I’m all about doing my errands to and from work, so the other day I popped into a new wine store on my way home. That the sandwich board said something about cheap wine was merely a seal on the cork. Turned out to be more like a snake in the grass.
I walked into a sleek, white space, and it’s not just me saying it. The Google blurb calls it a “sleek liquor store.” It also says it has wine tasting machines that dispense samples, which must be well-hidden. Or maybe I was so distracted by the sleekness, I missed them. Sleekness apparently means bottles must be stored upright, 6 bottles high, with an additional 4 inches high of space per bottle. That is approximately 2-3 more bottles high than I can reach. I’m pretty sure no one under 6 feet tall could reach the top shelf. If you want to force customer interaction and make me ask to get a bottle of wine, move your business to the South. Ain’t no New Englander got time for that. Especially those after a long day at work. See, if we New Englanders want help, we’ll ask. If we want to chat, we’ll go visit a friend. Got it, Sleek?
As I was puzzling over the overwhelming display, a young one came out of left field, or actually from the left side of the store, and startled me. He of course asked if I needed help, and when I said I was just looking, he said something curt and turned away. That would have been a good time to offer the wine dispensing machine, my friend.
But personally I think it was because he knew damn well the wine rack system was incomprehensible without his guidance, and he was mad he didn’t get to explain it. Note to young hipsters: if I have to spend any time figuring out your wine storage system, you’ve probably already lost me. And maybe you didn’t want me in the first place, so perhaps the feeling is mutual. Fair enough.
Now there are occasions when I’m buying for another person, and I love nothing better than saying to a wine store person, “I need a wine to impress a Frenchman who is rather picky in his wine choices and drinks only reds, preferably grown in sandy soil.” They love that shit, believe me. And depending on the friend, I don’t mind spending money.
But today I was just buying for me, looking for a New Zealand Sauvignon blanc. But the Sleek Wall of Wine didn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason to it. There was a sauvignon blanc over there and another up here. I wondered if it was like a bar, with the “top shelf” stuff higher up and the bargain stuff at the bottom? Or maybe it was alphabetical? Nope. Then I notice 2 big labels: 1W and 2W. They were sitting near each other, with no explanation. Was it code? A bad rhyme ? 1 wine, 2 wine, red wine, white wine? Cripes, now I need a key or decoder ring? I glanced around, but didn’t see a key posted anywhere. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to ask the hipster now. This was war.
That’s when I realized there were no price tags. What fresh retail hell is this?
So, you’re going to make me ask you to recommend a Sauvignon blanc and you’re either going to hand me a $30 bottle or ask me what my price range is and just like the real estate agents do, you’ll make sure to stay in my upper range. Hey, hispter, what’s in your 2/$15 bargain bin? Oh, wait, all this sleekness discourages a bargain bin, despite your “come hither” sign about cheap wine. What a scam.
At this point my head was spinning, and not in a good way from drinking too much wine, so I left. I was pretty sure there was another wine store before I was going to get on the train.
Sure enough, several blocks later, I saw a little store with wine and groceries. Ahhhh. Familiar wooden racks, wines displayed on top, and the extras directly beneath, laying horizontally snug. And hey, looky here! Three Sauvignon blancs next to each other and 2 from New Zealand. All with sticker prices. Fan-fucking-tastic.
I picked a bottle, handed the nice man my 10 bucks, and was on my way.
I do wish Sleek Wine Store all the best. I’m sure you’ll be great down South.
Next time you’re shopping wine for a friend, don’t forget good ol’ Geo!
Just get something suitable for a man who eats pie filling out of a can, still has mustard dating back to Obama’s first term, can’t stand 99% of the human population and is still surprisingly single.
Don’t worry. I’ll pay postage.
You got it, babe!! That would be a very worthy challenge for a wine store person! White or red, Darling?
Preferably black. Like my heart. 😉
Brilliant tale! But of course this sort of non labelling and staff behaviour isn’t restricted to wine stores. I just love winding people up who are like this, usually with my long suffering wife nudging me in the back as I ask if they have any Rebourgeon Pommard, preferably 2014. If they say not, I then ask if they have anything equivalent, prices, and if they deliver cases. Bulk discount questions come next, by which time said wife has fled!
Ha ha! You’ve raised it to art art form! Bravo!
You need a good poker face too!
I’ll bet! 😄
If I weren’t laughing, I’d say I’m sick of paying for A Shopping Experience in the literal sense or in any other way. I don’t need to feel good about or from shopping. I’m sad if that’s what they’re selling, wine ego. But I am laughing, so I’ll just say the wrong New Zealand wine on a deck in a storm is the BEST wine. It’s all about context, Sleek!