Ask almost any cigar smoker today what the “holy grail” of cigars is and the vast majority will respond “Opus X[sic]!” This ever elusive tasty treat is eclipsed in rarity only by bipartisan legislature and its allure seems to be equally abused.
National politics aside, the Fuente Fuente Opus X® is a constant target of counterfeiting, price gouging, and other abuses by retailers that can overwhelm that rich, sweet, peppery flavor that we all love to enjoy. Arturo Fuente does not sanction these practices and has alerted us to beware of opportunistic malovents.
By far the most common form of “robber-barony” found with purchasing the Fuente Fuente Opus X® is profiteering. This is understandable in some sense, I suppose, after all supply and demand dictates that if a retailer could get $25 for an $8 cigar, why should he not? This is America, right?
Arturo Fuente has denounced this practice as unethical and damaging to the reputations of both the retailer and the Fuente name. In addition to this position, I know as a Fuente Fuente Opus X® dealer that if I as a retailer am caught doing this that I would no longer be shipped any product.
The secondary market is also a problem here. Often retailers will sell a box at full retail (or more) to a bar, hotel, or other retailer that must double the price to make a profit. This limits availability at the local cigar shop and has destroyed legitimate box sales nationally.
Another common abuse of Fuente Fuente Opus X® cigar sales is program sales. This is when the retailer will sell the consumer one or two Opus X[sic] cigars as long as they also buy a certain quantity or dollar amount of other, less popular cigars. Everyone wants Fuente Fuente Opus X® cigars so why not move a few of the other brands as well?
Arturo Fuente has also described this practice as ‘disturbing’ and is extending not only to The Opus X[sic] but also The Hemingway and The Don Carlos cigars. They have defined this as ‘unethical’ and demanded that this practice immediately cease.
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Arturo Fuente has promised that when these abuses are brought to their attention they will investigate and demand that these retailers stop both the price gouging and hostage programs. You can report these activities by logging on the Arturo Fuente website and contacting them directly.
When we support these practices we are validating their existence by making programs and price gouging profitable. If we only buy Fuente Fuente Opus X® from reputable dealers that are charging fair prices for the products, we secure our rights to enjoy these cigars with more frequency and we may actually be able to buy a full box once in a while! In the end we are only hurting ourselves.
I personally am reminded of another product that currently enjoys similar consumer demand; those PT Cruisers we all see occasionally and covet always. I may pay $27,xxx from another individual, but I will only pay $21,xxx from the dealer!