It was one of my most bizarre shopping moments.
I’d just met with a client to confirm we’d be moving ahead with a project. Feeling rather celebratory, I stopped by an LCBO to pick up a favourite bottle of wine. “I’m going to really splurge this time,” I told myself.
So often I avoid the sales person chasing me about a store, but unable to find what I wanted, I took the plunge when she asked, “Is there something I can help you find?”
“Yes, I’m looking for Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc.”
There was a brief pause, and then she replied, “Now why would you want to pay $20 for a bottle of wine when I can show you something just as good for half that price?”
Gee, the guilt started to descend on me. I went from a winning high to some serious self reflection: Am I really so profligate that I’d spend money like this? Should I be buying vegetables for my family instead? Contributing to a TFSA? Donating to Save a Purrfect Cat Rescue?
Totally disarmed, I followed my new values adviser around the store until we reached a section of French reds. “These are a really great deal,” she said, pulling 3 bottles off the shelf. “How many would you like? I’ll just put these on the counter for you.”
Ah, um, well, didn’t really want red. “I was looking for a white….” I ventured.
“Oh.” There seemed to be an element of surprise in her voice. She put the first 3 bottles at the cash (being such a deal), picked up 3 more and off we went again, this time to the Canadian wine section.
Now, I actually like Canadian wines and when not making a beeline for Oyster Bay, many would be my first choice. The $10 bargain product she pointed out, however, was not one of them. “I really am not fond of this brand,” I said.
Her brow furrowed once more. I obviously required more than just financial advice. “You know, there are many Canadian wines that are very good if you give them the chance.”
I wanted out of there.
“Yes I know, I said, with a little more emphasis on know than I intended. I backed away from her and her bottles. “I’ll just move along for today….”
She stood there with the reds in her arms looking a little dumbfounded. I almost made it past the the cashier when she pointed out a stack of cartons by the exit.
“Would you like a case?” she asked. (Turns out, the LCBO was giving away complimentary cases of pop.) I resisted, not sure what the product even was. She handed me a box anyway and, “Well take one, I mean, who doesn’t want something for free”
So to summarize:
- I wanted to spend $20 on a bottle of wine, but was denied the opportunity.
- I left the store instead with a case of free pop (not even close to a glass of good Sauvignon Blanc).
- During the process, my taste in wine was questioned, my preference for white ignored, my spending habits judged, and my understanding of “free” tested.
- I was forced to defend myself 3 times, resist buying 6 bottles of wine that I didn’t want, and came home with something I didn’t ask for and didn’t want
That evening when I poured myself a glass of Canadian Pinot Gris, I wondered if the whole thing was just a weird dream.
I’ll just have to force the LCBO to take my money another day.