We Call Up Liquour Store That Allegedly Humiliated Readers Girlfriend

UPDATE: Transcript added.

We called up Shannon to find out about The Wine Press policy against humiliating customers. She was very feisty. We told Keith to have his girlfriend call the manager. Actually the most part is the aspersions Shannon casts against blogs.

“Are you a journalist?
“Nope, I’m just a blogger”
“Ok! You said it all right there.”

Though it costs us getting our ass totally kicked in the conversation, we do manage the victory of stoking Shannon’s desire to speak with Keith’s girlfriend and get the situation resolved.

Previously: “How To Deal With Liquor Store Humiliating My Girlfriend?

CONSUMERIST: Hi, I was wondering, do you guys sell Guinness Extra Stout?


CONSUMERIST: You do? How much is it?

SHANNON: We don’t quote prices over the phone.


SHANNON: Because that’s our policy, we don’t quote prices over the phone.

CONSUMERIST: Oh, do you have a reason for that policy?

SHANNON: Uhm, that’s just our policy, that’s what the owner wants.

CONSUMERIST: Ok. Do you have a policy against humiliating customers?

SHANNON: How am I humiliating you?

CONSUMERIST: Oh no, this isn’t in reference to me. I had a friend come into your store the other day, and they were asking for Guinness Extra Stout? And they were told by an employee that not only did Guinness Extra Stout not exist, but that she was an idiot for asking?

SHANNON: I doubt we would have said that she was an idiot for asking.


SHANNON: I seriously doubt that. If you want, you can give me, you can have your friend call me if she wants. Do you know who it was that she spoke to?

CONSUMERIST: I do not, but I can get that information for you. Are you the manager?

SHANNON: One of them, yes.

CONSUMERIST: Okay, what’s your name?

SHANNON: Uh, who’s calling?

CONSUMERIST: My name is B–

SHANNON: Why don’t you give me your name?

CONSUMERIST: I’m Ben Popken.

SHANNON: Okay, when did this incident take place?

CONSUMERIST: I was told that it occurred last night.

SHANNON: By who?

CONSUMERIST: A friend of mine.

SHANNON: And did they describe who the person was helping them?

CONSUMERIST: They said it was a man.

SHANNON: Okay, why don’t you have your friend come in to talk to me or give me call, okay? I’m here all day.

CONSUMERIST: Okay, can I have your name?

SHANNON: Shannon.

CONSUMERIST: Shannon, okay. Alright, I will do so. Thank you.

SHANNON: Okay and just out of curiosity, why are you calling me and not your friend?

CONSUMERIST: Because I am an advocate for good consumer behavior and I heard his story and I was outraged on his behalf and I wanted to find out–

SHANNON: You just said it was a girl. You just said *she* came in. Now it’s a he?

CONSUMERIST: No, Shannon? My friend is a man. And his girlfriend came in to pick up some Guinness Extra Stout for him, and then my friend, who is a man, told me about what happened to his girlfriend.

SHANNON: So this is third-party information? Third-person information?

CONSUMERIST: That might be an accurate description, sure.

SHANNON: So you’re not 100% sure because you’re hearing from someone who heard from someone about an incident, correct?

CONSUMERIST: Er, that is an–

SHANNON: Are you an advocacy group? That I can look up on the web?

CONSUMERIST: Yeah, Consumerist dot com.

SHANNON: Consumerist dot com, and you run this?


SHANNON: Ok! And exactly what type of web site is it?

CONSUMERIST: It’s a blog.

SHANNON: Is it a professional? Oh, it’s a blog. So it’s a private blog?

CONSUMERIST: No, it’s a public, professional blog.

SHANNON: Public professional.


SHANNON: And this is your company that you maintain on a daily basis?

CONSUMERIST: I’m an independent contractor working for the company, yeah.

SHANNON: Is it your company?


SHANNON: So I can check this out anytime?

CONSUMERIST: Yeah, Consumerist dot com, in fact your story is posted up there right now. So…

SHANNON: That’s awesome, I can’t wait to look at it. But before you go and post something like that, shouldn’t I clear it up with the person the incident took place with?


SHANNON: Rather than misinformation, from like I said, a third person?

