First Day On The Floor

So before I can tell you about my first day working on the floor at Wine Library you need some perspective. If you have never been to the store, well it is immense. Check out the pics for a better idea of the scale:

Wine Library
This is a view from the mezzanine looking down to the main floor. (photos by Jeff Schwartz)
The Wine Room
This is the separate room where we keep the high end stuff…and it’s nice and chilly in there too. (photos by Jeff Schwartz)

Hopefully this gives you some idea of how big this place is. So here I am my first shift out on the floor with customers and this is what I have to navigate. I was a little nervous but I have to give huge props to AM and KM for having spent time with me prior to this shift, really showing me around and helping me get a feel for the layout. Also the patience of all of the staff there, I may have asked more questions then the customers. Just the high end room is the size of most wine shops I’ve been in. If you have never been here to experience the customer service you need to make the trip. Every guest is greeted and asked if they need help (probably more times then some would like) but that is the company way and I love it.

My first few interactions were relatively mundane, along the lines of ‘Where is the Santa Margarita?’ or ‘What do you have in a box?’ But as the day went on I got really help some people. I loved the customers who had a cart and just wanted help finding some good value wines to fill it or suggestions on pairings. It is so much fun to turn someone on to something new or to show someone how many choices are in their budget. I gave one woman a brief lesson on German Riesling Prädikats and she couldn’t wait to show off her new knowledge to her “know it all” friend. I helped a gentleman pick out a birthday wine. He was really looking to impress with a big Napa red but wanted to stay under $100. We found him a 2006 Haber Family Cabernet that delivers cult (Dominus, Shafer, etc.) quality for a little less money…not cheap by any means. I got a little giddy as I realized I sold an $80 bottle of wine, and glad that it was $20 less than his budget and would make them happy. But my mind was really blown when I helped this nice quiet french gentleman. He had two bottles in his cart and asked me to help him find a Rosé. We settled on a Tavel that is imported by Kermit Lynch, he wanted a case but we only had 11 bottles left so he took them. Then he proceeded to take the last bottles we had of two Sancerre’s. Followed by two cases of Burgundy. My first day and I made an $1800 sale, and I thought to myself ‘holy crap this is going to be fun.’ Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not all about the numbers. The customer I helped who wanted ‘something light for under $10’ deserved and received the same respect and attention as this guy. I took joy in helping anyone regardless of their wallet but let’s be honest, stuffing someone’s cart and calling up multiple cases for this guy was fun and a bit of a rush.

So that was my first day in a nutshell. Hopefully many more to come and I’m sure there will be some funny and interesting stories as well. I certainly have some more work to do as there are probably close to 10,000 wines in that place. Any good wine shop stories you would like to share?

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~ by Jeff Paradise on September 6, 2010.

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