Monday, July 21, 2008


In this modern world, it seems that the customer isn't necessarily right--or even part of the equation. Doing the job right matters, of course. And in this economy, price matters--slightly less when there is greater quality, but still. There is an old business adage: "We can get it done fast, well, or cheap. Pick any 2." But I, Mrs. Brew Meister, can honestly say that service matters.

Take, for example, a so-so beer. Back in the days of grad school and tiny income, Parrothead and I had to sacrifice our burgeoning love of fine beers for "cheap canned stuff". Not that CCS can't make for a fine evening, especially a hot summer one without air conditioning.

Sometimes, we'd even splurge beyond Ameri-Canadian yellow fizz for a Sam Adams.

Years ago, for example, the Cranberry Lambic was available in abundance. It was one of my favorite beers. Then, one day, it disappeared from the shelf. I was crushed. The internet was fairly unsophisticated, but I was able to squeeze out the customer service e-mail addy for Samuel Adams. I gave them a glowing review of the lambic, then lamented that my local store no longer had the fine beer. Their response was that it had gone away; that was the end of the road.

I had to hit Jungle Jim's for any backlog of supply, rationing the beverage for lambic-worthy nights (or people). There were too many of both, and too little of the beer.

Years later, I found the Cranberry Lambic again as part of a seasonal pack. I had to buy 12 beers, just to get 2 of my favorite. Then we moved to another state, and the seasonal pack there didn't carry the lambic. We moved again, and I was toyed with on another box that promised my fruity treat--only to find the box had 4 of another variety, and they had mistakenly left out the lambic. That e-mail to Sam Adams didn't net me any sympathy, or even a coupon.

I guess my point is, when it comes to quality, some businesses know they have the good stuff and know that the customers will come. So maybe they don't try anymore.

On the other hand, a 12 pack of college CCS, Molson Ice, mistakenly had some half-filled cans. Molson was so sorry, they sent my husband a beautiful, leggy blond--right to the apartment--with a full case of bottles. Too bad for him, I was the one home to receive it. She was really cute, too. Ha! The beer was much tastier, since Customer Service had stepped it up a notch. It became our CCS choice for the rest of college.


P.S. Customer Service also extends to accurate bottle labeling. We are loving the Unibroue beers, but they are very expensive. In order to try a new beer, we would wish to know more about the contents before splurging. Short of consulting the Crackberry while we are in the store and trying to find some decent interweb signal to help us search, we'd rather have a clear description of the beer--right on the label. Lucky for them, we'll keep buying the products, because those we have tried have been Made of Awesome. However, I may have to e-mail Unibroue about label descriptions.


Anonymous said...

the other bummer about the Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic is that they changed recipes after the first few years, to a less appealing one IMHO.

Mrs. Brew Meister said...

Exactly. I knew it wasn't just a matter of building it up in my memory. Lucky for me, Parrothead is capable of making a cranberry lambic--I just need to get that slated for the fall.