So I was wicked booked yesterday, had tasting appointments up the wazoo, I tend to push all my appointment back and open the flood gate one or two afternoons a month, just works better for me than having one or two tasting appointments a day. This way I can just sit in the tasting room and knock them all out at once. Yesterday was an all day tasting event. As a buyer, people want to see me all the time, especially small importers, and while I do support the little guys, (I get virtually nothing from SW&S or Youngs Market) there are some pretty wretched “little” wines out there, just because you import a French wine it does not make it good….cannot tell you how much crappy French wine there is out there. I once had a customer tell me, “I really love French wine, never gotten a bad one here” well, that’s because we have tasted through the merde and rejected them.
Cannot tell you how many times I’ve taken appointments with these Frenchmen, had them pour for me and act shocked that I was not wowed by their open for 4 days, bottle of French wine, that they want $19.00 wholesale for…dude, c’mon. My favorite is when they tell me that the chef at, _________, tasted it and loved it, so?! He also tastes corked wines, (been a number of times I have been tasted after him, tell the supplier the wine is corked and they say, “_____tasted it and bought some) and loves them, just because he is French does not mean he knows wine or has a good palate. “Well good, he can buy lots of then” is all I can say.
Needless to say, I try and avoid tasting with guys like that, or people importing some “new to the US” wines….just historically means putting yucky stuff in my mouth…ewe. So a new-to-importing-French-wine guy had been calling me every few days for over two weeks, he had a line of Alsace wines he wanted to taste me on. I told him, a few times, that I was not in the market for new Alsace wines, I was happy with the ones I was carrying, he finally just told me he wanted me to at least taste them so I would know the brand. I had to admire his tenacity and agreed to meet with him.
He needed to come early because he had a long day, I was fine with that and penciled him in as my first appointment, so I waited….and waited and the dude was late, not horribly late, but late still and he didn’t call. This would not be a big deal normally, I know we have traffic and things happen but I think you should call…just a courtesy and had we met before I would have been even less peeved, but this dude was breakin’ my bawls for weeks and now he glides in late, on a day that is booked solid, with little more than a “sorry where should I set up?”…grumble, bad start, but not the worst.
I grab my notebook, glasses, dump buckets and sit down in the tasting room with Amy, trying to get over my irritation. So first of all the guy didn’t sit with us, he stood….I just find that odd and a little uncomfortable, as I have to keep craning my neck to make eye contact while he is speaking, kind of a strike two. He pours the first wine and my glass damn near froze…went frosty in a matter of seconds, the wines were ICE COLD….dude. I tried to warm them in the palm of my had which was taking forever and the wines were so freaking cold, I just could not warm them enough to actually smell anything…seriously, got nothing on the nose from any of them other than the Gewurztraminer, and even that was muted. Swishing in my mouth was less than fun because they were so cold it started to hurt my teeth…annoying as hell, that AND he kind of talked down to us, like we knew nothing, which I can overlook a bit and most people can tell after a few comments that I do in fact know a thing or two…hell, I’ve even been to Alsace a couple times, and they end the “lesson” this guy did not. He just stood there lecturing and “teaching” us about Alsace….done. The wines tasted fine, they were clean enough and they could have been interesting but any character was crushed by the freezing cold chill. Pushy, late, frozen wines and condescension…this is what NOT to do.
The rest of the day was fantastic, I was tasting wines from Kermit Lynch, Martine’s and Beaune Imports, a really thrilling tasting afternoon full of remarkable wines that wiped that other dudes yuck right off me, yay! So when my tasting day was done, it was time to get ready for our Thursday afternoon tasting, we were doing, California’s Other Whites, so the tasting was Bennett’s to set up and pour for and Amy and I could just sit back and sip the leftover Agrapart that Chuck, (our Beaune rep) left for us…we were so happy, so happy in fact that we opened a bottle of Roland Champion Blanc de Blancs to keep that happy going while we rang people up for the tasting. This is where the day begins to take a turn….she came in, the she that thought it was cool or funny to ruin my night by telling me the score of the Lakers game that I was taping, the one where the Lakers clinched the Western Conference Finals…yeah, her.
