Our local stores must think we’re alcoholics. It’s not that they see us every day, it’s just that when Alex finds a great deal, she takes it. So instead of the normal one or two bottles of wine, we will sometimes roll up with a cart full.
This is great when you’re in the mood to chat with strangers, but not so much when you’re wearing a ball cap to hide the bed-head you haven’t put a comb through since the day prior. You kind of feel like a celebrity as people eye your goods and say things like: “How do I get on that invite list?!” “Just tell me where and when?!” or “I’m partying with you, Cowboy!”
The cashiers are a little more subtle. They’ll say, “this wine must be good,” which I’ll reply “well the price sure was.” Not that we buy two-buck Chuck either. We only binge-buy when there’s a $10 to $25-dollar bottle that’s, say, half-price.
Back in California we took it for granted that there would always be a good wine at a good price; here in Georgia it requires a more tactical approach. When we first moved to town, it was bleak. They didn’t even sell alcohol on Sundays in Georgia for the first couple years we were here. And the choices were either the local grocery store or the local liquor store. We thought when the large national chains came to town like Total Wine and More we’d be set, but that place comes with its own set of hurdles. They’ve got their brands they want to push, and they push them hard.
We used to get J Lohr chardonnay there and every time they saw us pick up a bottle, they would say “have you tried Oak Grove?” We had, and it wasn’t comparable, but they wouldn’t leave it alone. The margins must have been much better on the Oak Grove, but the taste sure wasn’t.
Costco is hit or miss as well. Granted they have some good consistent deals on wines like La Crema, but that’s a special occasion wine for us. The really good deals you see at Costco are usually a name you’ve never heard of, or can’t remember, and sold-out within a week. You go back in there and it’s like that wine never existed; even the employees don’t remember the name of it.
Hence the binge-buying and cart cat-calling. Now I know how J Lo must feel. I’d better start combing my hair before we go shopping again.