I want to like Hops n Grapes, honest, I really do. It’s my closest wine store. It’s way better than Canal’s on the Black Horse Pike and I even give it the edge over Monster Beverage, their neighbor in Glassboro. It’s just that there is something that irks me about their daily “e-mail specials” and this false sense of urgency they try to create in order to get what basically amounts to “two dollars” off of a bottle of mediocre wine. I know I am going to hear from Patrick on this one!!
What bothers me most though is that recently, with each visit, I find some little thing that pushes me away from my case purchases. On my most recent encounter I spotted the Mollydooker line-up of Australian wines priced at a not very enticing $28.99 when I can purchase them elsewhere for $24.99. I could have forgiven them the disparity, but then, they take what is probably the most popular of the Mollydooker wines, The Boxer Shiraz, and make that one an extra dollar higher at $29.99. Give me a break!!
I wander around the store checking out their selection. I read a shelf-talker for a WA92 rated 2007 wine. The actual wine available for sale above the shelf-talker is the 2008. Out of 10 shelf-talkers I look at FIVE of them do not represent the wines being offered (off the top of my head, two of the E. Guigal wines in the French section come to mind). It’s not unlike a car salesman selling you on the merits of a BMW and then after you sign for the car, delivering you a Toyota. Are they purposely trying to deceive the customer? I doubt it. Most likely, it’s simply a matter of not thinking it’s important. No one checks to assure that the shelf-talkers match the wines above them and most customers wouldn’t think to check, anyway. It’s just a lazy way to do business. They would probably also tell you that the distributor puts those on there, not them. That might be true but it’s YOUR store, YOUR integrity on the line, not the distributors or the salesmen.
I’m not a beer guy, I don’t drink much spirits. I’m a wine guy and I want to like Hops n Grapes, honest, I do. I’ll keep trying. It’s just a little harder now that Vladi isn’t with them. HE was a wine guy.