Do You Remember The Buffalo Beanos Raids?
I guess we can all look back on the fond memories of Buffalo Beanos. We can also look at how the city forced the owner out in 2004 in the name of "progress". This, though, is about undercover raids.
I guess my true start in radio was when I was 14. I worked "the speaker stand" at the La Mirada Sweep Meet in Orange County California. I would announce what was in each space. Lots of space leasees would tip my stuff, including armloads of bongs. Do you remember when every kid on your street had a skateboard? Well, thanks to me, all my friends had new bongs.
The point is, the word "bong" was not foreign to me then at 14. I was then shocked in the early to mid-eighties when Buffalo Beanos started getting raided for having "paraphernalia". It even seems weird to use the word "paraphernalia" anymore because it just isn't a big deal Anybody that is familiar with that culture knows that if someone wants to smoke, an apple, tin can, toilet paper tube or even a piece of aluminum is all you really need.
Still, it is funny to think about back in the day that if you used the word "bong" in Buffalo Beanos they'd either shut you up or throw you out. As the little handmade cardboard signs said, those giant tubes were "tobacco pipes". These pipes were confiscated a number of times by the city and the owner of Buffalo Beanos relentlessly fought for the right to sell them.
Nowadays you can't go down a lot of streets without not only seeing a "head shop" but also billboards for head shops. You also can't even really be mad at the cops who enforced the law back then, heck, even Tommy Chong went to jail for selling bongs in 2003. It just all seems like such a ridiculous waste of time and energy now.