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AGarrison
03-20-2013, 18:04
I posted this question on one of my favorite blogs the other day:

I'm in my local store last Saturday, standing by another customer and a store clerk. The customer says, "I really am interested in knowing the distilleries and source of the whiskey I buy." The clerk proceeds to tell the customer that Bulleit makes great whiskey at their distillery and is part of Brown-Forman. Futhermore the clerk states Woodford Reserve is sourced and not made at their own distillery.

Question: Do you chime in to clear up the mis-statements and potentially lose a sale for the clerk?

The answer was really insightful:
"As for correcting ignorant strangers, that particular good deed almost never goes unpunished. Also, consider that they don't know who you are, so objectively they have no way of knowing who's right and who's wrong. Bite your tongue and walk away, or start a blog." http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-case-of-fleischmanns-rye.html


I hope he doesnt mind if I reprint his answer here, but it was so good I thought to share it with everyone.




http://whiskeylist.blogspot.com/ downloadable spreadsheet of over 1000 whiskies (rats! i dont qualify to get on SKU's list since I'm a database site. oh well)

squire
03-20-2013, 18:20
No, I completely disagree. When in that circumstance (I've been there) I immediately yet politely correct the misinformation, no one has ever mistaken me to be uninformed and I have always been thanked for providing the correct answers.

Actually, in the stores I frequent, if a customer were to ask such a question the clerk or owner would point to me and say, "ask that guy".

MyOldKyDram
03-20-2013, 18:40
I've tried. It's never been appreciated, by the clerk or the customer. I don't bother any longer.

michaelturtle1
03-20-2013, 19:14
If I am in my local store and someone has a question, the whisky monger generally points to me. If I am out and hear something erroneous, I keep my mouth shut as in the eyes of a random customer and random liquor store employee my opinion really doesn't mean anything no matter how right I am and how wrong they are.

BigBoldBully
03-20-2013, 19:55
Hate finding myself in these situations. If you say nothing, you feel guilty like a doctor just driving by a car wreck. If you say something, you might end up like brainy smurf.

black mamba
03-20-2013, 20:21
Now I'm confused. If BF makes Bulleit, why can't they make Woodford Reserve??? :70358-devil:

squire
03-20-2013, 20:42
Sure they can, just ask the clerk.

CaptainQ
03-20-2013, 21:32
Bite your tongue and move along. It won't do any good to educate the ignorant.

ErichPryde
03-20-2013, 22:01
I have a very good answer for you, if you're good with words and people. Depending upon how strongly I feel about the misinformation (and misinformation is my least favorite thing, right up there with slaughtering babies), I may approach the clerk after he is done talking to the customer and say one of the following:

"It seems like you're really into whiskey. Have you ever looked into straightbourbon.com? Lots of good information there!"

"I couldn't help but overhear you talking to that other customer, and I wanted to let you know that some of what you said was incorrect. (insert correct info here) Please don't take my word for it- this is verifiable (at reliable source)."

or something along those lines. Many times, the clerk really thinks they are sharing correct info- and it's all about approach. How good are you with people? How assertive? How likely to make them listen to you? If you come across as an authority and from a position of power without being threatening and make it clear that your intent is to HELP, not make them feel stupid, many people will listen.

This mitigates much of the damage of the misinformation, because even if the one customer leaves, at least the clerk will tell the next three the right info. Depending upon the customer, they may not remember. If it looks like they're seriously into whiskey, I may talk to them, too, who knows?

It's all about measuring your mark and suiting your words and body language to the task, and I rarely have an issue with it.

ErichPryde
03-20-2013, 22:03
It's funny you should mention Bulleit, because I heard the same thing from a shop owner who said he liked the new rye they were distilling. Said he got the information directly from a rep of the distillery. :/

TheNovaMan
03-21-2013, 00:20
That's interesting, because I've heard that Bulleit buys their rye from MGP, which used to be LDI. In fact, I don't know of any 95% rye that isn't MGP juice.

And then go from there...

