Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stealth Chinese Drug Paraphernalia in Chicago Area Dollar Store

Those clever Chi-Coms have devised a
dope pipe which looks like a tobacco pipe.
They sell them in Dollar Stores
Many municipalities around Chicago and elsewhere have long had ordinances banning the sale of "drug paraphernalia" -- dope pipes, bongs and toke clips -- the kinds of things that would readily be found in the ubiquitous "head shops" of the late 60s.

But leave it to those clever, entrepreneurial Chinese to find a way around this.

While walking in Skokie this past summer, I spied a product in the window of the Dollar Store at the corner of Oakton and Knox.

It's box blared "Durable Tobacco Pipe".

Having recently resumed pipe smoking after a bit of a hiatus, and attracted by the $2.99 price tag, I went in and bought it.

Sure it wasn't going to be a Peterson or a Savinelli, but for 3 bucks, if it did anything at all, It was a steal, right?

It looked just like a regular old bent briar smoking pipe.

Made by the Chi-Com Zhaofa Corporation of Shanghai, its box told me in broken English that the product was:

"--Durable and can be used repeatedly for a long time.
--Made of high-quality special materials. Not contain any harmful objects.
-- The rubber ring can prevent smoke and tar from leaking.
--Remove tar while using for about 10 times.
-- Replace with an auxiliary rubber ring if damages."

I have been buying pipes for some years and never was treated to such admonitions before and frankly, I'm still not sure what some of them mean.

So when I got my new $2.99 Chi-com pipe back home, I discovered that I was now the proud owner of a very cleverly disguised dope smoking pipe.

The bowl contained a perforated metal lining which cut the bowl size in half -- perfect for a small bit of pot.

The "rubber ring" to "prevent smoke and tar from leaking" was actually an adaptor that fit above the metal lined semi-bowl, and had a very tiny bowl, perfect size for smoking a crack cocaine "rock" or a bit of hashish -- but utterly useless for tobacco smoking.

Stuck with the crazy thing, and $3 poorer for it, I decided to at least give it a try with tobacco in the steel semi-bowl.

The taste was hideous. And the steel bowl became almost too hot to handle.

A friend suggested that the awful taste may be due to the fact that the "steel" bowl may have actually contained some lead -- a not uncommon occurrence in Chinese products.

So if any of you readers out there find yourselves with possible use for a well disguised, Chinese made dope smoking apparatus, I have an almost unused one available for a mere $3.

Or I'll trade it for your grandfather's good old, well broken-in briar tobacco pipe.

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