Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My First Drive-Thru Liquor Store Experience....

So my wife and I decided to take our boys to Columbus, Ohio for the weekend to celebrate my oldest childs 4th birthday.  He loves animals and we had heard great things about the zoo and aquarium in Columbus.  The drive to Columbus was quite an adventure.  Screaming and whining children consumed a vast majority of the less than 3 hour drive.  Halfway through the trip I mentioned that we left our beer at home and my wife commented that "we didn't plan this very well".  Truth be told, I had planned on not drinking much, if at all, while on this mini-trip.

Upon arrival in Dublin, a suburb of Columbus, I started researching area shops where I could maybe pick up some bottles to share with my wife on saturday night....once the kids were in bed.  I found a few places and decided that after we visited the zoo and aquarium, I would make a quick trip out to get a sixer or two and come back to the hotel.

If you haven't been to the Columbus Zoo, I highly recommend it.  What a fabulous zoo.  But afterwards, I was ready for a beer or two.  So I dropped the fam off at the hotel and went out on a mini-hunt.  I was quite strapped for time, so I only planned on hitting a couple spots.  Sawmill Beverage and Liquor and PJ's Drive Thru.  Sawmill was first, closest, and I hoped would satisfy the need.  However, upon arrival, I found the selection of craft and local beers quite underwhelming.  Only about 2 cooler doors full of craft and nothing all that interesting.

So I bolt quickly and head to PJ's.  Now, let me preface this story by admitting that I know absolutely squat about drive-thru liquor stores.  Having never been to one, it seemed cool to try out, but also a little strange in that I am the type of shopper who likes to browse a bit before buying...especially when I am in a different state.  So I arrive.  As I pull into the parking lot, I notice a couple things immediately.  First, there are many parking spots right in front of the building...which leads me to believe that I can park there.  Second, I see the coolers where all the beer is stored and there is a small path in front, which leads me to believe that I might be able to walk in.  Third, I notice a sign outside the building which indicates "NO ROLLERBLADING OR SKATEBOARDING ALLOWED".  Great.  It doesn't say anything about walking into the store.  That must be allowed...right?

So I park.  I am thinking to myself "I will just browse the selection, find what I might want, and get back in my car and do the drive-thru thing".  The last thing I wanted to do was to have the traffic of the store held up because I wasn't ready to place an order.  So I walk up to the store, right past the attendant, and start looking at the coolers.  Some decent stuff...I have a few interests.  I was browsing for at least 3 minutes outside the cooler when I notice a cooler door.  The door says nothing about employees only, so I walk in to the cooler.  I am in the back and I find 2 sixers of Jackie O's beers.  Amazing.  This is exactly something I would be looking for.  I was in the cooler for about 20 seconds, saw the Jackie O's and I begin to think "great, I'll go get in my car, drive thru and order those sixers" and as I take my first step toward the cooler the door, the attendant of the store storms in and starts screaming at me to...and I quote...."GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY STORE".  He screams at me.  And by screaming I mean screaming.  Now I immediately say "Ok".  I start to try and politely apologize and the screaming just continues.  I mean rage screaming here, and I'm not exaggerating, I wish I were.  He continues to say that I need to get the F out of his store.  As I am exiting the cooler I try to explain to him that I am not from this state and I didn't know how these shops worked.  The screaming continued...it's clear that this guy won't even listen to me...despite how polite I am being.  In a last ditch effort, I ask him if I can please drive-thru and buy beer from him, apologizing again...and I'm told "FUCK OFF".

This was a first for me.  I've never been kicked out of a liquor store.  I've learned that maybe not all drive-thru liquor stores are like this.  Most allow customers to browse around.  Regardless, I was quite shocked by the whole ordeal.  And sadly, I walked away without those sixers of Jackie O's...which stung the most out of this whole thing.

In the end I managed to get some Uinta Hop Notch and a Lambic for the wife.  We had an amazing experience at The Pint Room in Dublin, and I left Ohio feeling quite satisfied.

My question to you is this: is it normal for drive-thru liquor stores to allow people to walk into the cooler and browse before buying?  It's certainly possible that I missed a sign, although I was trying to be quite careful and notice any signage.  Was this guy over-reacting?  I have to reiterate that I was quite polite and apologetic...recognizing that I must have done something wrong here to deserve his rage.  Or do you think that he was just having a bad day?

Fun times in Ohio.