MauiSon
03-21-2013, 00:30
Deep Thought: Civilization is built on lies, myths and fantasies. Destroy or dispel them and gird your loins for the anarchy of reality.

squire
03-21-2013, 04:04
Yes, gray hair, an air of authority, a facility with words, gentlemanly demeanor and politeness get the point across without causing offense.

The main thing is sincerity, once you learn to fake that the rest is easy.

T Comp
03-21-2013, 04:40
The words "Templeton and Iowa made" make it hard to stay silent. A smart phone to prove your point helps at least to the store clerk...most of the customers could care less about correct information. And if you don't know AG...Cowdery is a regular contributor here including 2002 BOTY.

Dolph Lundgren
03-21-2013, 05:30
Iíve corrected (out-of-town) clerks on both Templeton and Bulleit, and I canít help but think that I came off as a pretentious know-it-all. Iíve found that if the person is inquisitive, go ahead and chime in (casually) because the person will probably appreciate the information, but if the clerk is spouting off some nonsense and the customer is eating it up, best to keep quiet.

Thad is right - most customers don't care (and want something they can shoot, not sip).

SFS
03-21-2013, 06:10
Depending upon how strongly I feel about the misinformation (and misinformation is my least favorite thing, right up there with slaughtering babies)...

Misinformation is also my least favorite thing, but as stated earlier, no good deed goes unpunished, so long ago I decided to replace the criterion of "how strongly I feel about the misinformation" with a different filter: I only correct misinformation related to a) my professional settings or b) me personally. I've found that people spouting nonsense (those with benign intent anyway) are usually either simply ignorant of the facts or are attempting to provide themselves with the illusion of control over their environment in some way. Members of the former category often don't appreciate the facts being pointed out, as they feel made wrong. Members of the latter category wish to remain free of facts, as their minds are already made up.

omgmarclol
03-21-2013, 08:52
Misinformation is also my least favorite thing, but as stated earlier, no good deed goes unpunished, so long ago I decided to replace the criterion of "how strongly I feel about the misinformation" with a different filter: I only correct misinformation related to a) my professional settings or b) me personally. I've found that people spouting nonsense (those with benign intent anyway) are usually either simply ignorant of the facts or are attempting to provide themselves with the illusion of control over their environment in some way. Members of the former category often don't appreciate the facts being pointed out, as they feel made wrong. Members of the latter category wish to remain free of facts, as their minds are already made up.

i have the same philosophy.

Yeti
03-21-2013, 09:07
The main thing is sincerity, once you learn to fake that the rest is easy.

Regardless of context, this is one of the greatest things I've ever read.

TomH
03-21-2013, 09:15
The words "Templeton and Iowa made" make it hard to stay silent. A smart phone to prove your point helps at least to the store clerk...most of the customers could care less about correct information. And if you don't know AG...Cowdery is a regular contributor here including 2002 BOTY.

I may be a little bit of a PITA, but I've taken great delight at visiting Templeton's table at events like WhiskyFest when they are pitching their marketing to a good size group and asking for a pour of some of that great Hoosier made whiskey.

squire
03-21-2013, 09:42
Give 'em enough rope and they will hang themselves.

Quantum
03-21-2013, 09:45
Whenever I see someone ask a whiskey related question, I tell them to buy the most expensive Crown they can afford and advise they stay away from that old grandpa 114 stuff. Store clerks usually seem fine with this, and if the customer doesn't laugh in my face I assume they wouldn't know what to do with good advice anyway.

On serious note, if I hear an answer that is so wrong it bothers me, I tried to be good natured and say something like "A while bad I heard something about it actually being _____". If they seem receptive I follow up, but if not I let it drop.

P&MLiquorsEric
03-21-2013, 10:05
He could be partially right with Woodford or at least he was correct at some point. WF was Old Forester for the first few years of its life. Same owner in Brown Foreman but different distilleries. In fact, there is still some debate over whether all the juice in WR was made in Versailles. Im of the opinion that it isnt.

