I was in the barber shop last week getting a hair cut. I’ve been going there for something like fifteen years, and things have changed little over that time.
One thing that used to be different is they had ash-trays in the waiting area to accomodate smokers. Those disappeared some years ago.
But now for the first time, they’ve stopped selling tobacco products.
While I got my hair cut I had a chat with the barber (one of the proprietor’s sons) about the reasons.
Less and less people are smoking. The market is shrinking. (Or dying, perhaps?)
The profit margin isn’t very high, as there’s a lot of competition, apparently.
Conversely the value of the stock is high, which means even for just a moderately-sized shop display, they had tens of thousands of dollars of cigarettes sitting there, which raised concerns over burglary.
And finally, the hassles of keeping track of stock, sorting out inventory and orders and so on are a big overhead, which I can relate to, having dealt with such issues during my retail experience.
So they stopped selling them.
And the moral dimension? He knew full well that smoking is an unhealthy, unpleasant, dangerous practice, but more practical considerations appear to have been the catalyst for the change.