Wanted: Electric Car. Or Horse-Drawn Cart. Or Ruby Slippers.

March 1, 2012 · 15 comments

image sourced from Moseley Family Cellars Facebook Page


Sigh. I have no fuel allowance, no “company gas card”, no base salary.  100% COMMISSION, y’all. So when I filled my car up this morning for the second time this week, it stung more than a wee bit. Yes, I can write off my mileage with my 2012 taxes come next April, but that rate isn’t going anywhere yet, so I’m going to eat it one way or another. Things are going to have to change just a bit for the near future. I promise to slow down on the shoe shopping, but there are a few other ways I can save fuel and money… I’ve always wanted a pony, for instance. I could use a little more exercise, but I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to carry wine in my bike basket. Plus my territory is too big and my lung capacity too small for all that pedalin’. My car is already fairly fuel efficient, although it’s not a hybrid. I could slow down a little bit on the freeway to get better mileage, but time is money.

Okay, my needy Winebuyers from the farthest reaches of my territory… Here’s how it’s going to work:

  1. I’m going to have to stop driving 20 miles out of my way to visit you once a week as you request UNLESS you decide to start placing orders on a regular basis. No more “remind me…”, no more “maybe sometime next month.” Hey, I know that’s all part our whole song and dance duet, but I just need a commitment once in a while to make the commissions pay for the money I’m pouring down the gas tank just to see you.
  2. I’m going to instead see you every other week. And you will most likely complain and claim that you would order from me more frequently if you saw me more often. I will smile, and gently remind you of the above guideline.
  3. I’m going to request an appointment on the weeks I come see you because even though you claim to always be available on Wednesdays between 10 am and 2 pm, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown up in your designated hours and you’re out to lunch with your girlfriend or aren’t coming in til 4 that day.
  4. If you see fault in any of this, I will accuse you of hating Mother Earth and I will remind you that you are lining the pockets of Big Oil and OPEC by requesting to see my face every 7 days when you actually only need to order about every 21 to 28 days. Green is always in, man. And you can go all Santorum on me if you’d like, but we can’t put Man above Earth… Without EARTH there is no MAN. Or wine for that matter. Oh dear. Yes, I went there. I just took a political stance of sorts. Or a ideological stance. Or a non-Santorum stance. Some sort of stance, anyway. Sorry… neutrality be damned. I’m coming off a rough February, I’m semi-broke, and I’m in a bad mood. End rant. Oh and lastly…
  5. I will certainly call you on the weeks you don’t see me, if that’s of any solace. If you don’t like phone calls, no problem! I’m an avid texter. Or we can email. Or GoogleTalk. Skype? Hell, you can even send me a message on Facebook if you want. I am so linked in, it’s not even funny. At any given moment, I’ve got a laptop, an iPad, and an iPhone all at my fingertips, all set to engage in conversation with you.

Thank you for working with me on the above changes, which will be implemented immediately.


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

tiredofbeingwalkedon March 2, 2012 at 12:38 am

Wow that sounds so extremely familiar I almost thought I wrote it last night when I opened that second bottle of wine. Last week that winebuyer 30 milesmin out of my way called me when I was 5 min from his account and said can you come by at 1 or 1:30 because I am about to have lunch with my girlfriend and I would like a little bit of time for myself before I taste wine. This was at 11:45 and he knows I show up at noon like clockwork. I however went in anyway conducted my business delivered the case that he to have delivered a day early and left all before his girlfriend arrived for their lunchdate. I feel your pain! And so does my car!


Danielle March 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I drive 700+ miles a week. I completely understand! I do however, get a $200/mo car allowance… helps for the first 3 minutes of the month :/


about to snap March 3, 2012 at 2:47 am

dear winebuyer,

i’m tired of this shit. when we miss a doctor’s appointment we get charged and i’m going to start upping the case price or adding a “fuel surcharge” to the invoice.

today… same shit. okay it was only a 15 min. drive but i just had an $80 fillup.

i don’t care if there are 60-70 more reps waiting to take my placements treat me with some fucking respect if you can’t make an appointment and just text me or give me a quick call telling me not to come by. you have my goddamn number. and when the bartender calls you up to see where you are don’t pretend like the damn conversation we had earlier in the week to set the appointment didn’t happen. fucking asshole. go ahead replace my wines with another rep’s stuff, 90% of the other reps are dogshit and you will regret it.

next visit better result in a big order or i’m going to write up about 30 bad Yelp reviews until your establishment’s name is mud.

oh, and those customers you have? a good 30-40 of your regulars are what i call my “friends”. they tell your staff that i sent you but i’m sure the word never reaches your ear. despite what you may believe, you dumbshit winebuyer, i have a social life and a lot of friends in the area. and i tell them to drop money in my accounts and they do. they can stop coming and go elsewhere.

and when i get something that is allocated your allocation is going across the street and i’m sending my friends in to embarrass you over it.

i hope you die of aids.

p.s. – wine buyer, don’t ever fuck with me or act tough. i’ll buck-fifty your face and not feel the least bit of remorse over it. look it up if youre confused, moron.


winerep March 3, 2012 at 5:40 am

And y’all thought I was bitter…


Wine Buyer March 5, 2012 at 12:27 am

Dear Wine Rep,

Remember who the customer is.

