Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Can I help you find something?"
"Do you have any Local Vineyards Cab Franc in the 2009? I don't think the 2010 is as good."
"Well, Local Vineyards don't really work that way. If they've released the 2010, that means the 2009 is gone. I can call The Winemaker and ask him if he has any 2009, but it's doubtful."
"That would be great. I wouldn't want a whole case of the 2010, but if you can get the 2009, I would buy it."
"I really don't think we're going to find a whole case of 2009, but I'll see what I can do."

I send an e-mail to the LV, and in response I get a message saying that he has one bottle left, that he had intended to drink, but that he would be happy to sell it to my customer instead. But, it being a long drive from the vineyard to the LG, would I be kind enough to order at least a couple cases of wine to make it worth his while? Let me get in touch with the customer and get back to you, I write.

I leave a message for the customer.
He leaves a message for me, saying that he doesn't want a whole case, that he really prefers the 2009 and that he only wants the one bottle. I am not going to make them drive here for that, I think to myself, erasing the message and going on to the next. The very next message, it turns out, is from the same customer. This message came in at five-thirty in the morning, and he says to go ahead and order the whole case. Great. I write the winemaker, asking him to bring me case for the customer, and a case for me of mixed Can Franc and Traminette.

When the wine arrives, I call the customer and leave him a message. Then, at around six in the evening on Tuesday, I am told by a co-worker that the man in question is here to pick up "his bottle of wine."

I retrieve the case and have it brought to him. He looks at it and then at me and says, "I only wanted the one bottle."
"But you called me back. You left me a message at five-thirty in the morning, saying that you would take a whole case."
He stares dumbly at me.
"You don't have to take it. I'll put it on the shelf. But you did order it."
"I just don't... I'll take a couple bottles, but... How much is it, like ten bucks? (It's fifteen). I don't want a whole case." He removes a couple of bottles, and I take the rest of the case away wordlessly. He knows I am not happy. There is no reason to say anything. I walk past my manager, cursing the customer (stupid cocksucking asshole I knew he was going to do this). He asks so I explain.
"And the thing is, I know he's going to get up to checkout and leave those bottles of 2010. There is no way he is going to buy them, even after all this."
My manager sympathizes. We have a brief discussion about the shitty selfish things that customers do, etc. We both make jokes and then part ways. Around the next corner I run into Sven, who has two bottles of the 2010 in his hand. "Do these have a place on the shelf?" he asks, completely unaware.
"Goddamn stupid motherfucking cocksucking motherfucker!" I veritably shout. "Where did you find those?"
"They were stashed in a bin over there," he replies, gesturing toward an area which is now occupied by The Customer.
It turns out that Sven had approached the man with these bottles in his hand and asked if he could help him find anything, and the man had looked in horror at the bottles in Sven's hand, as if they were turds. Sven was confused.
Pffft. People.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I have some funny things to share, but I can't manage any humor right now because I have been spending too much time watching videos of American Police Officers Pepper Spraying Peaceful Protesters. And I am pissed. And I am depressed. And I can't be funny. This shit is not only fucked up, it's also apparently not unusual.
I have remained mostly silent on the whole OWS thing, because as much as I agree with a lot of what is being said, I don't like the way they are going about it and I think if they want to be taken seriously they should hone the message and stop making this about virtually everything that they see as wrong with our society right now. If you want to talk Animal Rights, in other words, then perhaps you should occupy a different street (possibly a zoo?). Also, I hate drum circles with every fiber of my being.
But this is different. This is crazy. This is a College Campus. These are kids sitting on the ground on their own campus in the middle of the day. This shit is fucked up.

And so I am mostly speechless.
Hilarious Customer of the week.

"Is there something I can help you find?"

The response (all in one breath, rushing out of her as if she's been waiting for somebody to ask): "A sixty-five year-old man with a lot of money who likes older women who are in good shape and doesn't mind two oversized crazy dogs because I was fostering them and I panicked and adopted them and now my other three are out in the car and they are really pissed-"

"Pretty sure we're out of stock, but if I run across any I'll be sure and let you know."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This particular Customer of the week may, in another six weeks, end up with the Customer of the Year award.
On my voicemail at work on Thursday morning:
"Hi, this is Marty suchandsuch. I want to order a case if wine. 802-223- xxxx."

That's it. No indication of what kind of wine she wants. So I call her back and leave a message for her, saying that I had gotten her message and if she could please let me know what kind of wine she wanted, I would be happy to order it for her. I do not hear from her again until Tuesday, when I return to work after my weekend.

"I want to order a case of Phillip Lehman Barossa."

This is not a product that I carry. I do have Peter Lehman of Barossa, and there are three different kinds of wine. I leave a message to this effect. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, or the Blend?

On Thursday, I am paged to the phone.
"Hi, this is heybartender, how can I help you?"
An irritable voice blurts "I've been trying to order a case of wine?!"
To which I respond "Ah yes, you must be Martha. Which wine would you like?"
She repeats the incorrect name. I patiently tell her that I got that message and that there is no such wine, but that I had left her a message and there are three, etc etc. So which one?
"I don't know."
"Okay, well, how about I have a look at the bottles and see if we can figure it out?" I put her on hold, go to the sales floor, and return to the phone and describe the pictures on the label to her. She wants the Cab.

"Great. It should be here on Friday. I'll give you a call when it arrives."

On Friday, I dial her number.

"Hello?" Her tone is accusing.

"Can I speak to Martha?

