HNB and free money

I just loaded a £50 Amazon voucher onto my account. And Amazon sell whisky…

I’m tempted to buy a low end one for under £14 just to cock a snook at the Spiteful Nannying Puritans and their minimum pricing, but I’ll probably get some of the good stuff instead.

Incidentally, I found a new one in Aldi. Castle and Crag, priced exactly at the minimum £14. It’s not a malt (I’d be delighted to find one at that price!) but it’s a single-grain whisky. Not a blend. A bit like Haig, but it’s not Haig. It’s actually pretty good. I’d buy it again.

Anyway, this free money, well not totally free, I had to do stuff for it, came via IQOS. Yes, I still use it, not exclusively but it’s outlasted every Electrofag I ever tried. About once a week they send a questionnaire asking how much you use it, do you use real smokes too, do you use Electrofags as well, how do you like it, what are the downsides and so on. I fill them in, and thereby accumulated points which I ignored for a while – but it seems they build up pretty fast. I remember my father collecting the points cards inside cigarette packets. This seems similar, it’s good to see the past coming full circle.

I don’t think they are allowed to let you redeem the points for their products which is a shame. I’m going to need more cleaning sticks soon and will need some more microfags to stick in the end. If I could have tried the yellow ones for free that would have been great. Alas, it is not to be.

Instead you can redeem the points for a range of vouchers. The Amazon one is likely to be the most useful for me so I went for that one. I’ve now loaded it onto the account and will browse for interesting bottle-shaped things.

I got the IQOS on a deal which was around £50 for the device and 100 microfags. I have amber (proper man strength) and turquoise (menthol) ones gradually declining here. I think I’d use it a lot more if the price of 20 microfags wasn’t the same as 20 real ones, but hey ho. At least they sell me the things. And getting this voucher technically makes the original purchase free anyway.

I did try to get a Blu electrofag but they didn’t believe I was over 18 and insisted I send a picture of my driving licence or passport to prove it. I’ve had a driving licence since 1977 and have voted in every election since 1978 but they can’t find me on the driver database or electoral roll, they said.

Well I’m not comfortable with sending my passport or driving licence over the internet so I cancelled. There will be no review of Blu here, it might be great but it seems I will never know. I see it in shops but… nah. I’ll skip that one.

It was a weird experience. I’ve bought pipe and cigarette tobacco, cigars etc. online for years. Also whisky and all kinds of Electrofags and juices and even been sent a few to review. And yet all of a sudden I have to prove my (somewhat gammony-advanced) age. I can skip one product. There are plenty more to choose from.

Still, for me, I think IQOS has a better chance of sticking than any Electrofag I’ve tried so far. I like Electrofag. It’s a great gadget. I like how I can ‘smoke’ weird flavours like absinthe and roast chicken and coffee. But… it doesn’t really feel like the real thing for me. It’s an ‘as well as’ not an ‘instead of’.

IQOS could almost become an ‘instead of’. The biggest stumbling block is the price. If the microfags were half the price of real ones I’d use it almost exclusively.

‘Almost’, because there is no way to smoke it while driving. You need a free hand to hold the device or the microfag will drop out of the end. Also, outdoors, how much smoke you produce is not an issue. I don’t see me having a beer outside on a warm summer evening without some real burning tobacco involved.

If we actually get a summer this year, I’m going to revive my pipes.


7 thoughts on “HNB and free money

  1. Combining two of your topics, I used to sell on Amazon until about two years ago. They would ask me now and again for a driving licence or passport number so that I ‘comply’ with some EU nonsense. I didn’t have either (my passport had expired), so they stopped me selling until I provide one, which I haven’t. Frankly, I felt affronted that after having been a seller for years I now have to prove I am who I say I am (they could have checked my VAT number or something – easy).

    I’ve never had to prove who I am buying smoke-related stuff online and a few months ago opened a current account at Santander by telephone and they set it up for me there and then (just had to wait for the card and login details to be posted). In 2016? I opened a merchant account with a credit card processor and again, no documents required.

    I can take in thousands from people’s credit cards in purchases from my own site (or by phone), but I can’t sell a few bits on Amazon.

    Amazon, in my opinion, is a danger to us all. It’s good for buyers – at the moment – because most prices have to be cut to the bone to compete or to get the ‘Buy’ box, which now, I understand, is only available through ‘FBA’ when Amazon holds the stock at one of their warehouses.

    So, they are taking more control over people’s businesses (I ended up feeling like an employee), while the sellers are making not too great a profit and losing 15% to Amazon on each sale. Considering the low mark-up, that 15% can be the majority of the profit margin.

    Then there’s the growing list of banned items, which is of particular worry. I still get emails through telling me of the latest of my inventory to be purged from Amazon. The last one was for a child’s pirate set, containing small plastic cutlass, plastic pistol and a on eye-patch. (Not my usual line, but I received a huge box of freebies from a wholesaler.) Anyway, that pirate set, which retailed at a pound plus postage was banned because they don’t sell ‘replica’ firearms. Yes, really.

    Maybe three years ago, all Confederate flag merchandise was removed – for being ‘racist’ I assume. I think it’s only a matter of time before they are issuing ‘guidelines’ on what books they will sell. And because the FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) thing means that they hold the stock, they can destroy whatever they find offensive, like anything written by a Gammon.

    I dislike eBay more! The internet is becoming like the high street with a handful of big boys (third parties) causing others to suffer financially; that’s my synopsis, for what it’s worth.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a similar todo with Farcebox. I set up a farcebox page for my son’s business only to get a message one way that there had been unauthorised access or somesuch. They wanted me to send passport, driving licence or a whole list of other documents to prove that I was me. I asked how these could be verification when they had never seen them before and so had no basis for comparison. Strangely they failed to answer in the face of such devastating logic and the page sails on; out of date and unmodernised but still bringing in an occasional bit of business . . .


  3. “they can’t find me on the driver database or electoral roll, they said…” Not that they will have direct access to such things. Or that their sources will be up to date. I think the demand for passport etc is a way of getting around this shortcoming, but, and here’s the big but, giving them such information leaves you wide open to ID theft via 3rd parties.


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