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Thursday, July 14, 2011

To err is human, to folly is divine

Kati's folly
By Steve Siciliano

If you shop at our store, you know you can approach any one of our employees and get sound advice on how to make beer, wine, cider, mead, bread and cheese, on what wine would go best with a certain dish, information on the relative strengths and subtleties of our coffees and bulk teas, help with choosing a book, a selection of cigars, a pouch of cigarette or pipe tobacco, an expensive briar pipe or a utilitarian corn cob, a bottle of liquor, a Frisbee golf disc, and last but certainly not least, a mixed six-pack, twelve-pack or case of hand-crafted beer. What you might not know is that these same employees also order much of the extensive and eclectic inventory that is stuffed on our shelves.

There once was a time when I did the bulk of the ordering. But as the store grew and as we continued to add more products, it became necessary that I relinquish some ordering responsibility and I soon found the staff more than willing to help spend my money. I still do orders for liquor, cigars, the tobacco and tobacco-related products, and a portion of the beer- and wine-making, but it is now Kati who orders much of the beer, Sarah who orders the books, coffee and tea, cheese-making supplies, specialty foods and wine. Greg orders the remainder of the beer- and wine-making, the Perch orders bread-making supplies, and Doug orders Frisbee golf discs and Chemex coffe makers. We are currently exploring the possibility of adding mushroom growing kits and John has been given the responsibility of doing the groundwork for this.

Swig's folly - 28mm caps
Because of the sheer number of products we offer, it is inevitable that ordering mistakes will be made. Sometimes these mistakes are due to operator error—transcribing a number wrong for instance. Other times they are the result of poor or clouded judgement. Still other times they result from falling prey to a sweet-talking sales person. In all cases they may be relatively minor and innocuous or they might end up being a major waste of money. If they turn out to be the latter we call them “Follies”.

Everyone has had a folly or two and we at the store delight in needling the appropriate person about their respective follies. The inordinate amount of Sherwood Forest taking up valuable space on the beer shelves is “Kati's Folly”. The twelve bags of 100 count 28mm caps in back stock is “Greg's Folly”. The fact that we have enough granola to last us until 2015 is “Doug's Folly” and—perhaps the greatest folly of all—the cheeseboard & processed-cheese sets, made famous at this year's homebrew party, were “Sarah's Folly”. ("Whatever you do, don't eat the cheese!")

Sarah's folly? Only time will tell.
We recently began carrying bags of gummi candy and this definitely is not a folly. The candy is, as we like to say in retail, flying off the shelves. Carrying the candy was Sarah's idea and perhaps it was because she was flushed with the success of this venture that she decided to order bags of imported German cookies from the same vendor. When I saw her unpacking and pricing the cookies I gave her a hard look.

“They'll sell,” she asssured me.

“Right,” I said as I examined the product. “Looks to me like another folly.”

“No way,” she insisted. "The whole bag is only $1.89."

“We'll see,” I said as I opened a bag and popped one of the small cookies into my mouth. It was so good that I ate another, and then another. “I'm predicting a folly,” I said as I wiped crumbs off my chin. I guess time will tell.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I've also had my share of follies but lack of space and time prohibits me from going into detail. If you like, you can ask the staff. I'm sure that they'll be more than happy to talk about them.

[Note: This editor lacks neither time nor space. Steve's follies include, but are not limited to, the five hundred Humi Pouches he ordered recently. Unlike the gummi candy, these are decidedly not "flying off the shelves".]

Steve's folly (one of several)

1 comment:

  1. I got one of Sarah's follies at the party. But I "forgot" to inform the wife about "don't eat the cheese.. lol