CONSUMERIST: –we’re post–

SHANNON: You know, it’s like the telephone thing, you know, where you say one thing and it could get construed in the next conversation and the next conversation and the next conversation?

CONSUMERIST: You know, that’s definitely a possibility–

SHANNON: Shouldn’t you try and find out the facts first hand or have me find out the facts first hand before you go ahead and start publishing our name on your blog? About our bad customer service? Don’t you think that’s bad customer service that *you’ve* just committed?

CONSUMERIST: No, we’re posting an allegation, we said it was an allegation, we’re asking for people asked for, our reader asked for help with how to deal with the situation and in fact the–

SHANNON: Well why doesn’t-

CONSUMERIST: THE MODE OF ACTION, the mode of action that we advised him to take was to get in contact with you. And now I’m following up on the story.

SHANNON: Well why isn’t that person following up on it? If it If it If it was something that she feels was committed against her, why isn’t she following up on it? Why is she having someone third person follow through on it?

CONSUMERIST: Because she felt humiliated, she was brought to tears by the behavior she described–

SHANNON: Tears?! Was she in tears when she left here?

CONSUMERIST: Let me read it, let me take a second to look at her story again. Mmm… she reports being in tears after trying to call, actually she did try to call back to speak with the employee, that she had a problem with, and then she says that the employee said he was not available, and after that is when she says she was brought to tears by the humiliation she alleges.

SHANNON: Do you have the girls name and phone number that you can call and have her call and call me?

CONSUMERIST: I don’t know have I do not–

SHANNON: To talk to her about this situation.

CONSUMERIST: (sighs.) I was not sent that but what I will do is–

SHANNON: Because I think this is something that I should personally deal with with *that* person.

CONSUMERIST: Definitely, definitely. What I’m going to do, Shannon, is I’m going to forward the gist of the conversation to my friend who reported it, he’s definitely very interested in getting this resolved and tell them that they should be getting in contact with you directly.

SHANNON: Yeah yeah yeah I don’t think that you know, you’re not uncomfortable with publishing allegations third person?


SHANNON: You’re not uncomfortable with that?


SHANNON: You didn’t hear from the person *directly* about this incident and you’re just going to go ahead and publish this on the web? Isn’t that kind of unprofessional? And I’m not accusing you, I’m just asking you, in the situation, you don’t feel uncomfortable with pretty much conjecture right now, publishing conjecture?


SHANNON: Your’re not uncomfortable with that?


SHANNON: Are you a journalist?

CONSUMERIST: I’m a blogger.

SHANNON: Are you a journalism student?

CONSUMERIST: Nope, I’m just a blogger.

SHANNON: Just a blogger? Ok!

CONSUMERIST: I’m just a blogger.

SHANNON: You’ve said it all right there.

CONSUMERIST: Yeah, but what I’m going to do is, is I’m going to follow up the story with this conversation, with how you were interested in getting the problem resolved and I’m going to put that up there–

SHANNON: Yeah! I just don’t understand why you’re calling me–


SHANNON: –Why this person isn’t calling me direct.

CONSUMERIST: Well, maybe there were a little humiliated and afraid and they didn’t feel that the store was going to–

SHANNON: I’m sorry, you’re breaking up, are you on a cell phone?

CONSUMERIST: No, I’m on Skype. Maybe they didn’t feel that if you’re going to go so far as to humiliate her in the store she didn’t feel you would be so helpful when she tried to call on the phone, and she did try to call on the phone, and now we’re going to tell her that Shannon said, you know, give her a call directly, and, you know, let’s get this all figured out. If at the end of day, it turns out that this person is completely wrong, that this incident never occurred, you know, we’ll put that up there too and we’ll say this a problem, don’t send us fake, don’t send us rumors, don’t send us lies, you know?

SHANNON: Are you a–

CONSUMERSIT: We’ll follow along.

SHANNON: BU student? Is she a BU student?

CONSUMERSIT: I don’t know about her level of, where she goes…

SHANNON: I’m just trying to figure out age group, you know, I’m not asking for specifics like date of birth, or her name, because that’s, you know, you can have her call me, and that’s fine, but I wouldn’t want to put you on the spot, you know asking extremely personal questions, I’m just trying to get a feel of like the age group, is she you know, like a graduate student…?

