There's Stella and There's Stella


So, yeah, I am one of those gray-to-white haired people you see in grocery stores and other places, still working, a few years after the retirement. Yeah, retirement is good but didn’t plan as well as I thought I had, lots of stuff happened. Lost my house in the mortgage crap, lost my wife to cancer. Oh, sorry, this is actually not about how tragic life sometimes is; it is that this story is actually kind of funny to people like me with an odd sense of humor. Anyway, I wound up needing a part-time job to help out my Social Security. It’s ok. Ten bucks an hour working in the liquor department of a large grocery store chain. Not going to mention it. This is not supposed to be an Ad for anyone, including the liquor people. Oh, and by the way, if by chance this guy I met should read this (which I doubt), no offense meant buddy. I totally get it. Really.

So, as I was saying, I was working an 11AM to 7PM shift, keeping shelves stocked and answering questions, trying to help people. In spite of the fact that I should be taking it easy or traveling (don’t play golf or tennis, none of those sports where you have to hit a ball with a stick) I really do enjoy my job. I also dress like I used to as a bar waiter in school: white shirt, black tie, black pants, black shoes. Sort of giving it away. Doesn’t matter. I like the store and the management. They get a good, conscientious and very friendly and helpful employee for ten bucks an hour. So, most of the time it is fun. Hey! Work can be fun! So, this one day a guy comes in and asks me if we have any Stella. Now I am not really a connoisseur of any alcoholic beverages, and I don’t drink much but when I do, usually a nice Sauvignon Blanc. Wimpy white wine to some. But, in all my years, I have been to Europe, around the USA, have tried my share of wines and beers and visited numerous restaurants and bars. So, I know something about it. This guy looked like a decent guy, kind of stocky, maybe played football in high school, and still enjoys drinking beer and watching the Bears. Maybe I’m wrong, but I liked the guy. So, he asks me if we have any Stella, and I immediately think “beer”! So, Stella Artois, Belgian beer for those who really have no clue about this. I’m like, “Oh yeah! We have lots, got some in the cooler too if you want it cold.” Looking a bit embarrassed he said, “Oh, no, wine. Stella Rosa. It’s not for me.” I picked up on what he said and also didn’t say. So, from what I have learned from customers and the detailers from wine distributors, Stella Rosa is a very good, sweet wine, and the one we get asked for mostly is the red wine. Very sweet red wine; women ask for it frequently. Did you read that? (And as I said, I am not advertising or recommending anything, just telling a story… geez I hope I don’t get sued by anyone. I don’t have any money). So, I switched gears at once, as I am learning to do. Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. “Oh right! Sorry, we sure do have it, follow me, it’s in the Imports”. I showed him what we have and he saw the black label, the sweet red that women seem to like and that this guy who probably drinks beer, except that a woman he loves asked for it, would never shop for. So, ladies, women and girls, please, please do not be offended. I said I was married, 35 years to a great woman. She openly talked about all things woman/feminine, hormones, everything. She many times sent me out to a drugstore to purchase feminine hygiene products for her. Why wouldn’t she? I was her husband and two people who love each other are supportive, even when one is not completely comfortable. I flashed back to standing at the counter and trying to not make eye contact with anyone. I grew up with a mother who did not talk about ANY OF THIS. So, for a brief moment, as this guy said “It’s not for me”, he gave me one of those signals and I totally understood. If only he could have just picked up a 12-pack of beer and walked out he would have been happy. He said, “Yeah, that’s it, thanks.” Took it and quickly walked out. I totally get it.




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