Total wine Coupons and treatment of customers

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by mhksuccess, Mar 14, 2013.

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  1. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    The policy is nobody under 21 unattended allowed in the store.
    sirtomtom and Hanzo like this.
  2. besaunders

    besaunders Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2007 California

    My daughter used to attend a preschool within a block of a BevMo. She visited "the bottle store" quite often in those days.
  3. heatwaves

    heatwaves Aspirant (269) Oct 17, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    My 2-year old must have dodged them then when she went to the end of the aisle to have a cigarette.
  4. Oisin

    Oisin Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2005 California

    Mostly just the beer clerks talking out their ass. For example, when I asked about the location of a certain Telegraph beer, the guy has the audacity to tell me the brewery is no longer in business. On another occasion I asked for some Old Foghorn and he tells me it's a seasonal release and they don't have it. Unconvinced, I ask another guy who finds a case in the back.

    And it doesn't seem to be confined to the beer section. I was once looking for a bottle of Rowan's Creek bourbon that I know I had seen at TW before. When I asked a clerk if he could help me find it, he curtly told me they don't have it. Again, unconvinced, I keep looking, only to find a row of it wedged into a corner.

    Unfortunately for TW, I don't have any positive experiences to compete with my negative ones. Never has staff been informative or knowledgeable or friendly or seemed to be slightly interested in beer. That being said, I go there about once a month solely for the selection and the prices. BevMo, on the other hand, seems to attract some real beer geeks to their company. Krist in Irvine, Patrick in Rolling Hills, the very rotund fellow at HB BevMo (Sorry I don't remember his name) are all knowledgeable and friendly and able to make informed recommendations and keep one up to date on beer releases of note. So, it does not seem to be a question of the warehouse nature of the establishment, but more of their company culture, which seems to accept mediocre product knowledge and courtesy.

    And that's pretty awful.
  5. SHODriver

    SHODriver Poo-Bah (1,584) Aug 13, 2010 Louisiana
    Beer Trader

    anybody else see Budweiser black crown pup up in the single bottle section?? What a waste of shelf space...
    BlakeSmith and PaulStoneAnchor like this.
  6. jcb7472

    jcb7472 Zealot (535) Jul 13, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I have been using the $1 off bombers or 4pk/6ks over $6.99 coupons for the past year or two. They used to email me every month. The last couple of months, I got emails from them but none with coupons. The latest one I received today said to check out their local ad and it said you could click on a coupon to print it. It goes to their page with the local ad for my store and listed 12 coupons, but they were all for individual items.

    For example, a coupon for a 12-pk of Heneiken for $10.49 instead of $12.49. No more $1 off coupon for any 22 oz or 750 over $6.99 or any 4pk or 6pk over $6.99. I don't want Heineken or most of the stuff they put on sale.

    Anyone from Total Wine want to respond? It appears they have eliminated these coupons. The great thing about them was, you could use the $1 off for multiple purchases. So if I bought 4 six packs, I would get $1 off each one, saving me $4.
  7. jcb7472

    jcb7472 Zealot (535) Jul 13, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Update: I messaged somebody from Total Wine on Twitter and received this response:

    All beer class attendees receive multiple $1.50 off beer coupons. $1.00 coupons are offered on rotation around the country.
  8. Rollzroyce21

    Rollzroyce21 Meyvn (1,028) Oct 24, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    How did I miss this thread back in March?

    Remember a few years ago when they had $2 off 22oz. or larger format and 6-packs priced $6.99 or higher? Those were the days..
    abecall98 and huadog like this.
  9. jcb7472

    jcb7472 Zealot (535) Jul 13, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Yep they went from $2 off coupons to $1 off coupons to now you have to pay $15 and attend one of their beer classes to get some $1.50 coupons they give out at the classes. Otherwise, no coupons. Talk about sticking it to their customers! Sometimes I would go there to buy a few six packs of beer specifically because I had the coupon.
  10. jivex5k

    jivex5k Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Florida

    Yeah I loved TW back in the day....
    These days they don't even stock Jai Alai, what a joke....
    I'll go there to get a Zhukov, but ironically a local crown has had way better service, and all the beers I've been looking for.
    jcb7472 likes this.
  11. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    I miss the coupons, but they still have better selection and lower prices than Bevmo.
  12. abecall98

    abecall98 Devotee (448) Aug 11, 2007 California
    Beer Trader

    They still send them out. We should just bump this thread whenever somebody gets a link to the new coupon so we can all copy it.

