Every year Carrefour organizes 2 wine fairs at its Shanghai stores, and right now the Spring 2012 wine fair is going on. I missed the opening night (with special discounts), but tonight both nannies are back so Grace and I could drive over to taste and buy some wines.
As regular readers may know I buy the majority of my day-to-day wines at Carrefour and normally most of them at their wine fairs (the high end wines I normally buy overseas, I always bring wine back with me when traveling). Wine is China is quite expensive and at these bi-annual events you at least pay a bit more reasonable price for decent wines. And you can taste them!
Tonight I drove myself, so I could not taste many wines (you can’t spit out the wine like at a normal wine tasting), but I bought quite a few. Well, that’s probably an understatement. It was not very busy at the store at 10 PM on a Sunday night and I was by far the best customer. One of the sales persons walked with us and even offered to push the shopping cart that was completely filled with bottles within 30 minutes (I decided to push it myself). He was a good sales man and we bought tons of nice wines, among others a case of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough and some very nice Cabernet Sauvignons.
But he made one mistake. The guy was French and he had no idea that I spoke French as well. He had told me about a Gewurztraminer Grand Cru that he wanted me to try. Gewurztraminer used to be my favorite wine (which he did not know) and I still like to drink a nice bottle of the Alsace white wine. So he took us to the seller of the wine, but they had no open bottles. Instead of convincing him to open one for me, he talked to him in French and told him not to open one! Maybe he thought I would buy anyway, or maybe he wanted me to buy other more expensive wines, but the result was that I could not try the Grand Cru AND (worse for him!) that I had overheard and understood most of their conversation.
So after he told me that they could not open a bottle I told him “C’est dommage” (“That’s a pity” in French), because I could have bought a case. He realized I had understood what they said, so he immediately apologized and said he would talk to him again. But now it was too late for me of course, so I told him I didn’t want to try the wine anymore and wanted to pay for the wines I had already bought.
At the check-out he tried again to convince me try the Grand Cru and he even said he would pay for the bottle himself (!). I have my principles, so I thanked him for his help and shook his hand. He then continued telling me that the wine fair would last until Wednesday and that I could come back at any time and try the Grand Cru. He said: “You will regret it if you don’t try it”, to which I almost wanted to reply that he was probably the one who should regret something. Two of my main sales business rules were both broken: “Your customer is always number 1” and “Never underestimate your customer”.
Anyway, I have enough stock for the next couple of months again. If you live in Shanghai and like wines, make sure you check out the wine fair in the basement of the Gubei Carrefour, it’s open until Wednesday midnight. If you just want to taste wines that’s fine as well, there were a few very red faced people sitting at the tasting counters tonight. Cheers!