Yesterday a customer asked, "Where is your Blue Nun?" to which we had to say, "We don't carry it". "Oh okay" he responded and continued to browse around the store. A few minutes later he returned to ask, "Where is your Moet & Chandon White Star?" to which I again had to reply, "We don't carry it". This time he seemed slightly annoyed but again retreated to the racks to continue his browsing, when I saw him approaching the counter for the third time I felt my spine tighten and my breath retreat into the deepest part of my lungs, my eyes widened and a smile spread cross my face in an attempt to appear less like the "Soup Natzi". "Okay now where might you be hiding the Kendall Jackson Chardonnay?" damn it...my lungs deflated, my grin vanished and my brow was furrowed...sheepishly I replied, "Um we don't carry..." before I could finish the now horribly redundant sentence he looked at me like I was from another planet, (a look that I have come to know very well) and said, "What kind of wine store is this? How can you not have such popular brands?" before I could even put all the words together in my head I heard my voice stammer, "Um, why would we need too?".
He looked at me like I had just taken a poo on the floor, I had to act fast. I in no way wanted to offend him nor did I want to imply that his requests were silly. In fact I understand the comfort people find in seeing familiar brands but in all honesty, why would we carry those wines? To come to The Wine Country you have to make a special trip...so why would anyone that was shopping for dinner drive all the way over to us to buy the wines they could have purchased at their local Vons? As I explained this, feeling like I was still at the plate after stike three to the verbos but softening customer he asked the question I was dreading, "Those wines are very popular so they are really good right?"....damn it! "There is nothing wrong with them" was the absolute best I could do. I watched his head cock sideways and his eyes narrow from the smirk that was on his face....I knew then that I could give him the answer I had wanted to give him since he asked for the Blue Nun. Those wines are, "Fine" but there is nothing all that interesting about them and we have wines that are so much better.
Two cases of wine later he was on his way. I will think of him popping those corks and tasting wines that have real character, finesse and wait for his return.