    The last coupon I got lasted until the middle of July.
  13. jcb7472

    jcb7472 Zealot (535) Jul 13, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I think around that time they just stopped sending them. Maybe I'm wrong but I used to get one just about every week in my email box but I haven't gotten one in over a month.
  14. Saxmusik45

    Saxmusik45 Aspirant (260) Nov 18, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I still get a lot of wine coupons, but almost nothing in the beer category.
  15. RobH

    RobH Devotee (480) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland

    Jumping in since I am the "somebody from Total Wine" and I'd like to add this which was part of my Twitter reply:

    "@jcb7472 Hear U & will pass on. Some perspective: the 3 class coupons add up to $28 off. Plus, $15 to taste a 13 beer flight is good deal."

    Promotions and coupons are always changing in retail. Wish I were on the side of the house that's making those decisions (I am not), however I always pass to those decision makers the consumer feedback from these forums, including the Twitter feedback as promised.

    FWIW the $2.00 off coupons are always limited-time promos tied to new store openings. They taper off after the grand opening period. Reasonable folks will agree it's not a sustainable business selling 6-packs for $4.99 all the time.

    There are three beer coupons given out to beer class attendees, which are:
    -- $1.50 off 22oz. and larger beer singles priced $6.99 or higher (limit 12 bottles)
    -- $1.50 off any 4-pk or 6-pk beer priced or higher (limit 4 packs)
    -- $1.00 off any 4-pk or 6-pk beer priced or higher (limit 4 packs. valid on next visit)

    That's the $28 in total savings.

    As for the class, if there's no interest in perhaps learning something new relating to beer, then simply comparing the tasting flight of 13 beers for the $15 class price to what a flight of beers costs elsewhere and it adds up to a good deal on top of the coupons given out with the class materials.

    We hope that most people find what tjensen3618 has found, which is a better selection and prices than the competition even at times when there are no coupons on top of that.

    Cheers to beer,
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  16. jivex5k

    jivex5k Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Florida

    Fair enough. Coupons are exactly that, they aren't required.

    Here are the reasons I don't go to TW nearly as much:
    1. They can't even keep CCB beers in stock. How is it Crown Wine and Spirits can get Jai Alai canned on 8/5/13, when I go to TW they don't even have a placard. Nothing but Maduro and Helles.

    2. I know when I call and ask about beer they are just reading information off, which is wrong a lot of the time. When Stone Enjoy By came to FL and I called about it, I was informed they wouldn't get it til next month. I went anyways, lo and behold there it was. The same thing happens with Zhukov, they just don't know what is going on with these special releases.

    3. I can't put in a request for a special beer like I can at smaller shops. Obviously this isn't going to change. The tradeoff being lower price vs more specialized service.

    1 and 2 are the big ones though. If you guys stocked enough Jai Alai you'd get a lot of my business back.

    So whether my reasons are stupid, wrong, childish, or whatever they may be, they are my reasons. I'm not saying you should change, I'm just letting you know.
  17. abecall98

    abecall98 Devotee (448) Aug 11, 2007 California
    Beer Trader

  18. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,229) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Quick question, the Northridge, CA location is installing what seems to be an area in the store that will be serving draft beer. Is that the case? If so, will this be a place to buy full pints or just for sampling?
    Retsinis likes this.
  19. JasonFromLA

    JasonFromLA Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2013 California

    Yeah, I can never find CCB beers out here! They're never in stock!
    jivex5k likes this.
  20. RobH

    RobH Devotee (480) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland

    What you see being built is a beer tasting station. It won't be draught beer, but it'll be a place for bottled beer tastings akin to the other tasting station where wine is poured. This is part of the Brewery District @ Total Wine being implemented across the country in most markets.
    Retsinis likes this.
  21. RobH

    RobH Devotee (480) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland

    Great post and your feedback and perspectives are appreciated. Are you in the Miami/Ft Lauderdale area? I will look into the CCB Jai Alai issue to see what I can find out.

