Monday, November 23, 2009

BevMo vs. Total Wine

On Sunday night, I stopped by Total Wine on my way home. I'm in need of a new keg, and I wanted to see what they had before I stopped at the BevMo. I planned to be in and out in a few minutes. I would have been because there wasn't much to choose from. However, on my way to the checkout line, I happened upon a treasure box. A treasure box filled with Oktoberfest.

There were 6 packs of Left Hand Oktoberfest, Shipyard Pumkin Ale, Weihenstephaner Festbier, Gordon Biersch FestBier, Paulaner Oktoberfest, and a few others.

I instantly grabbed a 6 pack of Flying Dog's Dogtoberfest for $7.99 and put it in a cart. Then I noticed another 6 pack of Dogtoberfest with a pink tag which read, $1.00 off. So I grabbed that one too. At the next register, there were a bunch of single bottles available. I picked a few other beers, then noticed that there were 3 single bottles of Dogtoberfest, priced at $1.09 each.

Lets do some math here. 6 bottles at $1.09 is $6.54. But the 6 pack is going to cost me $6.99. Shouldn't it be the other way around? I think it should. So I wanted to find out.

I loaded up my cart and wheeled it over to the Managers station where Marlene was standing. I stood there being ignored for a good few minutes until I finally said, "excuse me."

Marlene finally looked at me and said, "yes", in a dismissive tone.

Me: "Are all the Oktoberfest beers on sale?"
Marlene: "The ones with stickers."
Me: "Some have stickers, and some don't."
Marlene: "Only the ones with stickers are $1 off."
Me: "But they are the same thing. So only certain ones are $1 off?"
Marlene: "Only the ones with the $1 sticker are on sale. They are from last season and we're trying to get rid of them."
Me: "Ok."

I was still confused. There must have been 8 or 10 six packs of the Dogtoberfest there, but only 2 of them had the pink $1 off stickers. I couldn't imagine that they were the only two 6 packs on sale. Then there were the other beers. Some Paulaners had tags and others didn't. Same for the Left Hand and the Breckenridge Fall Ales. Some were tagged and others were not.

I wanted to ask her a few more questions, but I could tell she didn't want to help me. She was getting very short, and very snippy with me at this point. But I asked a few more questions anyway.

Me: "There are some single bottles priced at $1.09. That is cheaper than buying a 6 pack."

Marlene: "Ok."

Me: "Can I buy single bottles from the 6 pack then or get them at at $1.09 price as well?"
Marlene: "No!"

I was a little shocked by her demeanor. This isn't the help nor attitude I would expect from a manager helping a customer trying to purchase MORE beer.

Me: "Do you have any more single bottles then?"
Marlene: "That's all we have."
Me: "I just want to make sure, because it ends up being cheaper to buy single bottles instead of 6 at a time."
Marlene: "Then buy them that way!"

Wow, I was amazed by her complete lack of profesionalism. She obviously didn't want to help me, and made it known by her rude replies. If I wasn't such a big fan of the beers, I would have walked out buying nothing.

So I spend the next 5 minutes searching each check out line for the single bottles priced at the $1.09. At one point a young lady asked if I was ready to check out, and that she could help me if I was. I told her I was just about ready, but I was searching for single bottles because they were cheaper that buying 6 at a time. She said no problem, and for me to let her know when I was ready.

Some Flying Dog and Four bottles of Dogfish Head Punkin Ale later, I got in line.

The young lady started to scan each individual bottle. The first one scanned in at $1.49. I said that it's supposed to be $1.09, not $1.49. She stopped, looked at the bottle, and said she would have here manager fix it. She walked over to her as I stood there waiting.

The young lady came back and told me that her manager would fix it in a minute. She then proceeded to scan the rest of the bottles. Again, each one scanned it at $1.49. Then she asked if I wanted the 6 packs scanned in 1 at a time since it would be cheaper that way. I said "sure, that would be great." So she grabbed the first one, and it scanned in at $10.99.

I was starting to get a little adgitated at this point. I told her that was the wrong price, and it was even the wrong beer. The scanner said it was Flying Dog K9 istead of the Dogtpberfest. The poor young lady looked puzzled and again asked me to wait why she went to talk to her manager.