She has been in a few times since that evening and I have gone out of my way to keep my distance, not rude just distant and my fellow Wine Country staff has been very helpful in keeping us apart, I’m just not that into people that behave like that, not to mention she is seriously the biggest dork I have ever met, so it’s not like I would really spend much time talking to her anyway. She comes in tastes and leaves and I’m fine with that, it’s a perfect relationship that way….she should have just left well enough alone….she didn’t.
I went to the tasting table to run through Bennett’s wines, I make it a point to do so because I am so out of touch with California wines anymore, I’m working on correcting that. So I run through the wines and Bennett has to step away from the table to assist another customer, I was there anyway, so sure I could pour. Things were going fine, then I saw her, her talking to a group of other regular tasters, they kept looking over at me and whispering to each other, great. “Oh well” I thought, “maybe they will agree that she was wrong” and here she comes. I thought she was just ready for her next pour, yeah…she wanted to discuss the situation, which I might have been okay with, but this idiot wants to tell me how I overreacted, blew it out of proportion and was being ridiculous, so NOT the way to dissolve an argument.
I tried to keep my cool, I did but this twit was getting kind of in my face with her dorky clothes and middle school hairdo, little bits of spit gathering in the corners of her goofy little mouth, while she stood there, raising her voice telling me that no one is that into sports, she had never met anyone like me that cared that much, and the couple that was sitting next to her that night, (the couple that come to my bubbly tastings, ask for bigger pours and tell everyone within earshot that our little J. Laurens ($12.99) is just as good as the $60 Champagnes we are pouring…which is of course what they end up buying at the end of the night, that couple. The ones I purposely seat next to her so they can piss and moan together..but I should add, I do think they are nice people and they always add valuable conversation to my classes, just sure that their personal "feelings" about me really make or break my day) they too thought I was being silly by being mad about it.
I’m standing there, pouring for a tasting that wasn’t even mine, with the female equivalent of Napoleon Dynamite up in my face, the whole time telling me how I was wrong….I lost it and was seconds away from asking her to leave. We started kind of yelling back and forth, me yelling that just because you didn’t know how much it meant to me doesn’t make it right and her telling me I was being foolish. Had it been a store issue, I could have handled it better but this was personal and she was the one coming after me, she is seriously lucky the staff and a few other customers (that saw the whole thing and thinks she is a douche) were there to calm me down, one customer even wrapped his arms around me tightly and gave me little kisses on my neck while he told me what an asshole she is….it helped, I was seconds away from punching her in her spittle filled face. It was ugly and it is nowhere near being resolved.
The thing is, she did something to me, the person me, not the me that pours wine for her at The Wine Country, it was personal. Had she bitched about something work related I could handle it in work mode, had she just said, “well I’m sorry you took it that way” it would have been done, but to come after me and make this whole thing my fault and then act as if I should just suck it up because I work for the store…wrong, really wrong, she crossed a line.
I got out of there before I also crossed a line, yes I yelled and yes I argued with her but I could feel myself being pushed to the point of snapping, not about the Lakers game…it went way beyond that the second she got in my grill. It’s not for her to tell me what kind of person I am or how I should react to something, matter of fact, my life is none of her business…store person yes, Samantha Dugan as a person, a person that has never invited you to even talk to her about anything that was not Wine Country related, no and the second she went personal was the second she went too far…not taking that shit from anyone, let alone a dorky twit.
I got home in a complete rage, I have not wanted to punch someone so badly in years…I just hate that shit, people thinking they can treat retail workers or servers anyway they want and they just have to take it, well I’m not taking it and you can bet that I will be talking to the boss about it, as will the other customers that saw it…it’s not over, by a long shot.
I knew it was best to not sit home and stew, it would have just made me more angry so the hubby and I jumped in the car and met Amy and Sexy Bitch at Tracy’s to watch….yeah, the Lakers game. It was freaking AWESOME, there I was, with my friends, Martinis flowing, surrounded by a roomful of people screaming and cheering…seems like I’m not the only one after all. One rollercoaster of a day, crappy, amazing, more crappy then awesome, I’ll take a roomful of boozers screaming about a team they love over a dork wine drinker thinking she can treat people however she wishes, any day, and lady….you dodged a bullet, I suggest you just keep it to Wine Country business and stay the hell away from me…that is What To Do.