Retailers are reporting having to cop abuse from frustrated customers – smokers who are not fairing well over the shortage of cigarette supply in Samoa. For the past two days, stores across Samoa have been unable to replenish supplies from local manufacturer, British American Tobacco.
One woman who runs a small retail shop at Tufulele village said even the larger stores in their district and also neighboring districts, are out of stock.
According to the shop owner, she spent all day yesterday searching for cigarettes, however, found that Frankie in Utualii, Farmer Joe at Saleimoa and the Fatitū Store were all out of stock.
“Ua uma lelei le aso ananafi o su’e se sikaleki mo lo’u faleoloa. Sa ou fealuai i le sailiga o se sikaleki ananafi i faleoloa tetele e pei o Frankie i Utualii, Farmer Joe i Saleimoa ma Fatitū, ae ua sioki atoa..”
“People have been coming to buy cigarettes but we’ve had to turn them away and when we give them the news, they shoot the messenger and pass all their frustration onto us..” she said.
“Ua na o le omai o nai tagata ma toe fo’i e le o maua, ia, ma tele mai lava latou tala lafo mai i le ave feau ma lavea ai fua le faatau oloa…”
“The shortage is causing anger from our customers who don’t seem to be responding well to being told that we’re out of cigarettes,” she shares.
“We’ve contacted BAT and we are working hard to have this problem solved because we certainly recognise that being out of stock is an unacceptable position for any business.”
The retailer said she also contacted their families in Savaii but the answer was the same.
“E oo fo’i i faleoloa i Savaii ua sioki foi le sikaleki, e leai foi se mea o maua i Salelologa.”
The public have taken to social media to post comments and complaints, while some say having a smoko break is a way of relieving stress from a hard day’s work.
“O lo’u manatu i lea tulaga ua tulai mai, ona o le toatele o tagata o loo moomia le tapaa ona o le sikaleki lea e koma iai pe a malolo mai galuega.”
“Ua uma ona ou taamilo mai i faleoloa i Apia kuā sioki a le sikaleki.”
Studies have found that the most common negative emotions associated with smokers going without a cigarette are feelings of anger, frustration, and irritability.
Among the most challenging symptoms associated with quitting smoking is depression, and for many smokers, managing mood changes and other emotional factors can become a real issue.
An attempt to receive a comment from British American Tobacco was not successful at press time.