CONSUMERIST: I’m really uncertain and I don’t know, I was just told the story, and they didn’t tell me about their background. But I’m sure maybe if she talks to you you can find out more about her, whatnot.

SHANNON: Yeah! I mean, I’m going to be here for a while, I’m not sure how long I’ll be here just because I have a doctor’s appointment, uhm uhm I’m waiting to find out about a doctor’s appointment, emergency doctor’s appointment… so if she calls and I’m not here, and she doesn’t feel comfortable with leaving a message, which, that’s fine, I understand, I will definitely be here tomorrow, tomorrow’s Friday, Friday, I will definitely be here from two o clock in the afternoon to eleven o clock at night, because I’m closing.


SHANNON: And your name’s Ben, right?

CONSUMERIST: That’s right.


CONSUMERIST: I’ll pass this along.

SHANNON: Okay, great, Ben.

CONSUMERIST: Thanks, Shannon.




Edit Your Comment

  1. Wow. This woman doesn’t seem interested in customer service and/or selling beer. I wouldn’t shop there. Now my First Amendment Sense is all offended.

    (Also, she seems kinda big on the interrupting.)

  2. 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 back as soon as she got home and was told that the person she dealt with was unavailable.

    She can’t call Shannon during the day because she’s at work, but she’ll try to call this evening.

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

  3. MosH8ed says:

    I like how she uses almost every ounce of knowledge she has gained from her business 101 class from the community college.

  4. MosH8ed says:

    Shannon that is… not keith-ma’s girlfriend.

  5. 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 back as soon as she got home and was told that the person she dealt with was unavailable.

    My girlfriend can’t call Shannon during the day because she’s at work, but she’ll try to call this evening.

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

  6. Pelagius says:

    Newsflash: People from MAAAHSSachusetts can be brash and obnoxious.

  7. TPIRman says:

    Boy, as soon as she hears that one of her customers has been wronged, she is just overwhelmed with concern, isn’t she?

    I don’t understand the world of morality that managers like this exist in. Why is it that when a customer is treated like dog shit, it’s the customer’s obligation to let the store try to “resolve” it before any other action is taken? It’s generally responsible and productive to let management know, but that doesn’t preclude other courses of action. The guy has every right to tell his story to whoever will listen.

    At least Shannon mentioned an owner, so if her feistiness continues, there’s one more layer to pursue here. It’s hard to tell how she is going to handle the call from an actual customer. On the one hand, she mostly seemed indignant that she was talking to a journalist (even worse, a blogger), but then at times she seemed to be preparing to undermine the customers story—like when she asked, “Is she a B.U. student?!” with barely-contained disdain. There was definitely a sense that if the offended customer was a young college student, she couldn’t give a flying fuck about the quality of service, or lack thereof.

    One last side note: My favorite moment was when Shannon expressed great dismay at all the deeply “personal” questions she was being asked. As far as I could tell, the only remotely personal question Ben asked was her name.

  8. SteveFromYellowstone says:

    I thought Shannon was going to go into specifics on the doctor’s appointment thing! I hope everything works out for her.

  9. Kangarara says:

    Wow. That really leaves a bad taste in the mouth, eh? (the phone call, not the beer – although I’m not a fan o’ Guinness).

    I gotta say, this feels to me like there’s some sort of karmic smackdown due these people, and because the universe is probably a bit busy with some of the other karmic atrocities going on in other parts of the world, perhaps ‘we’ should take it upon ourselves to teach these folks a lesson in manners.

    (‘we’ is in quotes because I live on the other side of the continent and across a border)

  10. Kangarara says:

    [heh. I just realised that the ‘eh?’ in the post above probably tipped you off to the ‘across a border’ part]

  11. Kangarara says:

    [heh. I just realised that the ‘eh?’ in the previous post probably made the ‘across a border’ comment unnecessary]

  12. Jupiter Jones says:

    How about a transcript?

  13. Ben Popken says:

    Working on transcript right now, few more minutes….

  14. pete says:

    This seals it.
    I now urge everybody who reads this to call the store and express how they feel about this.
    Tell them you read about it in the Consumerist blog. They will quickly realize that bloggers are ten times more effective than “journalists” when it comes to garnering quick community response.

  15. Falconfire says:

    ” The Wine Press makes a fair point that this story is currently being passed along by parties several times removed.”

