay it forward.

Pinar-del-Río-BOTL.org-Small-Batch-2010-1__90822_zoomReality is, everyone has an opinion and they want to state it! I know I’m the same way ( clearly ) but I also think there’s an ethical and mature way to go about and say things that many don’t think about. I’ve never found a stronger more giving community as I have the cigar community, which sadly is also why so many people have taken advantage of it, mooching, begging, expecting, complaining, ripping people off and so on, but it eats me alive seeing, hearing and reading people beating up, bad mouthing and calling someone out on certain things. Especially when its between cigar reps, owners, bloggers, reviewers, or anyone that represents someone else ( which should always be with integrity ). Now, I can agree if someone stole from you! Cheated you! Ripped you off etc. But… if you traded with someone you don’t know and you got shorted when you made no agreement on the trade, what did you expect? If you sent pay-pal for an item to someone you didn’t know as a gift option vs for goods sold and they didn’t send you what you paid for, again what did you expect? You don’t know this person. That’s why Ebay tells you not to make a deal out of their terms, because if you do, you all alone. They cant and wont help you. They charge a fee for a reason. Now I’ve done all the above, and its always a risk but I at least do some research about that person I’m doing business with and I believe in the best of a person, but if I get burned, then that’s between me and them. Now, will I take precautions if I cant resolve the issue to help someone else from getting burned? You bet your ass I will! But again, there are different circumstances when it comes to different things. Bottom line, like I said earlier, too many people take advantage of this community and feel that they are entitled to something for nothing, and that’s not a BOTL nor a friend. We give because we choose to! We do it because that’s what it’s about, sharing. Giving to those in need! I believe its the same as life, you reap what you sow! So…….. bottom line, think before you speak! Think before you slander, bad mouth or judge the character of another person. If its legit, then its legit, but know right from wrong before you make statements or attack another person’s character.

72_mainBOTL is you! You decide what BOTL is, what kind you are going to be and what role your going to play. You represent the rest by your words and actions. For me, I have some of the best role models that have helped season me along the way, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes no doubt but I’ve learned from them and they were there to help me along the way. But sadly, I’ve also met and crossed paths with people who have not been good friends, BOTL’s and men of character and because of this I choose to avoid many conversations and all forums. Again, I’m sure that many will disagree with my view points and thoughts and your entitled to such but reality is, its time we all take a good look in the mirror before we judge the character of someone else and ask, are we really BOTL? Is this what BOTL do? Only you can decide the answer……….


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Husband, Father of two beautiful children I am a blessed man! Owner and Marketing Director for Sticks2Ash Cigars.

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One Comment

  1. I feel a BOTL is a man that respects all types of cigars and their heritage. Just because there is a certain name attached to it, shouldn’t mean you automatically like it or hate it. Just TRY it!!!

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