As a store owner, I try to ensure we give good information. Often times customers come to us with information that is inaccurate and we do our best to politely correct. However with some folks, ignorance is bliss.

gatsby
03-21-2013, 10:16
I'm always amazed at how uneducated most liquor store tellers are about bourbon. The other day I was in one of my regular liquor stores to inquire about whether they might be receiving some Elijah Craig 12 SB (which they had no idea was even being released) and there was a rep from Diageo there doing Bulleit tastings. I got to chatting with her and she asked what types of whiskeys I like. I told her that I try to drink as many different whiskeys as I can but I probably drink Eagle Rare most often. I then told her that I had started to get into the different single barrel offerings by Four Roses and that they had some very interesting and different bourbons. Being unfamiliar with the brand/distillery, she was very surprised when I told her the juice in the Bulleit bourbons was actually made at Four Roses.

matthewdc
03-21-2013, 10:38
Whenever I hear misinformation--it's usually from the store clerk to me--I just simply smile and nod and move on.

Now there are a few store around here that I shop semi-regularly that are super knowledgeable and I'll end up chatting with them for 20-30 mins and often times we learn from each other, which is really neat. So it just depends on the store on whether to weigh in or not.

WAINWRIGHT
03-21-2013, 11:12
I find in most cases you can tell if a customer is buying what they have just been fed or not and approach in these regards.I find at most of our local shops if there is a question the manager will lead them my way,don't always have the answers and never pretend to.I enjoy helping when I can and some will even come back and ask more questions,I always lead them to SB and some will even pull out their phone and do a quick search.

Brisko
03-21-2013, 11:16
Liquor store clerks are rivaled only by distillery tour guides as fonts of misinformation:rolleyes:

I generally don't get involved in correcting them or fellow customers. Typically the farther from the truth the claim is, the more dearly it is held.

I have had genuinely profitable conversations with clerks who are getting into bourbon themselves. I've made suggestions based on my own experience that have been ultimately appreciated.

squire
03-21-2013, 11:21
I'm not surprised, a rep's job is to move the goods whether that be whisky, lawnmowers or personal hygiene products. Too much detailed discussion might get in the way of their sales presentation.

P&MLiquorsEric
03-21-2013, 11:33
I'm always amazed at how uneducated most liquor store tellers are about bourbon. The other day I was in one of my regular liquor stores to inquire about whether they might be receiving some Elijah Craig 12 SB (which they had no idea was even being released) and there was a rep from Diageo there doing Bulleit tastings. I got to chatting with her and she asked what types of whiskeys I like. I told her that I try to drink as many different whiskeys as I can but I probably drink Eagle Rare most often. I then told her that I had started to get into the different single barrel offerings by Four Roses and that they had some very interesting and different bourbons. Being unfamiliar with the brand/distillery, she was very surprised when I told her the juice in the Bulleit bourbons was actually made at Four Roses.

When diagio sends reps for tasting, with few exceptions, the girl is not there to spread knowledge.

gatsby
03-21-2013, 12:14
When diagio sends reps for tasting, with few exceptions, the girl is not there to spread knowledge.

I understand that, she's there to advertise and sell a product. I would, however, still expect her to know about the product she's selling whether she's sharing the knowledge or not.

tigerlam92
03-21-2013, 15:07
Very funny thread and a lot of good advice here.

When I was younger I had expected some of the bigger and nicer stores would have their employees do tasting and talk to reps of distillery to understand the minute and significant tasting notes of what they are selling but this is probably rare and few.

When I was naive or just started on bourbon I had hope that if I said I like this bottle because of this and that, then they can recommend me something similar to try.

Work sometime but most time not. SB answers everything. So later on, I just send them to SB as well.

