Thursday, April 2, 2009


So comments on my post yesterday got me thinking: I have spent an awful lot of time dwelling on the recent tax increase here in Kentucky. Part of my problem is that when I take a job (regardless of the company employing me) I throw myself completely into the gig. It comes from being raised to work hard and commit myself to the task (commit being the operative word, I guess). I've always allowed myself to become completely immersed in the job, and sometimes, more often than not, I dissolve any restraint when dealing with any part of the business.

With this job, I have become an absolute geek about wine - trying to learn about producers, importers, brokers and such like I used to study bands and their members, songs, albums, tours, etc. I get a bit obsessed. True too, that the political aspects of this job tend to push me to extremes.

The proximity to other states (they don't call this area the Tri-State for nothing) creates unique problems to our business model, in that we have customers from all three states, and they bring with them expectations created for them by their respective home states (those being Ohio, Indiana and our state of Kentucky). It's more than frustrating for us as buyers to have to constantly explain to our customers why our pricing is different than Ohio's, or why we cannot get certain wines here that are available just across the river in Cincinnati. It is being a "bridge" store" that makes being here exciting yet inordinately challenging.

A lot of folks who enter into this blog may or may not completely understand where we are coming from when we happen to drone on about, in this case, the KY alcohol tax hike. But if there is one thing I am trying to hammer home to our readers and customers, is that most people here in Kentucky and the surrounding area have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA that there is an 11% tax already built into the prices they pay for wine, beer and spirits. NOW, they must pay an ADDITIONAL 6% so that they are actually paying 17% taxes.

Is this overkill, when I continue on about this point? Or is it necessary to remind folks that their elected officials should be held accountable for this come the next election?

I get irate about a lot of things in this business, primarily because there are a lot of really bad decisions being made in all facets of this industry (as is in every industry). And while I hope that this blog is informative and helps our readers want to learn more about wine in general, I tend to also have a bit of a consumer activist approach, trying to let people in on the mixed up and often ridiculous dealings we contend with at the retail level.

Is this the New Yorker? Forbes? Harper's? Not hardly. I am just a neurotic wine geek with a habit for melodrama, and a drive to get people as energized by the grape as I am. I also am not interested in bullshit, and I will tell you what is going on, and how it is going on, whether you like the news or not. It's how I am with my customers, and it's how I am with my sales reps. I can be agreeable, and can be very diplomatic when presented things rationally. But tell me something ludicrous, and I cannot help but protest in my own, sometimes crude way.

I appreciate the comments made, and am really thankful for them. Sometimes I can be a real bore when I am teetering on my soapbox. Sometimes I need someone just to knock me off, pour me a glass of Chateau Shutthehelluup, and get me to move on.

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