Rob Moshein - The Austin Wine Guy

Austin Wine Guy "Moron of the Year Award" 2012

January 16, 2012

I don't really understand why, but it seems that the New Year brings out one huge piece of stupidity in Austin.  One thing so genuinely brain dead, rectal-cranially inverted, that I must award the "AWG Moron of the Year."

The 2012 winner: Central Market.

Congratulations to those powers that be, who are so removed from the Wine Industry, who have no clue as to how wine is sold and how reputations are built and sales made, that they have caused me to remove Central Market, particularly the North Lamar store, from my "Favorite Places to Buy Wine in Austin."

Now, Gentle Reader, Yr Mst Hmble & Obdt Svt has been a devoted fan of the wine department at Central Market North Lamar since the store opened.  I used to work there in the wine department back in the bygone days; back when the Dead Sea was just still sick.

Chuck Huffaker ran the show, and did an amazing job. He went on to help create and establish Grapevine Market (another wonderful wine institution sent to an early grave by another example of corporate stupidity and brain dead thinking by Dallas based Majestic Liquors who bought out Grapevine and killed it within two years!)  The reputation he left at CM North Lamar continued on for years after.

I love the staff at Central Market. Many of them over the years have gone on to become good friends, even after leaving to pursue other career paths.  I used to buy wine regularly there.

The staff remains wonderful. Sadly, they have been left with precious little to sell and even less to make them different, interesting or competitive.

As I said over this weekend, upon walking into the "new" wine department "Oh, look, it's just like a wine department, only smaller and more boring and with less to sell."

Yes, the new shelves are very low, and can not even hold a full case of a product. That's rocket science thinking there. The brain dead powers that be cut the number of SKUs (different wines) substantially. There are no more "allocation" wines, "pre-sale" wines, or anything you can not find in any other normal grocery store or liquor chain.

To add insult to injury, and to compound the rectal-cranial inversion of whoever the idiots are that dictate such things, Central Market is also MORE EXPENSIVE on the same items than can be found elsewhere, including regular HEB.

Why shop there? To be honest, there is no reason left anymore. I shop there for groceries regularly. Why? Because the rest of Central Market offers quality, choice and different specialty items that I can't find anywhere else in town. EXCEPT that wine department.  Thus, I no longer will buy wine there, except maybe something to cook with. Certainly not to drink.

So, Central Market Powers that Be: Why in HELL have you totally destroyed what makes Central Market  what it is, in the wine department? The only reason possible is that you aren't smart enough or experienced enough to know that you are killing the Goose that Lays the Golden Eggs for you.  Your wine department doesn't spoil like produce, bakery, meat or fish. Your wine department offers you a higher profit margin than grocery and offers a higher ticket ring per item than most anything else in the store. Yes, you idiots, how many other things will people routinely pay say $25 for a SINGLE ITEM in the store, aside from perhaps the meat market?

Hey, let's reduce our selection. Stop offering different things and charge too much. GREAT IDEA. Yeah, right. Morons.

And so, Gentle Reader, Austin becomes less special, less sophisticated, less different.  Corporate idiocracy takes it toll yet again.

RIP Grapevine Market. RIP Central Market Wine Department.

I can't close with "cheers" on this one.

Rob Moshein
Austin Wine Guy

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