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Jan 28, 2008 02:52 PM

wine ethics question

so i've been getting some good advice in another thread on which champagnes to try. but in my shopping, i've come across an ethical dilemma.

my corner store sells a decent selection of champagne. just a little mom n pop place, but they have veuve and white star.

here's the dilemma: they have one bottle of veuve gold label reserve priced the same as the yellow label at $34.

so what's the ethical approach here?
1. buy it quick.
2. point it out to them, but don't buy it.
3. don't point it out, just walk slowly away.

i mean, i don't really want to take advantage of them. but neither do i really like getting involved in other people's business...for all i know this fell off the truck, or was sold to them mistakenly...

any thoughts?

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  1. I'd point it out to them...they'd probably appreciate it and sell it to you for $34. Then the good karma you've built up will keep you from getting a hangover. If this was Bevmo, I 'd say your option number 1 sounds about right ; )

    1 Reply
    1. re: Husky

      I agree 100%. It happens. Someone does not notices that it's the Beckstoffer Single Vineyard PN, and prices it like the Acacia Carneros, because the bottles and capsules look the same. I drove back to Costco, and stood in line for 15 min. to point out that I had bough 6 Carneros, and 6 Beckstoffer, but had been charged for 12 Carneros. The diff. was ~ 100%/btl. Their comment was, "no one has ever come back and said that we charged them too little." Now, I wish that they'd thrown in a bottle of Haut Brion for my trouble, but hey, it was Costco, not the mom-n-pop on the corner. Do what is right, and do not even think about doing anything else. You will enjoy the Champagne even more, and have a story to tell about it.


    2. My thinking? Point it out to them, and ask if that's really the right price.

      If they say "yes" then that's fine - buy it. They may not know what they're doing, but you gave them every chance.

      If they say "no," it'll hopefully be accompanied by some effusive thanks and possibly even an offer to give you a break on the real price of the bottle.

      Particularly if it's your corner store and you're shopping there often, it's not worth the guilt and bad karma to try to "sneak out" with a mispriced bottle. On the other hand, no reason not to take advantage of a deal if that's really what they want to sell it at, or at least an opportunity to demonstrate what a thoughtful and concerned customer you are if they made an unintentional mistake.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Frodnesor

        My husband and I own a package liquor store. It's possible (maybe not PLAUSIBLE. . .) that they got a spectacular deal on the bottle--or case--as a promotion. Back when every bottle was tagged, we typically left the original price stickers on bottles when new stock came in at a higher price.

        Regardless, I say tell them.

        1. re: Frodnesor

          Totally agree! Karma counts. And, as Husky notes, the store may give it to you at the price it's marked in such cases. If that happens, you've done the right thing AND gotten a good deal.

        2. Well, buying it quick may be the easiest approach, but is certainly not the most ethical one. I would point out your interest in the bottle and the difference between the gold and yellow labels. If they have no further interest in researching and adjusting the price, I think your ethical obligation would end there. Feel free to buy and enjoy it.

          1. thanks for the pep talks and reminding me to do what i knew was right...

            so anyway, after work i stopped by...and the bottle was gone. did one of you run down there and scoop it up? just kidding.

            anyway, turned out there was one in the fridge. so i asked the guy if the price was right, and he said yes.

            so i said "but it's usually much more than this."

            to which he replied "our prices very low!"

            despite his pride in his boss's low prices, i said "yeah, but it's usually twice this much."

            so he called his boss, who said to give it to me for that price.

            so i got a nice bottle at about half off. i suspect it was a mistaken box that got added to their shipment, because they really didn't seem to know what it was.

            but the $8 i spent on the 1/2 gallon of OJ probably balances it all out...

            1 Reply
            1. re: bwan

              You've turned the karmic wheel in the right direction. Well done and enjoy.