first quarter blues

January 27, 2012 · 5 comments

I don’t even know who I want to address this letter to.

Dear supplier? No, you’re only part of my problem. Dear Winebuyer? No…. It’s not YOUR fault that it’s the January after a slow fourth quarter.

Dear world? No, that’s a little overdramatic.

So I suppose this isn’t an actual letter. Just a general bitch session.

I’m dog-tired. I’ve worked hard this month. Supplier workwiths every week, sometimes back-to-back-to-back. Two workwiths in a week is too many. Three is overkill. And all of these workwiths have led to…. Shit sales. Sure, I got some key placements for each of my suppliers’ time in the market. But without the freedom to listen to my buyers’ needs and show them wines based on their requests, my numbers took a hit. And man, that’s just disheartening when you’re working your ass off setting appointments, reminding winebuyers of said appointments, begging winebuyers not to cancel said appointments, and then the morning of, completely restructuring a day that was set two weeks in advance because two winebuyers text just minutes before you’re scheduled to meet your supplier to ask if they can change their appointment from 11 to 4 or to cancel because they want to go to the gym. Bitch, I want to go to the gym too. That would be lovely! But instead I skip breakfast and rely on stress to keep me lean.

I have a theory that I’d actually have a better day with a supplier if I don’t make a single appointment, but I’m too chickenshit to actually attempt it. I’m not sure if it’s just my subset of winebuyers, but few in this territory seem capable of keeping an appointment when a supplier is thrown in the mix. “Who do you have with you again? What are you pouring? Are they worth my time?” I wouldn’t call you if I thought it was a waste of your time. Or maybe I would if I was desperate, say if two of my buyers cancel ten minutes before my workwith is scheduled to begin as above, but in that case, I’d most likely start the conversation with, “I need a favor…” Plus, you seemed perfectly happy to make the appointment two weeks ago, when I told you I was working with this supplier, seemed excited to meet him and to taste the entire line-up at once since you had so much success with his entry level Syrah last quarter.

And suppliers… Please give it a rest. It’s January. Do you really think we’re going to move pallets of your wine right now? “Remind me next month…” we’ll be hearing plenty of that. Meanwhile, yes you are buying me lunch and a coffee because I’m taking a pay cut for the day in order to work with you. I’m done saying yes. No more workwiths until April. Well, except for the three that are already scheduled for February.

I can’t recall a January quite like this one. In the past, January was always a great month for a vacation, and shit-howdy, you can bet I’ll be taking one this time next year.


Wine Rep

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric January 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Here ya go:

Monster Jobs – control your destination, don’t just bitch about it.


Former wine rep January 27, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I blame management


Another small company rep February 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I understand suppliers want to come and see all the hard work you’ve been doing and tout their own lineup, but do they not understand there are certain times of the year for this? I had one very high end supplier come three times last year – twice over the summer and end of November…. his timing couldn’t have been worse. To top it off, when he arrived at our office the third time, starts grilling me about which accounts have or have not taken his extraordinarily expensive wine! I do my job, go back home and do yours!


GANGSTA WINE REP February 4, 2012 at 3:30 am

i don’t mind being on da grind wit da right supplier. but jjjjeah this wuz a brutal january. not only are sales in the muthafuckin toilet, but i’m seeing millions of repz out there as if it was still OND and shit! shit is wild!

yo i’m declaring open war in the streetz wit da big distributor repz n their deals, shady tactics and shit wine. suit and tie wearing muthafuckas! i know at least of those along my usual route i can stomp the shit outta each and every one of them.

“yo, buy my shit!”


Tony the Wine Guy February 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm

In the wine business, January is for vacations and resets. Reset the shelves in a few of your top grocery stores while the competition is on vacation, and then take a vacation of your own. Nobody sells wine in January, and no reasonable sales manager expects wine to sell in January.


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