- Wine Buyer


winerep March 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm

True, technically you are my customer… however, you’re not my boss. It still behooves both of us to treat each other with the same respect and courtesy we would hope to be treated with in kind, yes? My most despised “type” of winebuyer is the “what have you done for me lately” kind. The “remember who the customer is” kind. The one who treats me like absolute dogshit, but then expects me to go to bat for them for added allocations, deeper discounts, etc. I will gladly jump through hoops set afire for the vast majority of my buyers, but not this type.


Tony the Wine Guy March 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Dear Wine Buyer,

The customer is the person who buys the wine from you. You are the buyer, and we are both professionals. You can work with your reps professionally, and we’ll both make money. If you take advantage of your reps, and your competition treats your reps with respect, you’re going to lose opportunities in the marketplace. We have a symbiotic relationship. If you dump on your reps, we’ll find professionals who want to cooperate with shared profits as the common goal.


Wine Buyer March 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Maybe if you spent more time on customer service and less time pontificating on this site you would have ideas that were grounded in reality.


Tony the Wine Guy March 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Customer service combined with a dose of symbiosis is my time tested formula for stealing shelf space and placements from SWS and lifestyle wineries, my friend.


winerep March 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Something to keep in mind… most reps don’t have a ton of business expenses, but usually our most expensive resources are time and fuel. There are only so many accounts I can see in one day, and if fuel costs outweigh commissions for an account, then it’s just bad business for me to continue serving them in the same manner. Something’s gotta give.


wineauxrep March 7, 2012 at 12:20 am

Wow. Someone touched a nerve, or two. Basic respect folks. If we lowly reps are expected to call when we will be out of town (a vacation, what’s that??), sick, staycation (more like it), whatever… how about a tiny, teeny, little bit of the same respect? If you know you, as the winebuyer won’t be available to meet with the winerep and engage in business, than call, text, email, tweet, FB, fax, sky write the rep so they don’t waste time driving 20 miles downtown, find a parking place, walk 5 blocks to your establishment to find you aren’t seeing rep today. Just, for a moment, try to think about how you would feel if you, winebuyer, went to a trade tasting, 20 – 30 miles out of your way only to find out the winemaker never made the flight to the city. The Machiavellian style of management is outdated. I suggest you get comfortable with this millenium.


Thegoodwinedude March 11, 2012 at 10:45 pm

If its far. Call first? If the buyer is heavily solicited, only bring your slam dunk wines? If the buyer is heavily solicited and doesn’t sell a lot of your wine, definitely call first and ask if they want to see what you have? As buyer of other goods and services, I respect specifics. It just seems to me that we reps need to step up our game and recognize when the commitment makes sense and represents dollars to the buyer right away. If my wine isn’t a priority, I don’t take it personally. I go make myself useful someplace else. Half of the accounts out there are under-served. Why crowd around the ones with a sense of entitlement?


NCwinebuyer March 14, 2012 at 12:36 am

Good points by the original poster…

To the winebuyer who responded first…you’re a jizz-rag. Lose the ego Chet, we’re just peddling grape juice here. It behooves all of us to respect our winereps and their time. The more symbiotic our relationship is, the happier everyone will be.


Jaded Importer April 19, 2012 at 5:23 am

So, from the distributor/importers view:

- We have asked all of our customers whether they would accept a $2.00 per invoice fuel surcharge – regardless of the invoice size. And they have all said no, just raise your prices -e ven though I sat down with them to do the math…. and here is what it looks like:

$15.00 x 10 + $2.00 = $157.00. Fuel surcharge goes away when fuel prices come down. Looked at another way, 20 deliveries in a year will cost them $40.00 above the cost of the wine.

Raise prices $.50 and you get:

$15.50 x10 = $154.00. over the course of 20 deliveries, that amounts to $80.00. And I’m not giving that back when fuel prices come down.

Our reps get $300.00 per month for car and cell phone. If it is more than they need, I don’t want to know. If it isn’t enough, come and make a case.


jaded importer April 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Whoops, sorry about the bad math. $2.00 surcharge yields a $152.00 invoice; $.50 price increase makes $154.

Point here is that if I raise prices across the book, I make more money and my reps make a larger commission. Wine buyer and his customer end paying more, when my intent is only to cover costs – they don’t seem to care.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: