How To Deal With Liquor Store Humiliating My Girlfriend?

Keith’s claims his girlfriend was subjected to completely unwarranted degradation at a MA liquor store last night by a clerk who asserted that Guinness Extra Stout did not exist, and she was an idiot for trying to buy it.

What’s wrong with you people? We need to be encouraging the greater girlfriend population to pick up beer on the way home.

Read his story inside, then vote on his best course of action.

UPDATE: We called up the Wine Press, spoke with the manager, and posted the combative call.

Dear Consumerist,

I had a long day at work yesterday. When I called the ladyfriend on the way home from the office, she offered to buy me a 6-pack on the way back from class.

“Guinness Extra Stout?” she asked, knowing it’s my favorite beer.

“If they have it, that’d be great,” I said. In case you’re unfamiliar with it, Guinness Extra Stout is a maltier version of Guinness. It’s bottled, and comes without the widget that gives regular Guinness its signature head in the bottle and can versions. I assure you that Guinness Extra Stout is a real beer. (

After looking for a few minutes, my girlfriend couldn’t find any Extra Stout. She decided to ask the guy behind the counter whether they had any in the back.

“No, we don’t have any in the back, because it doesn’t exist,” he told her. His tone was far more condescending than helpful.

“It’s okay if you don’t have any,” she said. “I’ll get something else, I was just curious.”

He didn’t let up.

“Well how can we stock something that doesn’t exist? It can’t be in the back if it doesn’t exist.”

“Sir, I’m just trying to buy some beer.” By now, she had distanced herself from the counter, but he was still pushing the point.

“Don’t be embarrassed. The labels change all the time,” he said. “You made up the beer, but you can’t be expected to know any better.”

She was back by the fridge now looking for regular ol’ Guinness. A few other customers were waiting to check out, but he was still harassing her.

“Here, let’s take a look through my order book. Then we’ll know who’s right and who’s wrong,” he said. She couldn’t have cared less at this point, but she had already invested 10 minutes or so in the store and just wanted to pay and leave. He wasn’t going to let her go without feeling like he had proved something.

He flipped through his order book for a minute. When he got to the page listing Guinness, he pointed out that there was no line item for Guinness Extra Stout.

“See?! You were wrong,” he said. She was 99% certain that she was, in fact, right, but the combination of the beer’s absence in his order book and his increasingly loud and antagonistic tone had her on the verge of tears.

She brought the regular Guinness over to the counter, where a female employee, her eyes apologizing for the other guy’s behavior, rang my girlfriend up.

When she got home, my girlfriend opened the fridge to see two Guinness Extra Stouts still in the fridge from the 6-pack we bought last week. She called the Wine Press and asked to speak to the guy who had just insisted Extra Stout didn’t exist. The girl on the phone said he was in the back office and didn’t want to talk. She asked the girl on the phone to tell the guy that he had been wrong, and that he should never speak to another customer that way again. Then she hung up the phone and cried, feeling thoroughly humiliated over something that was both utterly trivial and false.

When I got home and she told me the story, I was ready to storm over there with the empty Guinness Extra Stout 6-pack holder in hand. My intent was only to subject him to a comparable level of humiliation, firstly for acting so contemptibly towards someone who, you know, wanted to give him money in exchange for a product; and secondly for being outright wrong about the existence of Guinness Extra Stout. But they were already closed.

So, Consumerist, here is my question.

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The employee’s actions are absolutely rephrensible and unwarranted. Sounds like he’s been getting high on his own supply. We advise contacting the manager as a first step. The employee’s resignation, an apology from the store and a free six-pack of Guiness would seem to be in order. Depending on how well he handles the situation will help determine whether you decide to escalate the issue further. Simply taking your business elsewhere in the gracious thing to do, but judging by the other employee’s reaction, this isn’t the first time this guy has been a jerk to the customers. Reporting him is the only way to make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else.


Edit Your Comment

  1. emjsea says:

    How about posting the phone number of the liquor store on the internet and having everyone in the world call and ask if they carry Guinness Extra Stout?

  2. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    Why would she even still buy beer from that store after that?

    I would recommend just putting the guy in his place. Come in with a bottle of Extra Stout, shove it in his face and explain how working in a liqour store is only slightly above cleaning toilets and he can’t even do his job right. What a complete failure.

  3. Falconfire says:

    I would both contact the manager and contact the press. While I doubt the press will care much, if they did the double amount of embarasement/loss of sales, would ruin that dickwads life for a bit.

    As a avid Guiness Extra Stout drinker myself I would have personally gone back to the store and beat the little shitwad over the head with the supposed beer that didnt exist till he bled from the ears, but for a less criminal act destroying him would be much more fun. If you really wanted to be mean (put money and effort into it) should have pressed charges for harrasment and gotten the police to grab the cam tape to use in court to prove he continued to berate you. While there might not be any audio Im sure his additude would come across on camera.

  4. Sheik says:

    I would take this guy a bottle of Extra Stout to him. Give it to him, explain how refreshing and full of flavor it is. Try to get him to open it and taste it. Then take a picture of him drinking on the job and send it to the owner.

  5. Falconfire says:

    what store was this btw, so people know to never go there again? this whole story makes me bitterly mad. especially since Im taking it from the tags this was in Mass and as being located in a state heavily populated with people of British descent they had better fucking know Guinness makes a extra stout!

  6. Bye says:

    Ooo – I like all of these answers.

    In addition to contacting the press, I’d also contact the folks at Guinness who often seem to be happy to step in to educate others about their beers. That could be the nail in the humiliation coffin.

  7. Ass_Cobra says:

    Why is there no option for “Drive car into store and set on fire”?

    Seriously, what a craptacular human being. I mean even if the girl had insisted that Guinness Extra Stout did indeed exist and she couldn’t believe this store didn’t stock it, the employee would have been way out of line. I don’t think you’re going to get a resignation (no one can force you to resign and if you resign you can’t collect unemployment) said employee should be bumped down a few notches (ie. shooing hobos, making deliveries to cranky alcoholic shut-ins, etc.).

    Also for the poster, please do not refer to your girlfriend as “ladyfriend”. Ladyfriend refers to the mummy your grandfather schtupps at the home after your grandmother kicks off or the woman that your “single” aunt Lynn has brought to the past six thanksgiving dinners.

  8. Ben Popken says:

    Sloshua writes:

    “You may not want to drink the beer in-store, i know from experience working in liqore stores that it’s pretty illegal in most places. But I’d definitely bring it in and show him how wrong he was. Go on a friday or saturday when they’re the busiest so you have the biggest audience.”

  9. Ben Popken says:

    Another thought, I bet the Guinness corporation would be pissed to hear of a liquor store misrepresenting their product line.

  10. Keith-MA says:

    Hooray4Zoidberg, she regretted buying the beer as soon as she had done so. But it was the only convenient stop on the way home, and I’m guessing she would have felt even worse if she left empty-handed.

    I’ll find out soon enough whether the guy was a manager, owner, or just a clerk. According to my girlfriend, he carried himself as if he owned the place…

  11. snark says:

    I’m just worried that Keith FORCED her to go any buy beer for him (he didn’t) when he ALREADY had some in his fridge! Ladyfriend could do so much better than this drunken bum (he isn’t).

  12. Keith-MA says:

    Falconfire, it was The Wine Press at 1042 Beacon Street in Brookline, MA.

  13. amazon says:

    It is unfortunate we can only vote for one course of action.

    Maybe bringing the Stout to the manager (in case the manager is equally unaware) and calmly explaining the douchery of the employee? Definitely escalate as much as possible!

    I’ve gotta say this makes me love living in Ontario, where the liquor stores are run by the province. (And they’re unionized so the employees are generally well paid and trained).

  14. He says:

    Normal Guiness is like drinking cream. Extra Stout is like drinking road tar.

    Maybe the jackass guy drank one once and repressed the memory so hard that he thought it was something imaginary like faeries or non-nonalcoholic Old Milwaukee.

  15. Kornkob says:

    Maybe things are more different in Canada than I thought.

    In the US being in a union does not mean you are automatically better trained. I’ve met just as many unhelpful, ignorant unionized jackasses as I have non-union.

  16. TPIRman says:

    I have to go against the majority here. What seems to us like the most viscerally satisfying course of action would probably end up being anything but. If there had been a way to shove some Guinness Extra Stout in the guy’s face at the time the incident happened, that would have been pretty awesome, especially since there would have been a sympathetic audience. But if you go back now, he’ll just play dumb and claim to have no idea what you’re talking about—it’s not like he’s going to suddenly turn into a rational human being for your satisfaction—and you’ll seem like a half-cocked lunatic to anybody else in the store.

    If you want real consequences for this guy, contacting the manager is the way to go, and firmly, courteously explain what happened. Like Ben said, if you don’t get satisfaction, escalate the issue as far as you can. (I think Falconfire was right about the slim likelihood that going to the press would pay dividends.) You want this asshole to get his comeuppance and not pull this bullshit with other customers, and going to management is the best (probably only) way that is going to happen.

    Heading back to the store to finish the argument is a nice fantasy, but in reality it would just be an embarrassing disappointment that would leave you as angry as before.

  17. Keith-MA says:

    Johnny, Ben was kind enough to contact the manager on our behalf, and the manager is eager to speak with my girlfriend.

    I agree that contacting management makes the most sense, and I’m hoping my girlfriend does as well. I’ll post when I hear from her.

  18. Keith-MA says:

    Johnny, Ben was kind enough to contact the store manager on our behalf, and she’s eager to speak with my girlfriend.

    I agree that contacting management is the best way to handle this, and I’m hoping my girlfriend feels the same way.

  19. d0x says:

    There really is no option for me. If i was the guy I would take the beer to the store, and talk to the manager face to face while holding the can in question.

    Doing it over the phone isnt as satifying as going to the place and doing it face to face. Make them know they are wrong without flipping out.

  20. AcilletaM says:

    Hey, my aunt has been bringing a lady friend to Thanksgiving now for the past couple years…

  21. J DTZR says:

    What a douchebag. He sounds like the liquor store equivalent of the assclowns who work at music stores and sneer at everything their customers buy because their own taste is, of course, beyond reproach. This clerk probably drinks Miller Lite.

    I would find out if this guy is indeed the manager or owner. Hopefully not. Then I’d write a letter, and I would most certainly never spend any money at the store again.

  22. kerry says:

    This guy reminds me of a waiter I had who kept making all these weird sexist comments about my food consumption rate. Some guys are just jerks, and want to make women feel small.
    (FWIW, the waiter in question told me I’d eaten an “about average amount of [my] food, for a female.” and that I “wasn’t going to win any eating contests.” That guy was a real gem. He was at Rosebud Steakhouse in Chicago.)

  23. DeeJayQueue says:

    I’d find out how to get a hold of the ordering book for guiness and leave him a copy with extra stout circled, highlighted and the page dogeared. Then send the ladyfriend back in to ask for it.

  24. amazon says:

    Kornkob: It could be that the employees are a form of government worker; the stores are owned by the province – I’m not sure exactly how it works. I do know that they are better paid than your average retail slave. Every LCBO employee I’ve ever dealt with has been very professional, knowlegable and courteous.
    (As a note in Ontario there is only one chain of liquor stores, the LCBO. You generally buy beer at The Beer Store, which is another provincially owned chain but I don’t count that as “liquor”)

  25. Pelagius says:

    The only thing worse than a beer snob, is an ignorant beer snob.

    I’m looking forward to calling these folks up tonight and asking for a case of Guiness Extra Stout.

  26. pete says:

    It sounds like Ben is handling this, but I think they should settle for nothing less than having this guy fired.
    ’nuff said.

  27. cudthecrud says:

    You should just leave a bunch of empty cans/bottles outside the store every night.

  28. Keith-MA says:

    From here on, I’ll be letting my girlfriend speak directly. The Wine Press makes a fair point that this story is currently being passed along by parties several times removed.

    To be fair, however, my girlfriend called the store as soon as she got home and was told that the person she dealt with was still there but unavailable. She can’t call Shannon during the day today because she’s at work, but she’ll try to call this evening.

    It’s also worth noting that my girlfriend had no prior knowledge that I was writing to the Consumerist. I was also not anticipating that the story would be posted immediately, nor that a call would be placed on our behalf.

    I do find it interesting, though, that Shannon’s first impulse was to ask leading questions about my girlfriend and not basic situational questions like “When did this happen?” and “Do you know which employee she dealt with?”

    By the way, since Shannon asked, my girlfriend is a graduate student.

  29. Chris says:

    The guy sounds like a real cock, but does even that merit all this “off with his head” talk? Ben says the store should provide “the employee’s resignation, an apology from the store and a free six-pack of Guiness.” THEN, she should decide whether “to escalate the issue further”? To what? A frivolous lawsuit? Serving up a “story” to the local Carl Monday (“ivestigative reporter”)?

    I’m not defending this dick. I’m just saying even assholery should be kept in perspective, and if you want resignation to be the penalty for 5 minutes of horrible (but no real harm done) behavior, then we’d all better get that letter ready. Maybe we don’t think we act that way, but I bet somebody does.

  30. Morgan says:

    Keith, I think that’s the first time anyone’s mentioned a Shannon; is that the manager of the store? What other leading questions did she ask, besides your girlfriend’s level of education?

  31. The Bans says:

    Why the *&%*& didn’t the sissy ass BF go in and kick his ass?!?!? Some dude disrespects my girlfriend, its my duty as a boyfriend and a man to defend her honor. Not even so much kick his ass if you are too scared to deal with it legal action but at least go in there scare the guy. The hell is wrong with men these days. MAN UP!

  32. kerry says:

    The Bans –
    Sissy boyfriend didn’t go kick his ass because the store was closed when the story was related to him. It’s right there in his letter. Also, I think “sack up” is much catcher than “man up.”

  33. varco says:

    Keith makes one error in his description. Guinness Extra stout comes in small bottles (11 or 12 ounces) and is carbonated. Guinness Stout comes in larger cans or bottles (~15 ounces) that include widgets. I don’t believe Guiness Extra Stout is available with a widget, which nitrogentates the beer.

  34. Keith-MA says:

    Actually varco, if you re-read my note, it says explicitly that Guinness Extra Stout is “bottled, and comes without the widget…”

    Anyway, this whole thing got out of hand. I didn’t want to encourage harrassment of the liquor store, I didn’t mean to put the Consumerist on the spot with mere “allegations,” and I didn’t want to make it uncomfortable for my girlfriend to handle this herself, but it seems like I succeeded on all counts. Really, I just wanted to hold this guy accountable.

    Thanks to everyone who followed the story and offered to help.

  35. varco says:

    ‘Actually varco, if you re-read my note, it says explicitly that Guinness Extra Stout is “bottled, and comes without the widget…”‘

    oops. nevermind then.

  36. Erzengel says:

    call me savage, but if some arse disrespects my girl like that… i consider myself a gentleman, and as a gentleman i wont accept that kind of behaviour. if it were me, i simply find where he lives, kicks his sorry arse, and then make him apologize to her. thats the way i handle that kind of situation… barbaric you may say, but effective.

  37. Terri Ann says:

    Thanks for posting the store address, I live in Brookline and will be sure to spread this to the people I know in the area.

  38. mandarynn says:

    I live in Allston and have never been there. Rest assured I won’t go there ever!

  39. don’t know if Wine Press is a local chain or mom & pop shop but I would have written emails to the liquor store’s CEO, publicity department, marketing department everyone at the company with photos.

    And finally I would have let the distributor of Guiness Extra Stout know that someone is screwing with their sales.