Top Three Things to Ask Your Budtender
Building Relationships with Budtenders is Key to Dispensary Experience
Never think of the smiling woman standing behind the glass case lined with jars of sticky bud as a mere clerk — little more than a retriever of product and a cashier. Instead, view the budtender as a potential teacher. A shopping ally. A cannabis advisor. Good budtenders are essential for the best dispensary experiences — they understand way more than you about the ins and outs about cannabis and how it works; they are intimate with the store’s products, and can point you in the right directions; and they can help you save money, too.
1st Thing to Ask Your Budtender
What can you tell me about your flower?
Budtenders should be geeked-out about the flower. They have tried everything in the shop, and used it for different occasions and reasons. They have visited the grow, and fully understand the care that goes into the plants — what kinds of fertilizers and soil are used, whether organic practices are leveraged, if they are grown indoors, in greenhouses or outside. Ask her about the Stardawg, and she will quickly rattle-off the important details (hybrid, diesel aromas, cerebral high, etc.) and then report she just savored some last week prior to a hot tub soak and it was heavenly. Flower is the foundation of most dispensaries, and good budtenders know everything about their indicas, sativas and hybrids. If the budtender responds to your question with little more than grunts, beware. It might be time to find a new dispensary.
2nd Thing to Ask Your Budtender
What are you loving right now?
A pot shop isn’t a 7-11, with a static range of inventory. Fresh flower arrives every day, new edibles companies and products pop up every other week and the line of concentrates routinely shifts. Let her begin with the flower, because (see above) she will be geeked-out over the buds and thrilled to report that the OG Malawi is MADE for a day of playing in the California sun. Then she will pivot to the tin of THC/CBD pastilles that come in 5 milligram doses — perfect for a microdosing kind of evening. Then she will go off about the line of vape cartridges that offer single-origin strains that are grown using dry-farming methods and are C02 extracted and distilled. And instead of having to make a decision, maybe you just try one of each. Good budtenders are discriminating — when you ask, What are you loving? she shouldn’t answer, Everything. Follow the budtenders lead and try one of her favorite things.
3rd Thing to Ask Your Budtender
What are the best times and days to shop here?
You will visit all sorts of pot shops across the state: the one near your office that looks like an Apple store, the massive pot emporium a town over that has become a dispensary destination, the slip of a place down the street from your occasional boyfriend’s apartment. And questions about the best times and days to shop might not apply. BUT, you also will visit the few near your house, and one of them will resonate as your go-to neighborhood dispensary (and the quality of the budtenders will likely have something to do with your decision). Since this will become your daily or weekly place, get a sense from your favorite budtenders, early, about the smartest times to swing by for a few pre-rolls or a gram of shatter. They might tell you Friday nights and Saturday afternoons are packed, but Sundays are a dream. You might learn that the place opens even before you leave for work, and that mornings are dreamy for shoppers.
But you aren’t just interested in when dispensary traffic is at its lightest. The budtender might tell you that she loves Thursday afternoons, because that’s when the biggest shipment of fresh flower arrives and it gets the whole staff psyched. She might reveal lots of details about sales — before 10 a.m., everything in the shop is 15 percent off; on Mondays all eighths come with a complimentary pre-roll; on Friday nights they have live music and sell premium grams for $10 (instead of the usual $15).
You will become a regular, and you want to milk the pot shopping experience for all of its potential: You want pressure-free time to chat with the budtender (and when the wait for a budtender is 30 minutes that’s probably not a great time to ask a ton of questions); you want to shop when new product arrives; you want to take advantage of those sales.
So ask away. And don't forget to leave them a nice review online!
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