Tuesday, June 1, 2010

That Customer #4.5: The Unreliable Witness (Part 2)

In an earlier That Customer #4 post, I set out some of the reasons why it may be difficult to find that great white wine you had last week at a restaurant that was from Italy or maybe Spain with a blue heart on the label or maybe it was a fish but you’ll know it when you’ll see it.

Even if you remember the country, you’re still going to have difficulties remember the wine. Especially if it’s from France.  The following real life example is especially instructive. It’s also amusing, but let’s just assume I’m sharing it because it’s instructive.

Real Life Example: That Customer #4.5:

So That Customer #4.5 comes in. He’s just getting into wine and he’s super excited because he had something the other night that he really enjoyed. It was the first red he’d ever had that he actually liked and he wanted to get another bottle or two.

What he remembered:

The wine was from France.
And it had a fancy house on the label.
And he’d know it when he saw it.

So he walks over to the France section. And he sees a bottle with a fancy house on the label. Chateau something-or-other.

That’s it! (Major excitement! Huge!)

And then he looks at the bottle next to it. Which is also called Chateau something-or-other. And has a fancy house on it.

Or maybe it’s that one. (A little less excitement.)

And then he looks to the bottle next to that one. Another fancy house. Same as the next one. And the next one. And the one above it. And below it.

Now he’s bummed. And we’re bummed because he's bummed. The excitement has rapidly drained away.

This is because about 45.65% of the bottles from France have fancy houses on the label. Another 32.14% feature some sort of clever drawing and obscure French-language pun. And the remaining 22.21% have no defining features whatsoever*.

So as much as we wanted to help him, there wasn’t much we could do. Well, there was plenty we could do – we had him describe the wine as best he could and gave him something we thought he would like. But if we knew the specific wine (or grape, or region) he was looking for, we would have had a very helpful reference point.

There is a moral to the story:

The next time you taste something you like, just write it down or take a picture. Chances are even if you’re carrying around some last-generation mobile phone, you have a camera or some sort of memo function. This little step will save you from being a bummed out That Customer #4.5.

Instead, you can be That Customer #4.6, who emailed us a photo of a bottle he was trying to track down. We looked it up, found the distributor, placed an order and voile – Customer #4.6 was soon the proud owner of a case of his heart’s desire. (Which did NOT have a house on the label.)

* This numbers are 100% ficticious (at least as far as I know.)  Please don't tell me you took them seriously.


Todd said...

Credit to you for not convincing him it was the Haut-Brion!

Christy said...

Ha! We like our customers to come back...and have something to spend on the next bottle!