Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Buyer's Remorse - Garagiste Revisited

Your spouse just got another excuse to hit you over the head.

My wine buying exploits are well documented.  Besides being too much too often, I like to think that my shopping for wine - and then writing about it - is in some way helping you make more informed decisions.  Sort of like the reviews are intended to be.

If that logic sticks, then it stands to reason that you should hear about more than just the great buying experiences, right?  I mean, I tell you when I think a wine sucks.

So, Garagiste is this insanely addictive and beautifully simple wine sourcing business.  I've written about it before, have purchased plenty (plenty) of wine from Jon Rimmerman (Garagiste's owner), and turned many of you onto it (much to your spouses' dismay). 

Here's the beef: yesterday I had a bit of a nasty surprise when I took a peek at my invoice summary and saw this:

Let me save you the mental addition: that's $165.79 in shipping costs.  Sound like a lot?  That kind of depends, right?  Well, those charges are for 36 bottles of wine shipped four months ago.  More quick math: $4.60/bottle in shipping, or 33% of the cost of the wine shipped.  Ah, hem?  33% fucking percent?

Now, there is nothing nefarious going on here - and I'm a bog boy; I know how to operate a calculator - but the simplicity of the Garagiste model already insulates buyers from the POS (point of sale) dollar consequence.  So, the delayed and not insignificant "surprise" charge is not only further insulated from the purchase, but also stings.

Jon and his crew do a lot well:  I look forward to their emails every day, they put their hands on some very unique wines, deliver with impeccable provenance, etc., but this corner of expectations management could definitely use some improvement.  After all, predictability and transparency in purchasing shouldn't be too much to ask for.

Bottom line is that all of your spouses who cringe every time they see the credit card statement just got another reason to hit you over the head.  Sorry guys.



  1. Joe (not Rimmerman)August 24, 2011

    A while back you wrote Winebid as another outlet for deals. They charge shipping, and insurance, and a buyers premium. How's that any different?

  2. You bring up a good point, not-Joe-Rimmerman.

    Winebid's per bottle fees are even higher than Garagiste's when you factor in the buyer's premium and insurance - even though shipping alone in much less. The difference is in the transparency, immediacy, and insulation.

    It might seem like a fine line, but no one likes surprises.

  3. not JON RimmermanSeptember 06, 2011

    I think his name is "Jon"...

  4. Eek. It is Jon.

    How terribly embarrassing. Some degree of journalistic professionalism...I critique the guy's business and don't even get his name right. It's not like I don't see it every day.

    Sorry, Jon.

    Thanks for the correction. All prior references have been changed to reflect it.

  5. Just got my bill from Garagiste. Much later than you got yours. One case shipped for $56.02 far above the $40.00 per case price I was told when I started buying from them. I have more than 12 cases waiting to ship from them at this point. Not sure if I am more afraid of the bill or my wife at this point!

  6. Ouch.

    Well, you could always redirect the next shipment to my place. Happy to provide that service at no cost, thought can't make any promises as to inventory shrinkage.


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