Wednesday, June 3, 2009


One of the least glamorous portions of my gig as a wine buyer is managing our warehouse. It might sound really easy, but there is always something that goes wrong and I find myself spending half-the-day sorting it out.

It was at least a fortuitous event in my previous work history that I spent almost 2 years working for R&L Transfer, a trucking company based up the road in Wilmington, Ohio. I joke with my boss that I am the only one in his employ that boasts previous job experience as a “loadmaster” (which sounds pretty vulgar upon reflection). This past job, along with a lot of “temp”-ing as a furniture mover, delivery driver and dock worker are all valuable tools now in my current job, despite my co-workers believing is quite "glamorous" is actually a arduous, time-consuming job I wouldn't trade for the world.

Now, most wine buyers aren’t really required to move product around so much, or at least, none that I am aware of – there are part-time and third-shift employees for that I am told. However, with the business model our owner constructed some time ago, it’s a requisite for functioning to see the product and touch the product and physically move the product in order to better understand how things turn around here, which is a big reason why my wife can’t get a lot of work out of me when I get home.

As our business continues to grow, the need for a more efficient system – whether it is product tracking, requisition forms, and the like – to aid in positioning our inventory becomes more apparent, but modern ways are just not our style. And since everything is done by hand, we obviously miss a few things. And you know what that means – the wrath from on high reigns down with great regularity. Never a dull moment. It crushes me to realize once a customer asks for a wine I have ample supply of at the warehouse has been missed on the transfer because of the other 120 or so cases I just trucked over and had no room for in the van, blah blah blah. I hate excuses yet I become trapped in a few of them daily. Should there be a resolution to it? Yes. Can there be? Sure, but it would cost a considerable amount of money to remedy the problem. Or will it? There are those that would argue if I just wrote things down, I wouldn't forget, to which the reply is "I do write it all down." Often it's a matter of, "I have several cases and I should be okay for the day," and then a customer comes in and buys up all my back stock at a time when I am finishing up for the day and am unaware that that situation happened. It can be my own little danse macabre in a way, and utter frustration to think about when I get home (to the chagrin of the Mrs.).
One of these days, we'll create a better system, but until then, I can't forget to eat my Wheaties in the morning.

Just a slight muse on a dark and stormy Wednesday.

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