Friday, January 23, 2009

Lazy Retailers

Well, another week has passed and I still have not gotten out to do any tasting this year. Why not you ask? Especially now that I'm unemployed? Despite the huge number of retailers in the Portland area most do not submit their specific tastings to the newspaper nor do they update their websites often enough.
There is a section in Tuesday's Oregonian called FOODday and, among other things, there is a section for wine tastings. Why anyone would turn down a free listing for an event in their store is beyond me, but there are people listed every week only saying that a wine tasting will occur on Friday from 4-7pm, for example. No announcement of the wines, or theme. In some cases a theme is announced and a tasting fee mentioned, but not the specific wines. I suppose the hope is that people will show up no matter what. You can certainly call for details, but why make customers take an extra step? No wonder some of those tastings are less than effective. A recent listing for a shop I had never heard of does not match the event listed on their web site. A second listing for the same week has times that do not match - 2-4 or 5-8. Take your time, choose carefully.
Retailers take a bit of a risk in posting/e-mailing exact lineups because it can be easy to simply skip the event. I have skipped two weeks of one of my favorite tasting events in Portland because the wines didn't stand up well to the terrible traffic I fight to get there.
Even the supposed 'best' shop in Portland (the emperor has no clothes in my opinion) lists their events, but no price. What if I get all the way there and it turns out to be $30? One retailer, still open, still lists tastings from 2006 on their website! Only a handful post fairly specific wines and prices to taste while keeping that section up to date on their website.
I don't want twenty newsletters coming to my inbox, and I'm in the business. I want to be able to know where to go for what appeals to me and how much I'm going to spend. Oh, and I'd like all of this information more than 24 hours in advance. Sounds reasonable to me. How about it Portland?!?
Grocery stores are the worst offenders. Unless you shop there regularly there is no way to find out about any event going on in store, even then it can be a challenge. Perhaps that's their goal, but I would much rather have someone come to my store and buy only wine, rather than that same person not come through the doors at all.
I don't expect people to take out ads, but you are missing opportunities to get the wine drinking public in your door, potentially spending money.

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