    Lol aint that a bitch, word of mouth about bad service spreading all over like that. Kinda makes you wish you had treated a customer with respect doesnt it…

    As a kinda funny aside from this whole thing, as I said I was a Extra Stout drinker, and there is a reason for it. In NJ for a long time it was impossible to find either the bottles or the cans of the regular stout. So my mom used to buy me the extra by accident because she thought that was the only one they had (this was right when the special device was created and they had started advertising the regular stuff)

    After a few goofs on getting the wrong beer I got to the point of actually liking the extra to today where its the bottle beer of choice for me. Personally I find lauger too watery which is why I like my beer with some meat to it.

  16. VentMan says:

    Wow, I hate you say it, but you got your butt handed to you.

  17. exkon says:

    You can’t win them all. A+ for the effort!

  18. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    “Newsflash: People from MAAAHSSachusetts can be brash and obnoxious.”

    People from aaaaaaaaanywhere can be brash and obnoxioius. Let’s refrain from casting aspersions on an entire state/completely misunderstanding the accent.

  19. cudthecrud says:

    Like a ferocious schnauzer.

  20. You know, at first I almost agreed with VentMan, but after the convo finished, I realized that she was just really antagonistic and defensive right from the start. She made some interesting points, but overall you could certainly tell she was not someone used to not getting her way. She was certainly more interested in the store’s reputation than she was in resolving the issue.

    And the hunt for her age/generation was very strange- I agree she was hoping it would be a younger person so she could write it off or assume they were the ones causing trouble.

    And then the “emergency doctor’s appointment” comment was extremely odd. Drawing sympathy? I don’t know. Maybe she was so preoccupied with it and that’s why she was so edgy.

  21. inzain says:

    …Really? You folks think she’s being unreasonable?

    I think she made some very valid points and I’m pretty sure I would react in a similar manner. Its one thing to get called up by an angry customer; its a whole nother thing to get called up by an online blog that’s essentially flamebaiting me. I believe she was (for the most part) quite professional, albeit defensive.

    And yeah, I have to agree, you got your ass handed to you. Always fun to listen to your calls, though :)

  22. Ben Popken says:

    In “Pwning” me in the call, Shannon only proved The Wine Press needs an attitude adjustment.

  23. acambras says:

    Yeah, it’s weird and offensive that she kept asking so many pointed questions about Ben’s role in the whole thing, and about the girlfriend’s age group. I think Shannon just wanted to be able to compartmentalize/marginalize people and thus discount what they have to say — if Ben’s “just a blogger” and the girlfriend is “just a college student.” And all of her interruptions are annoying.

    Maybe she had to have an emergency doctor’s appointment to get that stick removed from her ass.

  24. gypsychk says:

    Wow. Personally, the original story didn’t move me much, and I’m someone who’s reduced to tears by mean people on a daily basis.

    But after hearing the call. Ugly. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Shannon actually did herself the disservice of taking a he-said-she-said story and exposing herself as the kind of person I don’t want to deal with. Ever. Even for beer, and I loves me some beer.

    To her credit, she did finally pull herself together toward the end of the call.

  25. d0x says:

    That lady sounds like an incredible bitch. I live in MA and I feel like going to this store just to talk with them myself.

    You would think she would be a little friendlier considering your talking to her about customer service..I mean giving someone a rude tone right off the bat is just crazy and only solidifies the claims of the person who was harrassed.

  26. omicronpersei8 says:

    I don’t think any of the “third party” defense is relevant.

    Say I see a news story that states a former employee of a liquor store came to the police with allegations that the store’s owner was running a prostitution ring out of the back room.

    If I call the liquor store to confirm and instead of denying the allegations or respectfully denying to comment on the situation they’re antagonistic about my “third party information”, then I’m going to think there is something up which is fishy.

    Perfect customer service would have been to say:

    “I’m not aware of this situation. I sincerely apologize if that is in fact true. Would it be possible for this customer to contact me so I can discuss it with her directly and maybe get some more information?”

    Is that so difficult?

  27. Chris says:

    I thought she handled it very well. She gets a call asking about beer, that quickly morphs into an amateurish “ambush” stunt (“do you have a policy against humiliating your customers?”), then turns into an interview from some random dude, from some website she’s never heard of. I think she handled it pretty well. You can’t read her tone, and she might’ve been rude, but on paper, she did great (except for the “is she a college student” stuff).

