Monday, August 17, 2009

Service? Ummm...Hello? Anyone?

So I was just in Chicago recently & I visited a couple wineshops. It's a disease really. Every time I go anywhere I have to do a little...ok a lot....of vino shopping because I'm curious what's out there that I wouldn't have access to in my shop. Since Kelly was with me I did my best to restrain myself & didn't spend too much time in both stores. My first experience was great. We went to UnCork It downtown near the lake. Its a relatively small store but considering that its downtown (expensive leases!) its pretty good size. They had a nicely eclectic selection & I wasn't there five minutes until I had 3 bottles in my hand. Soon thereafter a nice woman walked up to me & asked if I needed any help. She was very friendly & knowledgeable & led me to a bottle of Andrew Rich Roussanne 2006 Columbia Valley, WA $18.99. She also suggested some winebars we should visit while we were in the 'hood. All in all, a perfect example of Customer Service...good customer service.

The next day we went to Binny's, it is the leading wine/liquor retail company in Chicagoland with locations all over the city & suburbs. As soon as we walked into the South Loop location I knew that this place was something different. It had a deep selection & a clean, sleek, well labeled sales floor. There seemed to be a small handful of salesman milling about the front & one that was helping a well dressed man in the Champagne section. No one said hello or greeted us in anyway or so much as gave us a second glance. Was it that we weren't dressed in a tie & slacks? Did we look like we weren't going to spend some serious $$? Regardless of what it was there is no excuse for not at least saying "Hi! Welcome to (blank)." or "Do you need any help today or have any questions?" Ridiculous! I don't care how much a customer spends. There is no excuse for not greeting them or asking them if they need any assistance. After 15 minutes of being there, & not getting so much as a glance in our direction, I asked a salesman if they had any Txakolina. He took me over to the Spanish section & showed me 3 bottles. He didn't offer any information at all & was about to walk away until I asked him "Well which one do you like the best & why". He said "Uhh I like this one" as he pointed to the most expensive one. I ended up buying it but C'MON! That's all you got! Just point your stubby pale finger at the most expensive bottle? Ridiculous. Its obvious that this guy didn't even know anything about these wines otherwise he would offered a little more information. Or maybe he thought "ehh whats the point of wasting my time with these two? They don't look like they're going to spend any $$." It makes me so freaking mad just thinking about it! The woman at the checkout was the only bright light. She was nice, friendly, smiling & sweet. I want to call Binny's & tell them to put that woman on the floor, I don't care if she knows anything about wine they can teach her. It's painfully obvious that their level of service is SEVERELY lacking. What a shame, all that wine deserves better stewardship.


Benito said...

If you ever want truly horrible service, go to Pennsylvania or Ohio. Penn is worse, but both operate with "State Liquor Board" stores, making the wine-buying experience about as much fun as going to the DMV. At least in Ohio you can go to a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's for some friendly faces, but any place selling actual liquor in addition to wine falls under the control of the state government. And at least in Ohio, most of them don't take credit cards.

Craziest experience was just north of Toledo over the Michigan border. I just wanted a bottle of wine, and Michigan has much looser laws, so there's nothing available on the Ohio side. I went to the closest liquor store, which turned out to be a combination bait shop, porn shop, and wine shop.


Michael Hughes said...

I love those stories. People need to hear that Tennessee isn't the worst state when it comes to alcohol. It could be worse!

Samantha Dugan said...

I hate crappy service and our industry is FULL of it...freaking snobs! Sorry you had to deal with that and as a store should call.

That is awesome, bait, porn and wine...perfect.

Benito said...

Forgot to mention that of the three retail categories on sale there, all were pretty sad and desperate--we're not talking established, respectable name brands here. I think I was most offended as a fisherman. Who buys a jug full of dead minnows or a pint of lethargic earthworms?