And can quickly be destroyed.
“But, but he promised” Jeremy when he was about eight years old, in tears and completely heartbroken. A close friend of his had promised him something or other and reneged or backed out leaving my sweet son in utter disbelief and dismay. I remember scooping him up on my lap, resting his head upon my chest so he could feel as well as hear the words that I knew I needed to share with him, “Trust and promises, they don’t mean as much to some people as they do to you and I baby” a life lesson I knew he would someday discover but had hoped would be further out and maybe just a little less crushing. I had no idea what I was doing when I was raising my son in the beginning, but there were a couple of things I wanted to instill very early on, trust and knowing that if I promised him something he could have complete faith that it was true, that was on the very top of my list. And so it went for us, his fears soothed at times when I could promise him that everything was going to be okay, and as he grew older him returning that trust by being honest with me about what he was up to….with a few teenage hiccups of course but all in all, we’ve earned each other’s trust and protected that fiercely, even when, at times, those truths were hard to hear. On that foundation we’ve built the strongest love I’ve ever known. My heart is forever his and suspect his is mine as well. An extremely powerful thing that trust.
Never given it freely myself trust, been on the other side of true evil one too many times for me to just give that up right away. I protect myself, my sanity and heart, maybe too much at times, but I just can’t hand my trust over to anyone with a sweet smile, charm or slick tongue. I’ve got a big dumb heart and it is yours once earned but fuck me over, lie to me and make me feel foolish for believing in you, well that dumb heart will brokenly wise up quick. I can suffer fools, clowns, moody and emotional people, have loved many of all of those in fact but I will not suffer people that lie or don’t trust me enough with the truth. Just can’t do it. Life is way too short to spend it trying to sift through half-truths, flat out bullshit and that double-speak that tries to spin things and make you feel like the asshole for questioning. If I love and trust you, give me everything, even the things you fear I won’t like, chances are, if I do really care for you, that I’m going to be on your side. Will feel safe enough with you to know that there was a reason or story behind, whatever, and accept and love you anyway. Doesn’t seem that hard to me, in fact it seems way, way the fuck easier than all that other nonsense. So it turns out, this staunch belief in just being honest, works out really well in my chosen profession.
“You’ve never steered me wrong” I am lucky enough to hear that at least once a week, most weeks more than that and there is something so powerful and affirming about that. Just as there was when a very regular and loyal customer let me know that something I sold her was not at all to her liking, “I hated that” she told me and I nearly hugged her for it. Sure we all love the accolades but the, “Yuck that was awful” is just as important to hear. For a wine merchant to properly pick out wines for you, for you and your palate, we need to hear the truth and the whole truth. If we whiff on a recommendation, let us know, we won’t get our feelings hurt or think you’re wrong, how can you be wrong about your own palate?! We need to know in fact, to ensure that we don’t make those mistakes when picking wines for you again. A good wine shop has only your interest at heart, we have to otherwise why would you come back?! This is always on my mind when tasting wines and dealing with suppliers as well….
“Oh come on, it’s not that bad and most people won’t even know. Look, you can make some quick money and once it’s gone it’s gone” a supplier in my ear trying to talk me into bringing in a wine that was butt-suckingly dreadful but on deal and super cheap. Look, we are all looking for ways to bring in a blast of quick cash, especially right now but for me, can’t taste a wine like that, even knowing that I can sell it for fifteen dollars and double my money, without asking myself, “At what expense?” Sure I could buy this well-known wine that’s being sold at a quarter of its regular price, because it is tasting tired, stack it and make a pile of quick cash….but what happens when someone asks me about it? I’m going to tell them that it tastes like ass and they shouldn’t buy it, which in turn will have that customer asking themselves why it’s there but….I have to be honest if I want to have my customers trust me right? That pile of untouched “Money making” wine would still be there, dusty and getting more tired by the week because I simply cannot fuck with the trust my customers have bestowed upon us…..I’ll leave that to Total Wine and their direct import, private label plonk. Unlike that mega corporation we don’t have a million dollars to lose building our business. We only have word or mouth and our reputation….not about to screw with that for a few bucks.
The upside for our customers is they can rest assured that if a wine is there in the shop, it’s because one of us loved it, wanted to share it and knew a bunch of palates it would be perfect for, not because we are trying to snake oil you. Trust me on that.