    Please let me know what store location you typically call and I will give you some names of specific people to ask for when you call inquiring about beers. We have people with Cicerone level 1 credentials in all stores now, so we want you to be connected to those folks.

    You absolutely CAN put in special requests for beers. Again, let me know what store location(s) you are having difficulty with that and I will inform the District Manager. That is not acceptable. If the beer is available in distribution, then we can get it for you and at Total Wine pricing.

    None of your reasons are "stupid, wrong, or childish" and thanks for sharing.

    Eriktheipaman and Rollzroyce21 like this.
  22. jivex5k

    jivex5k Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Florida

    Thanks Rob,
    It's the Boca location that I used to frequent. I'd love to know who to ask for to speak with about beer.
    I appreciate your response and professionalism as well.
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  23. HeavySpeedway

    HeavySpeedway Initiate (0) Jul 8, 2013 California

    None of these complaints even budge the Beer Advocate cry-o-meter, but I just cannot help looking at the thread title and thinking "Total Whine".
  24. RobH

    RobH Devotee (480) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland

    OK. Next time you call or visit the Boca store, ask for Ursula Albert; she's the store manager.
    That store has about 12 people who've passed the Cicerone CBS exam between May and now. They're stepping up their beer game and Ursula is leading that.

    In addition to meeting Ursula (it would be great to meet and introduce yourself to her some day), ask her for some other names of the best go-to people for beer in that store.

    Let her know of your prior concerns. Let her know you've communicated with me about it online and that I referred you to meet her. She and I have been in communication over these last months as she's managed her team through the Cicerone exam process.

    Apologies for your past experiences there that didn't meet our service standards. I think things have changed with Ursula now the manager there. Thanks for your feedback and cheers.

  25. RobH

    RobH Devotee (480) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland

    Regarding the CCB beers, things have indeed gotten crazy, with demand FAR outstripping supply.
    Note this other thread here

    Due to the extremely low quantities we receive through distribution of many high-demand CCB brews, including Jai Alai, store managers are making the determination to handle those beers as we do rare/allocated brews. This means they don't even hit the shelves, rather they are put behind the counter and sold first come-first served with bottle limits. Even with that, the beer sells out within the day received.

    That's why, for most people, it seems we never have any. In fact we do get it when other stores get it, but then it's sold in a flash. Meanwhile, it may sit around longer in other stores that don't do the volume we do.

    We are working with the distributor on getting more, but really it's an issue for which we won't see much relief until and when CCB is able to brew more.

    I just received a copy of the following CCB Newsletter from July 26th:

    Welcome to the South Florida July Newsletter for Cigar City Brewing Company.

    This monthly email will hopefully keep everyone on the same page moving forward with what is new and exciting at the brewery in Tampa, and the current happenings in South Florida.

    What’s the news on Jai Alai IPA and the Brewery Expansion?

    This seems to be the million dollar question nowadays. No, we have not stopped producing our flagship IPA, nor are we keeping it all at the brewery. We are actually brewing more Jai Alai than we ever have. Currently about 70% of our fermentation space in Tampa is being dedicated to this beer.

    So what is the issue?

    Well it seems that we have not been able to brew enough of the beer to satisfy the growing demand of this brand. As most of you know we just opened our second brewery in Tampa less than a year ago, and we believed that this brewery would help us satisfy all the thirsty IPA fans in the state of Florida, well we were wrong. Within the past year the popularity of Jai Alai has skyrocketed, and we became unable to keep up with the demand of the product.

    How are we going to fix this issue?

