The federal government was paying all those agents AND forgoing billions in liquor taxes.
I grew up outside of a very small (population ~400) town on the border of North and South Dakota, working both on my family’s farm and in the small cafe we operated in town. And though farm animals can be both unpredictable and cantankerous, they had nothing on some of the cafe customers.
We had many, many fabulous customers and friends, but also some that truly tried our patience. From the shop owner who demanded ‘HOT’ coffee (we’d actually heat it to boiling), to the morning coffee klatsch who drank so many refills you’d have sworn they’d float away, to the old bachelor farmer who ordered his grilled cheese un-grilled but then wanted to pay less for it because ‘you didn’t have to cook it’, we had some real characters. But the absolute best (worst) was a local curmudgeon who developed an obsession with ‘a THICK chocolate malt’, by which he meant one with more ice cream and less milk.
We tried, making his malt with more and more ice cream, less and less milk. The mixer would whine, its blades barely moving, but still he wasn’t satisfied. Finally, one day, a family member who shall remain nameless decided to add a healthy dose of castor oil to the mix, yielding a concoction in which the spoon stood straight up. Finally, it was thick enough. There were no complaints. Of course, the castor oil had other effects, and we didn’t see the curmudgeon at all for a few days. When we did, he was officially ‘off’ malts. He took to ordering banana splits.
Now, I’m not saying that the castor oil was the right approach to this situation. But it did remove an impasse: he stopped complaining and we stopped trying to appease him.The curmudgeon had been stuck on chocolate malts, but now he’d moved on. He’d broken inertia.
We’re all subject to inertia, that calming, comfortable impetus to keep things the way they are and resist change. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, right? But not broken doesn’t necessarily equal awesome. We prefer to aim for awesome. Which brings me to Chardonnay.
We’ve carried a fairly static selection of domestic Chardonnay since we opened. We’d found a few excellent values, tasty wines that quickly became such customer favorites that we just kept ordering them. And re-ordering them. Until last week, when a sales rep screwed up a series of orders in rather spectacular fashion. Argh! We were out of all our ‘favorite’ Chardonnay at once.
After consideration, we did not just fix the pricing and re-order. Instead, we put out an APB for Chardonnay to our favorite reps, and within days we’d tasted dozens of new Chardonnays and ordered the ones we liked best. We transcended inertia, and wound up improving both taste AND value. I’m more excited about the Chardonnays I’m selling than I’ve been in years, and think you will be, too.
But don’t take our word for it. Resist inertia; come on in and taste what’s new. No castor oil-we promise.