Another few minutes later, they both returned to the checkout line. The manager, Marlene, asked what the problem was. I told her that the bottles were scanning in at $1.49 instead of the $1.09 as advertised, and that the 6 pack was scanning in at $10.99 instead of the $6.99 on the side of the carton. Then she got mean.

Marlene: "Where does it say that price?"
Me: "Right here, on the tag stuck to the shelf.....Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Marzen $1.09."
Marlene: "Then what's wrong with this one?"
Me: "It says Flying Dog K9 for $10.99, when it's Dogtoberfest for $6.99."

Marlene then walks over to the shelf, and rips the tag off. Then she shuts the register off, and tells the young lady that she needs to start all over again. That poor girl had to start scanning each bottle of Dogtoberfest again.

She picks up the first bottle, scanns it at $1.49, then the next, and then another. Then she picks one of the bottles from the 6 pack carton and scans it in.

Marlene stops her, and says, "I already talked to him before. I told him he couldn't do that." She then turns to me, and starts pointing at me. "I told you before you can't do that!"

This is when I got mad. What is wrong with this woman? She is getting loud, and pointing, and accusing me of something I didn't do. I'm the customer. Did she forget that?

I told her that the young lady offered to scan them 1 at a time because it would be cheaper, and I said that would be great. Marlene's face was turning red, and I felt like I was being disciplined for cheating on a test or something.

I told Marlene that I didn't ask for the bottles to be scanned 1 at a time. "Your employee offered to do it." I told her to stop pointing at me and accusing me of something.

At this point, I was done. I put my wallet back in my pocket and was ready to walk out. I was mad and shocked that this Total Wine store manager was talking to me like this. I was a customer, and she was treating me like this. Customers were staring, employees were watching. It was a complete scene!

Then something popped into my head. I thought of BevMo, and Alan Johnson. I knew Mr. Johnson would never stand for this. At that point, I felt guilt. I felt guilty for being there, for buying beer there, and for allowing this to escalate to that level. Then I realized that this would be a great story for BevMo and Alan Johnson to hear about. So I pulled my wallet out again, and stood there quietly while the scared young lady rescanned all the beer, correctly this time.

The other customers behind me quitely backed their cart out of line, and moved to another register.

As I paid and loaded up my cart, the manager told the young lady, "When you are done here, I need to talk to you." I felt so bad for her. This girl was just trying to do her job, and do it well. She was even offering to take out the trash before I got into her check out line. She asked twice while I was searching for the single bottles. The manager, Marlene never even responded to her. It was sad.

I left the store in shock, and still a little upset about what just happened. To make myself feel better, I stopped off at the BevMo and picked up a 6 pack of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. Tomorrow, I'm going back to order my kegs.



Jenny said...

Aw man, this totally sucks! I don't even know this place and I know if I ever saw it I would stay away from it. What a terrible experience!

Alan said...

Aweful experience. Thanks for the heads up. Next time don't be tempted to go anywhere other than BevMo.

All the best hope you are felling better!


Good Burp said...

Alan, you have nothing to worry about. What was going to be a comparison piece, ended up being an eye opener.

I'm ordering on Friday. Let's see how it works out this time.

Rob said...

Mr. Good Burp, your experience was quite uncharacteristic yet nonetheless very unacceptable by anyone's standards.

Please allow us to make it right. I invite you to please contact me at rhill -at- totalwine -dot- com with your contact information so that we can contact you directly.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.


Anonymous said...

Today, on our way home we passed a Bevmo & Total Wine, near one another. New to the neighborhood, yet faithful Bevmo customers, my husband & I agreed we'd like to check out Total Wine next time around. After reading of your experience we've both changed our minds. We will NOT be visiting Total Wine now nor in the future. Thanks for the heads-up!!!

Alan said...


We appreciate your loyalty.

Our Bevmo Team will constantly strive to surprise and delight you and work hard to keep earning your much appreciated loyalty.

All the best

Kels Bells said...
This comment has been removed by the author.