    As most of you know the first solution was to pull away from any states that we were sending beer to outside of Florida. This helped, but still did not solve the issue or come close to solving the issue. So we again began to expand the brewery by adding additional fermentation space. This came in the size of 10 brand new shiny 120bbl fermenters (4 in house already, and 6 coming soon). These new fermenters will allow us to double our capacity over night!

    The picture above is a panoramic of Brewhouse #2, to the left are the new 120bbl fermenters.

    When will we see more Jai Alai?

    This is the great news! VERY SOON! The four new 120 barrel fermenters are currently online and being filled with beer as you are reading this newsletter. As you all know beer does take time to brew, but that said more beer is coming soon. While we would all love the market to be flooded overnight, we realistically know that it will be a transition phase to catch back up to where we were just several months ago with inventory. Never the less, beer is coming and it is coming soon in both cans and draft.
    JasonFromLA likes this.
  26. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    As a loyal, every friday after work, Total Wine- Thousand Oaks, CA shopper...
    What's the best way to know of these behind the counter beers, I'm the type of shopper where I go see what's on the shelf and buy whatever tickles my fancy. I'm not really the "talk about beer" at the beer store, or ask for suggestions kind of guy. I figure I've just been missing the good stuff when it hits shelves.

    Do I need to play a guessing game, "do you have any Pliney, Parabola, Blind Pig?" etc...
    or, do you guys have a way of notifying discerning beer shoppers of whats available but held back behind the counter?
  27. frankzito

    frankzito Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2006 Arizona

    sounds to me like total wine is a lot like our 'fabulous' bevmo's
  28. RobH

    RobH Devotee (480) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland

    Thank you for coming every Friday after work!

    Bill Mazal is the Store Mgr in T.O. and Will Templin heads up the Service Team. Both are Cicerone level 1 as are six others in that store. Make an effort to meet those guys, let them know you're one of their beer enthusiast customers, and ask for their advice in this regard. Having them come to better recognize your face is what it's about. You don't have to engage them in conversation each time...I understand you'd prefer to go and do your own browsing while in the store.

    For the most part, it will be a matter of swinging by the front desk each time you visit and asking if there are currently any limited release beers behind the counter. If there is enough in stock to warrant putting it on the shelf, then yes, it's also a matter of whether there's any left when you happen to come in. Be sure to be checking the Special Release Beers shelving section each time. Look for the overhead Special Release Beers sign above the top shelf.

    For much of the rare or small quantity brews, word generally gets out via BA forums as to when it's hitting and who has it. Our local SoCal Facebook/Twitter account managers may post it depending on the situation. For any one beer i usually varies by store and ditributor as to when and how much will come in, so it can often be difficult and confusing for customers to post those things.
  29. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Devotee (485) Jul 10, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    I like the prices and selection at Total Wine but i can never seem to find much of the seasonal limited release that I want. Often times, they'll get maybe one case and if you're not there when they come in, you're assed out. I might have better luck if I talked to someone who had a firm grasp of the breweries and releases but I've never come across anyone who couldn't find an answer without checking the computer. I also get told false information much of the time. Let's say I call in or stop by on a Tuesday asking about a particular release, I'll get told something like "it'll be in on Friday" when in reality, it ends up dropping on Wednesday or something. I don't require a Cicerone, just someone who knows the breweries and releases.
    jcb7472 likes this.
  30. RobH

    RobH Devotee (480) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland

    Hi grilledsquid,

    All valid points. What must also be considered in the equation, in addition to knowing breweries and releases, is the factors relating to the whole distribution supply chain, and that's something nobody in stores can provide absolutely guaranteed information on. Our store Staff can be told one thing on Monday by the distributor rep, but then what ends up on the truck that comes to the back door later that day or week may very well be different from what we were told and what was entered into the computer.

    Not saying at all that we can't be better at providing such info, but in the scheme of all of the products that come through that back door each week, I can't blame store Team Members for looking things up on the computer before answering such questions. Unless you talk with one of our Team Members who just spoke with the distributor rep for the beer you are asking about, chances are s/he is not going to answer you without checking first to see what's entered in the computer.

