How to offend customers

There is a sparkling red wine from Italy called Birbet, and BJ loves it. We were going over to her house for dinner, and wanted to bring her a bottle. You can’t get this stuff at the grocery store or BevMo, it’s relatively rare.  I thought I’d try Prima Vini, the wine store attached to the restaurant Prima in Walnut Creek.

This was last Friday, the day after New Year.  I tried calling the store, and got the answering machine.  Lots of options to leave messages for the owner, the sommeilier, the marketing person, the restaurant, anyone you could imagine except the wine shop.  I called again.  And again.  Never could get through to a person.  I left a message for the owner, asking if they carried Birbet.

Then, still not having an answer, I drove to the store in downtown Walnut Creek. Miraculously found a parking space, fed the meter.  Walked up to the door and found a handwritten notice that they were closed January 1 and 2.  I can’t imagine the logic of this, but that’s life.

Monday, I tried again.  Called the store, got the answering machine.  Same multiplicity of options, none of which included talking to anyone who actually sells wine. Being stubborn, I once again drove to the store,  Parked. Fed meter.  Walked to store.  Found this:

Another professionally made sign.

Another professionally made sign.

Reaching a new level of high dudgeon, I went into the restaurant and tried discussing the situation with the hostess.  She rapidly assessed the situation and went to find a manager, who was not surprisingly missing in action.  Or hiding under the sink.

Remember the message I left the owner on Friday?  I haven’t gotten any response.  He can’t be bothered to call me back to tell me if they have the wine or not.

If for some reason you want to close your store unexpectedly, it might be wise to at least mention that fact on your phone message, showing some consideration for your customers.  Having a phone system that lets people talk to the store would be useful.  Returning your phone messages is basic good manners. Hiring managers who can take the heat and talk to upset customers rather than hiding out in the kitchen is what owners are supposed to do.  Prima Vini falls down on all of these.

I still like P as a place to eat dinner.  Hell will be freezing over before I set foot in the wine store again.  Is it really so hard to show a bit of consideration for the customers the so desperately desire?

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2 thoughts on “How to offend customers

  1. If the restaurant has the same owners as the wine shop, you should also stop patronizing the food side. Plenty of other spots, as you well know. And be sure to mention to them that your absence is due to the poor performance of their “other division”. And remember, it was the restaurant manager that ducked you. Forget them all.

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