Cheers
Hugh

jtexaslonestar
03-21-2013, 15:48
As I was perusing through the bourbon's of a store in Roswell, a store employee, probably 50ish, came over and started talking to me about certain products that they had received recently and asked me what I preferred. He started to suggest certain bottles, so I gave him my opinion about some of the pricing vs. my enjoyment factor with which I had issues (Hudson's, BTEC, etc). After he had listened, actually listened, he determined that I wasn't in there to grab a handle and 2-liters of Coke(not knocking anyone's preference...too badly). What was surprising is that he started asking me questions, such as: If a customer likes Bourbon X but not the price, what other brand could I recommend that would be similar?, Why did we get all this Templeton Rye(he really asked, they had a lot), et al. I had a nice conversation with him, although my wife was curious as to what took so long getting home.:grin: As a bonus, he asked me for my name and number to put on their PVW call list. :cool:

OscarV
03-21-2013, 15:57
I have to admit that I have not read a single post in this thread but I had to add something because it's so F'ing funny.
"Liquor Store Etiquette",....the title alone is funny as hell, so what more do you want?...........ah blunt wrapper and a double shot and some numbers.

Barclay Beach
03-21-2013, 17:38
I used to throw a softball question out there to see if the given clerk knew anything. Like, "Can you recommend a wheated bourbon?" Time and time again, I was disappointed. Eventually, I gave up on the fantasy of meeting a bourbon "guru" working at a store. Then, I found SB.com... :bowdown:

Nowadays, I fall firmly into the camp of biting my tongue. Nobody likes unsolicited advice from a know-it-all. :Clever:

squire
03-21-2013, 17:43
Yeah, those know it alls can be a pain, especially the old curmudgeonly ones.

SFS
03-21-2013, 17:45
...although my wife was curious as to what took so long getting home.:grin: As a bonus, he asked me for my name and number to put on their PVW call list. :cool:

Gotta love it when putting in the overtime gets you a bonus.

darylld911
03-21-2013, 17:54
I would probably take the selfish approach of weighing the mistake. I mean - if the clerk is recommending garbage to the uneducated shopper, who might otherwise pick up something decent in short supply, I might chime in with support for the clerk - a little "You got that right buddy! Won't got wrong with that Wild Turkey 81 Rye!" and then throw my hand up for a high five (and if he leaves you hanging for a few seconds, you make an insistent bobble-head motion while gently rolling your eyes).

HighHorse
03-21-2013, 18:18
/The main thing is sincerity, once you learn to fake that the rest is easy.

Oh my! Just when I think you can't top your last post you come up with this one! :slappin:
Squire, they need to bronze you and put you in the SB Hall of Fame!

AGarrison
03-21-2013, 18:36
In the end I wished I had taken Chuck's advice. Instead I mentioned that Bulleit is made by Four Roses. The clerk interjected that "... but Four Roses is Brown-Forman so its still right." I smiled and slid on down the isle a ways, leaving the two to their discussion.

If the customer really wants to know about bourbon, he will find this forum and all will be revealed anyways.




http://whiskeylist.blogspot.com/ downloadable spreadsheet of over 1000 whiskies (Come on SKU, you really want to add me to your blog list, dont ya?)

black mamba
03-21-2013, 20:10
Deep Thought: Civilization is built on lies, myths and fantasies. Destroy or dispel them and gird your loins for the anarchy of reality.

Sounds like you just finished a whiskey soaked marathon of the Matrix movies. Been there, done that!

mosugoji64
03-21-2013, 20:33
It's probably best to get to know the staff before you start offering advice. That way you can determine how receptive they might be to information. Otherwise, you're just wasting your time. It's a lot of fun talking to people who share your interests, but you come off as an ass to those who couldn't care less. :rolleyes:

tanstaafl2
03-22-2013, 13:40
When diagio sends reps for tasting, with few exceptions, the girl is not there to spread knowledge.


I understand that, she's there to advertise and sell a product. I would, however, still expect her to know about the product she's selling whether she's sharing the knowledge or not.

They generally know what they have been told and little more. Sure, there are exceptions but not that many.

Now think about that same type of rep pedaling pharmaceuticals to your doctor...

They were always worth a laugh or two!

Special Reserve
03-22-2013, 13:54
I've heard it said "you should ask him, he knows a lot more about bourbon than I do". Of course I have my likes and dislikes. I always suggest OWA to someone who is getting started.