    And it should be noted that it's the distributor's job to enter into our computer what's coming in. Like all computer data; garbage in...garbage out. If they don't enter it (it happens), or it's entered wrong (it happens), or at the distributor warehouse they load the truck differently that week than what we were told (it happens), then our computer inquiry is moot, and you get "bum" information.

    I don't know of any beer retailers other than us who carry essentially EVERY seasonal beer each brewery brews, so if it's a seasonal and the distributor carries it in the market, there's a 99% probability we will have as much as we can get in each store. And sometimes that's only a couple of cases per store.

    Thanks for shopping with us, and thanks for bearing with the industry foibles.

  31. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Devotee (485) Jul 10, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Thanks Rob. I do get the sense that there's very little the retailer can do about distribution. From what I've summed up, it comes in when it comes in (no matter what the store) so as far as the arrival of certain beers go, I'm willing to give folks a pass.

    I still wish your team members had a better grasp on the product though. It's a little annoying to ask for an annual limited release only to be told that it's a one-off.
  32. JasonFromLA

    JasonFromLA Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2013 California

    Awesome that you responded to me. I was being a bit tongue in cheek since this is the US Pacific forum and we don't see CCB distribution, but hopefully that information will reach your Florida customers.

    I do shop at Total Wine when not looking for anything too rare or crazy though. Keep up the good work! The stores are definitely improving (although the "behind the counter" bottle policy is kind of hit and miss).
    jcb7472 likes this.
  33. planbee

    planbee Disciple (303) May 28, 2009 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I called the TW in Cary, NC this morning to see if they had Stone 17th. The guy said yes, and it is going fast. So I went to TW on my lunch break, went to the counter, and asked about the 17th. They proceeded to pull out a bottle of Enjoy By. Doh!

    I was not that surprised, but also disappointed to waste my time after calling and being told "yes". I got Enjoy By yesterday, so I passed on that.

    Kind of an "asleep at the wheel" moment by TW, when these beers are sweeping the nation right now....
  34. RobH

    RobH Devotee (480) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland

    You are right, planbee. The ball was dropped for sure.

    I can only surmise that the person on the phone heard "Do you have Stone..." and then they didn't even hear the rest because they've had so many inquiries about Stone Enjoy By that their brain shouted YES while you were saying ...17th.

    I see in our computer that 17th has swept into the Charlotte market, but not yet Winston-Salem, GBO, Raleigh. The good news, at least, is it should be coming soon (the distributor has not entered an arrival date in the sytem).

  35. ZombieJester

    ZombieJester Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2013 California


    Thanks for responding to folks in this thread.

    I was near Total Wine Laguna today and thought i would drop in to try some of your tips. I picked up some things not in my cellar yet (Ninkasi in socal finally!) and before checkout i stopped by the CS counter to check and see if there were any limited releases there. There was an older gentlemen slumped over the computer with his back to me so i waited paitently. After a bit he looked at me and said "yes?". I asked if they had any limited releases behind the counter and mid sentence he turns away from me back to the computer. Once i finished my question he said "no" with his back still to me. I politely thanked him and asked for his name, again with his back to me "Drew"....

    While i don't need my hand held in the store, a little polite customer service can go a long way. I would be angry if any of my current social media/CS team members treated someome this way. Thanks for taking the time to review.
  36. 01Ryan10

    01Ryan10 Initiate (0) Sep 10, 2011 California


    Not sure if this thread or you pushed for it, but thanks for making checkout of singles much faster. No more looking up in a binder for the price.
    whiskey, ZombieJester and sirtomtom like this.
  37. SidSquid

    SidSquid Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2010 California

    Like Target.
  38. RobH

    RobH Devotee (480) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland


    Just returning from a few days off so I am just reading your post.
    That stinks and my blood boils when reading about this experience.

    I am going to forward this to Regional management.

    Thank you for sharing.
    grilledsquid likes this.
  39. ZombieJester

    ZombieJester Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2013 California

    thank you for taking the time to address this Rob and it's great to see people in our industry viewing customerissues on this site.
    Eriktheipaman and BlakeSmith like this.
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