Re: Forum Announcement: Regarding **********
If I may contribute to the conversation, from perhaps one of the more unique viewpoints on HP- (Now, let's see if I can do this without violating every vendor rule in the book! Sorry in advance, BP and abu!)
I don't know jack freaking squat about the vendor in question, so I will not address that half of the equation. What I do know is HookahPro: you guys that make up this most excellent community, the Mods, and Sambooka. And I know them from the perspective of a former member, turned un-official vendor, and recently turned supporting vendor.
I was first a lurker at HP before becoming a member, and was at most other Hookah Forums at the time also. Was I lurking with ulterior intentions? You bet! I was going to introduce a smoking product (Hear that *twanging* noise right then? That's a rule bending!) that I felt would be most readily accepted by that most wonderfully unique western sub-culture, called the Hookah Community. After months of lurking and studying hookah forums, Hookah Pro was the only choice, for both the obvious and not so obvious reasons.
I then joined HP, and found myself and my product instantly accepted. Not only by all the members, but by the mods, and even eventually, Sambooka. Everyone was curious, interested, and most supportive. And as importantly, (to me at the time, at least) buying my goods (*Twang*). I was never, and have never, been approached by anyone officially associated with this forum for anything free. Allow me to repeat...Never.
After I had been here for a month or so, and things were progressing nicely, not only from a business sense but from a communal sense, Sambooka PM'd me and asked me to call him. I thought, well okay, here we go, shakedown time. So I called, and we had a long talk one afternoon, as he was driving home from work and I was driving to work. We discussed HookahPro, hookahs, moassel, dokha, the Middle East, wives, cars, college, business, the weather, you name it. We were just kind of trying to assess the other guy, you've had those conversations. Towards the end of the conversation, Sambooka said he'd like to try some Dokha, and I offered to send him some gratis. (For those of you who smoke herbal moassel, that means free.) He refused. Allow me to repeat...Refused.
He didn't give a reason, at the time anyway. I left the conversation thinking, Well, that sucks! He doesn't like dokha, doesn't like me, whatever. When I got home from work many hours later, there had been an order placed, paid in full, from Sambooka. With a note saying that as he may someday be reviewing my products, if the community wanted, he consequently wanted to pay for the goods he ordered. As far as I am concerned, look in the dictionary, and under 'integrity' you will find a picture of Sambooka.
Does Sambooka have 'deals' with vendors? I have no idea, and as importantly, neither do you. I only know what I have experienced, and can only form my opinions as based on those experiences. Just like you. My experience, for what it's worth, tells me this is highly unlikely. Sambooka's only coin, in this realm of his, is his perceived word and integrity. While I don't him well, I know him well enough to know he is not an idiot. And only an idiot would squander that coin so cheaply.
I contacted Sambooka three months ago, and expresed my desire to become a supporting vendor, as we were doing well enough (many thanks to all of you) that it was now an option. Guess what, kids? It ain't that easy. It wasn't just plug and play, it involved many phone calls, messages, and agreements. Until I agreed to these requirements, I would not be accepted as a vendor. I received numerous emails detailing and stressing the absolute importance of the responsibilities and rules that apply to vendors. Allow me to repeat...Responsibilities and Rules.
Have I messed up as a vendor? You bet. I sometimes forget I'm a vendor, and answer someones questions in a place verbotten. (Again, herbalists, that means forbidden.) I always receive a nice polite-'Hey, don't do that, please', and you know what happens then? I don't do that anymore! I know what the rules and requirements are, and more importantly and equally as stressed, what the consequnces are for breaking those rules.
I believe what we are seeing here, in a microcosm, is the inevitable evolution of a society. Will the vendor in question survive? You bet. Will Sambooka and HP suffer any negative effects from enforcing the rules on a most popular vendor? You bet. Will something similar ever happen again? You bet. One must bear in mind that this current situation is absolutely undoubtably nothing that either Sambooka or the vendor in question ever wanted, or even ever anticipated. It does neither one of them any good. Evolution in action.
Mods- if I broke too many rules in the above post, pull it. Many thanks!