Frequently asked questions
Who is The Story Teller's Pipe©?
We are a small, family owned and operated business located in central Illinois.
Sean, our fearless leader, is an avid pipe smoker and loves everything Irish and Scottish. He is a retired Air Force veteran and Fire Chief. Sean is in charge of product testing, purchasing, graphic design, and is really good at spending money.
Michele, his wife, enjoys most of the tobaccos Sean smokes and has a keen eye for beautiful pipes. She is an avid genealogist, archaeologist, and historian. She is in charge of the financial operations, inventory, website development/maintenance, and is really good at telling Sean "No!" :)
Rachael, their daughter, also enjoys the tobaccos Sean smokes and loves everything Irish. She is a nurse and an avid crocheter with a passion for interior design. Rachael is in charge of creative design and collaborates with Michele in the development of products for Ren's Cottage.
Rowan, their daughter, also enjoys the tobaccos Sean smokes and is a coffee and tea afficionado. She is currently employed in copywriting and graphic design and is passionate about ecology. Rowan is in charge of graphic design development and also collaborates with Michele in the development of products for Ren's Cottage.
Jared, their son, also seems to enjoy the tobaccos Sean smokes, but it's really hard to tell sometimes since he's at "that age." He is currently a college student studying sociology. Jared is in charge of eating all of our food ... literally.
LuLu, their aggravating beagle, is in charge of making sure Sean tests a lot of tobacco products to the delight of the rest of the family and keeping Michele, Rachael, and Rowan busy making Ren's Cottage pure beeswax candles. And, she goes above and beyond in fulfilling her duties! How you ask? Well, have you ever had the misfortune of being near a beagle when it passes gas?
Salsa, their Chihuahua, is in charge of providing sass and attitude to keep things lively. She is very adept in this critical function and takes her job quite seriously.
Miss Mia, their white calico cat, is in charge of spreading love and peace to the family when she is not sleeping or otherwise engaged in grooming activities, which is 98% of the time.
Mr. Tucker, their grey tabby cat, is in charge of creating mass chaos. We have to say, he absolutely excels in this area of expertise! :/ If, by chance, you find Mr. Tucker in one of your shipments, please return him promptly.
Why smoking pipes and pipe tobacco?
After previously owning and operating their own business for several years, Sean and Michele found they weren't satisfied working for someone else. So, one day early last year, Sean proposed the idea to Michele to start another business.
The idea that Sean specifically proposed was to start a pipe and tobacco business built on Sean's affection for smoking a good pipe and the family's enjoyment of aromatic tobaccos and centered around the family's love for all things Irish, Scottish, and old English. The concept for The Story Teller's Pipe was to provide the best quality pipes and pipe tobaccos to our customers with the kind of warm and friendly hospitality for which Ireland, Scotland, and England are known. Sean and Michele, then, proposed the idea to their three children, who were in favor of it and on-board to help make it a reality.
A year later, here we are ... launching The Story Teller's Pipe© business as the e-commerce store thestorytellerspipe.com ... all because, on this rare occasion, Michele didn't say, "No!" :)
Where can I find your company's policies?
Our company's policies for shipping, returns, privacy, terms and conditions, and disclaimers can be found by clicking on the links at the bottom of any page on our website or by clicking on the "More" link located at the top of every page on our website.
Do I have to pay sales tax on my order?
We do not charge sales tax on orders placed at www.thestorytellerspipe.com with one exception: customers located in Illinois who purchase from us must be charged sales tax by Illinois law.
Thestorytellerspipe.com is not responsible for individual states' sales tax and/or tobacco tax reporting laws for online purchases. As such, we strongly encourage you to check your state's (and local jurisdiction's) laws before you shop. We are required to submit online tobacco sales to the State of Illinois, which may include name, address, and tobacco purchased.
I saw a pipe on your website, but it was gone before I could buy it. What happened?
Every pipe we offer is individually photographed and described on our website with the exception of certain Missouri Meerschaum cob pipes. Our website automatically hides the product from the public's view when the pipe is sold in order to prevent a situation of two customers purchasing the same exact pipe. So, if you don't see the pipe on our website any longer, it's because it was sold to another customer.
If you still want to purchase that pipe model, please contact us and we'll order one for you. However, please be aware that pipes of the same model have variations in the graining so the pipe you receive won't look exactly like the pipe you originally saw on our website.
How do I get started with piping or smoking a pipe?
Beyond purchasing a smoking pipe and pipe tobacco, there's really not much else you need to get started with piping.
Step 1: Find and purchase a pipe that suits your taste and style and fits your budget. And, keep in mind that the price of the pipe does not necessarily reflect the kind of smoking experience it will provide. In other words, not all expensive pipes provide a good smoking experience, nor do all inexpensive pipes provide a bad smoking experience.
Step 2: Determine what you think your taste in pipe tobacco might be - aromatic, non-aromatic, English blends, VA-PERs, etc. - and purchase a blend you would like to try. If you're not sure, check out our
BULK PIPE TOBACCO page for some great options that you can purchase in 1 oz quantities to try.
Step 3: Select pipe accessories that can make your smoking experience more enjoyable. These include:
1. A 3-in-1 tool or a pipe tamp. The 3-in1 tool is used to tamp the tobacco into the bowl of the pipe and clean the pipe out after you finish smoking a bowl. The pipe tamp is simply used to tamp the tobacco into the bowl of the pipe.
2. A lighter or matches. These items obviously are needed in order to light the tobacco so you can smoke your pipe. Don't use a torch to light your tobacco because it can damage the pipe.
3. Pipe cleaners. Pipe cleaners are used to give your pipe a light or a thorough cleaning depending on the type of pipe cleaner used.
Step 4: Find an old codger who can properly mentor you so you can hone your technique to maximize your pipe smoking enjoyment.
Step 5: If you can't find an old codger, there are a number of instructional videos available on YouTube. While we have no affiliation with him, a gentleman who goes by the name "Muttonchop Piper" has a number of excellent videos available for new and intermediate pipe smokers.
For pipe packing and smoking techniques, you can also read what
Pipedia has to offer. The Forum at
PipesMagazine.com also has some good information for beginning pipe smokers.
Step 6: Sit back, relax, and enjoy a great bowl ... preferably with a good cup of coffee or tea or a wee dram of good whiskey.
Do I have to buy an expensive pipe to enjoy pipe smoking?
The short answer is "No." An inexpensive cob pipe provides the same enjoyable pipe smoking experience as an expensive briar pipe. Also, keep in mind that price doesn't always reflect quality.
As with most tangible items, proper care and cleaning of your pipe will provide an enjoyable pipe smoking experience for the long term.
Is pipe smoking only for men with facial hair?
No, there are a lot of women (with or without facial hair) and smooth faced men who enjoy smoking pipes.
I found an error on your website. What do I do?
While Michele works hard to make sure our website contains accurate information, she is only human and is chronically sleep deprived, so mistakes can happen. If you do find an error, please fill out the "Contact Us" form on our home page and let us know where you found the mistake. Given that Michele is a perfectionist, she appreciates and thanks you for any and all help in making sure our website is 100% accurate.
Do you take pipes on trade?
Yes, but it's on a case-by-case basis. If you have a pipe that you're interested in trading in, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss it with you.