We must accept that Tea Need is a boundary created by worry. Vendors might try to soothe the anxious customer dealing with a sell-out by saying "there will always be more tea," but a tea hoarder knows better. Principle of Puerh Worry #1 is There Won't be more tea. The best tea available sells out and quickly. And it is gone forever. Say that again. Forever. And no, there won't be another tea cake like that one. It rained this year so we don't have the drought-strengthened tea we had for the past two years. And then we know puerh was over picked anyway, and over-chemical-ized too and isn't the same today as it was 15 years ago. Puerh leaves are like eyebrows. Anyone who overplucked in the 90s is bald faced in 2015. So too the good tea tree is sold out and empty. Your best investment nowadays for a decent sheng collection along with copious teaware is to buy a shotgun.
Far worse, people actually drink up their good tea. They don't save it and age it and think to send me some. They hoard their cakes with good reason, and knowing this fact means I must hoard too. I could offer a tea hoarder 10x what a tea is worth, and we all know he will never sell. Ever. Not even the moldy stuff. Fire fighters can break down the door and the landlord can terminate the lease, but that hoarder will hold out and even then rent a storage unit rather than give up that gone-forever Apple Scruffs. I know for a fact the TV show "Hoarders" is a set-up, with an ultimate goal of targeting tea people. They are creating a facade of general hoarding interests, but you know what? People don't care about watching folks who can't throw away worthless junk like plastic bags and clothing, and the producers know it. We are being lulled into complacency, they have their eyes on us tea hoarders because we have the real stash. The only choices are a storage locker or you drink up. Take your pick, bottom line once it sells out, the tea is just gone, people.
The truly worrying thought is, what happens if the tea vendor decides to stop selling? Throws in the towel because too many idiots are buying cheap Dayi that lasts 8 steeps at best instead of the good stuff that leaves you crawling on the floor and passed out under the table. I've sold online and I know what a pain in the ass shipping is, just that tedious task alone is enough to send most sane people applying for a real job. Even the ones who stick with it are still worrisome, what with the mandatory two or three extended vacation times a year when they actually close the store. Do these vendors think they are teachers who get summers off? I don't care that the postal is closed for the New Year, deal with it and stay open like a normal KMart on Thanksgiving. I can just feel the people out there buying and the rising panic when website quantities don't get updated on a daily basis. Recently I survived an extended panic when white2tea took a vacation. They graciously agreed to visit me, otherwise I might have done the Unthinkable and actually ordered from someone with free shipping.
On top of the realities of tea leaves, tea buying and vendor vacations, we have our own families to deal with who constantly reinforce the need to buy tea. Now while I've verbally beaten my own son into submission, I realize not all tea people are as successful or so fortunate with their own families. In fact, I've been considering opening a Counseling Business to help fellow tea hoarders with their problem families, because I feel deeply, deeply, deeply for you people. I can only imagine what it is like to have a spouse looking at the hoard giving you the tear-filled eyes, and oh god the questions "How are we going to pay for Junior's college?" or "How will my mother/cousin/sister/brother/uncle ever get out of Mexico?" And even if they don't say anything and the kids are all done and paid for, next it's the Italian Vacation and the wife-beater car they aren't grateful for anymore, the Edison bulbs they think they need, and your tea collection is always there to blame.
The truth they need to understand is the same with any addiction, the tea hoarder simply does not care. At the core, I don't care what you think about my tea addiction, and you can choose to get that and be grateful that I'm not like the alcoholics down the street. At least a tea addict can still give you a grope now and again, and will stay with you as long as you accept the fact that if the credit card has any room on it whatsoever, that money will be spent on more tea. A productive family goal is to save money on lawyers and buy more teaware. Yes, every single April can be a time of joy and a ray of hope to the family who Accepts first flush, instead of the misery that tea season all too often is for one's co-dependents.
But all this is why I really need the tea vendor to be a vendor. Tea drinkers have social media covered, to quell all the sell-out worries which beset us and to promote teaware hoarding. We'll worry about how to brew the tea. In return, I need my tea vendors to keep paying off tea farmers and packing the boxes. And I need my family to respect the reasons behind why I have a post office box for my bills and to keep away from my crocks. Because I'm simply too busy with the problems of tea selling out and competition with other pesky buyers who have more to spend and hog two tongs instead of just one, and no real way of getting rid of those people. Then I have storage to think about, how to work less and drink more, that second mortgage paperwork, and whether tea vendors will start accepting SNAP sometime soon so I can dump Paypal.
I hope I've clarified tea hoarding because my job is to hoard. A vendor's job is to ship the hoard and my family's task is to say "good job Momma" when the postal forklift arrives. In this context, whether or not I actually drink any of those teas matters very little because it's about the shopping and how much room I have under the bed, and not at all about tea drinking. Once you really take the time to think about it, hoarding puerh makes more sense every passing day, and a truly proficient hoarder plans ahead. Do you all think Last Thoughts and Chawang Bulang will sell out anytime soon? Cuz you know how I worry...