"You know, I'm painting a bathroom here!!" she screams - literally, screams, and slams the phone down.

I hope silently that she falls in her bathroom and dies of thirst, alone, on the floor.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Things are good. Things are very, very good, actually, so much so that I have been loathe to mention it for fear of jinxing myself.

For starters, the b.h. and I went to Portland, Maine last week to see The Pixies. Despite both of us having been fans for what- twenty years? (That seems hard to believe) - neither of us had ever seen them. The show was fantastic. We laughed at ourselves for being crotchety, he complaining that his beer was too cold and me being bored by the opening band to the point of actually yawning and looking at my watch several times per song. But when the time came we made our way to the front of the stage and lost our minds just like in the old days. While everyone was shouting for an encore, I was groped about the ass by a drunken forty-something. It took me a moment to register what was actually happening, but when I did I threw him against the rail and told him I was going to break his fucking hand if he fucking touched me again ("you stupid drunk twat, nice wedding ring, where's your wife you fucking loser, etc etc."). The b.h. was a couple feet in front of me facing the other direction and missed the whole exchange, but the security guy seemed to get a kick out of it. The loser in question was gone within seconds after I finished my tirade, and I didn't see him again.
Portland was okay, but we had a couple of odd retail experiences that left us feeling like it was perhaps getting a bit big for it's proverbial britches. The town has quite a reputation among foodies, and we had a fabulous meal at Fore Street (though the side on his pork chop was not as advertised, and clashed horribly with his $13 glass of wine, which was carefully chosen to accompany what was on the menu and not what came on the plate). The service was impeccable, and we left feeling full but not bursting at the seams.
The next day we went to a cook book store. They had an impressive collection of new and used books, which according to the proprietor (whom we overheard loudly proclaiming his greatness to an equally annoying and self-important customer), is the largest and most diverse in the known universe- or something. They apparently give rare books to museums and the like. Which is all well and good, but the man didn't speak to us and we were the only people in the store aside from this woman, and we were very ready to spend money. They both went on about the injustices of Anthony Bourdain, whose one hour television program somehow ignored all of the important people and places in town.
"We'd been writing them for years asking them to come here," the man lamented. I guess he thinks no one else had.

The two of them went on and on, never suspecting, I guess that either of us would know anybody they were talking about or be offended at what they were saying. Or maybe they didn't care, though I find that a bit odd in this economy.

The same thing happened an hour or so later at a beer store. Three employees, including one who was obviously the owner, and a woman who worked for a distributor. The b.h. was sporting a sweatshirt from the bar where he works, which has giant hops on it. We were looking at expensive bottles of beer and wine, talking excitedly to each other across the aisles. Nobody asked us if we needed help. Nobody asked us anything. They did not acknowledge us at all. It was ridiculous. We had lunch at Duckfat, which is to say the b.h. had lunch and I ate a salad and watched him eat. I swear he would have rolled around in his food if he'd been alone.

When I returned to work on Thursday, I had a visit from one of my distributors. We tasted some outstanding wines wines from Italy, I ordered some things I had tried at his show the prior week, and I casually asked him if the trip he was taking to Austria in the Spring was full yet. It wasn't. He gave me the itinerary and said to get in touch with him as soon as possible if I thought I would be able to go, because space was limited. I have been thinking about this trip as a very remote possibility for a couple of months now, because I could not conceive of how I could possibly afford it. Even though the Austrian government was footing most of the bill, airfare would be several hundred dollars. An hour later I went to my mailbox upstairs, and discovered that along with my paycheck I had gotten a profit sharing check from the LG. It was in the amount of One Plane Ticket To Austria dollars.
So yeah. There's that.

Friday, November 04, 2011

I aided and abetted the swiping of a canine from a fucking idiot today. This girl has a four month old dog and has already abandoned it twice to my knowledge. Today she left him on the concrete in the nearly freezing cold while she shopped at the LG and had coffee with her boyfriend in the cafe. Nearly an hour she was there, even after our manager went up to her and said that he was freezing out there.
"It's okay. My dad will be here soon to get him."
Stupid bitch. So another customer came along and sat with the dog in his lap, waiting. When the girl didn't show, I went out to see if he wanted a jacket.
Then I explained to him that the owner of the dog was young and dumb and didn't deserve him, and that at the rate she was going she was probably going to kill him.
"But you wouldn't necessarily endorse me leaving with him," he said.
I said nothing, and then walked back into the store. Fifteen minutes later, I went back outside. He was still there, dog in lap, shivering.
"do you want a jacket? I have a down jacket at my desk."
" I have a jacket in my truck."
"Oh- well, that's good."
"Yeah, I'm thinking about taking him to my truck."
"That would be good."
"I'll have to figure out what to do from there."
"Good idea."
He gave me his name and number in case.
A short time later, I saw the idiot on her cell phone, heard her describing him.
A while later, I was paged for a phone call. The customer told me he had gone to the police with the dog and filled out a report. I thanked him and told him that I had been hoping he would just take the dog home. He said that the police obviously knew this girl and that they were discussing what to do next. He offered to take the dog to a shelter, but the police said they would handle it.
I had a conversation with a manager, who said she had called the police to tell them what she knew, and that this had not been the first incident. They told her that they had given the idiot the dog back.
I had a talk with the b. h. this evening, telling him that I was not going to let this happen again even if I had to drive to another state to bring him to a shelter. He responded that if he came home to another dog he would be okay with that.
"Do what you have to do," he said. I intend to.