    I’m not letting Ben off the hook for that juvenile Carl-Monday-crossed-with-the-Jerky-Boys opening. This is the thing – we want to be treated like professionals and not dismissed as “just bloggers,” then we have to act accordingly. Look at this from her persepctive, put yourself in her shoes when she answers the phone, and I think she acted pretty professionally. “Please have the person involved call me” is the right response.

    Was it “bad customer service” to NOT handle the issue through a mostly-informed media guy following up on an email from the victim’s boyfriend?

  28. Smoking Pope says:

    Although she was a bitch, her reaction is understandable.

    Imagine 60 Minutes calling you up and informing you that a friend of a friend told them that you molest small woodland creatures, and they already ran a story repeating these allegations. You’d be a little upset that they didn’t call you first to get your side of the story.

    Yes, different medium, more extreme situation, but you get the drift. Her reaction is understandable. That’s not to say that she shouldn’t have handled it better.

  29. Smoking Pope says:

    Hmmm, just me having problems with posting this morning?

  30. Chaoticfluffy says:

    She lost my sympathy at this: “SHANNON: I doubt we would have said that she was an idiot for asking.”

    Honey, the correct response for a manager who just heard an accusation about their employee being a dick is:

    (Mentally): “Who the hell does this guy think he is, how dare he accuse us, etc.” Go to town thinking the caller’s an idiot. I know I probably would, in automatic self-defense.
    (Verbally): “Oh no, sir, I’m sorry to hear that. I wasn’t aware of any such incident – do you have the name of the employee and/or the complainant so I can pursue this further and get it straightened out?”

    ‘Cause see, Shannon, I hear managers are supposed to, at least out loud, render *customer service,* not customer interference. Who knew?!

  31. TPIRman says:

    Was it ‘bad customer service’ to NOT handle the issue through a mostly-informed media guy following up on an email from the victim’s boyfriend?

    This is a bit of a strawman. I don’t think anyone is arguing that she should have handled the issue through Ben. He was calling up to get information as a consumer advocate. Jaboobie absolutely nailed it with what would have been the “perfect” response. In fact, she didn’t have to be polite. It would have been fine if she had just said, “Look, if there was a customer service issue, I want to address it, but I have to speak to the customer in question in order to handle it properly. Tell her to call me. Thank you and goodbye”

    I agree that Ben could have been more professional, and I also think that Ben got his ass handed to him. But that doesn’t mean Shannon was right. From the outset she was dismissive of the complaint and then defensive. Her concern focused almost entirely on the website rather than the potential problem with her store. On the few occasions that she did get back to the actual issue, it was mostly to discredit and cast doubt. She did not handle it well.

    By the way, the transcript is helpful, but it does miss a lot of the tone you can pick up in the audio.

  32. Kat says:

    Oooh, I HATE it when the clerks try to turn it around and make it your fault. My mother and I were in CVS the other day, and the clerk just completely ignored my mom who was standing right in front of her for a good 5 minutes, then started talking to the customer behind her (apparently she’d just picked up some meds or something and had to come back for something else). I said to the clerk, “I know you had to help that lady, but you could have said “I’ll be right with you” to my mom.” She’s like, “I help the customers in the order they come to me…” Wrong answer – that lady was BEHIND my mom…

  33. The Bans says:

    How was she combative?

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

    Shannon had no business asking the question, in my opinion. You girlfriends age (at my school saying you’re a grad student doesn’t really narrow it down enough) and education level are irrelevant to the conversation and the original incident, unless this guy has a habit of hasseling college students.

    Though it costs us getting our ass totally kicked in the conversation

    If by ‘getting our ass totally kicked’ you mean ‘treated with disrespect and an unwarrented amount of snobbery’, I agree.

  35. Actually, she behaves just like the guy from the original complaint. The conversation should have ended with, “Shannon, okay. Alright, I will do so. Thank you.” But, like the guy who called the customer an idiot, she has to keep it going. She has to ‘prove’ she’s right about it not happening, just like the employee had to ‘prove’ that beer didn’t exist.

    She gets mad when Ben asks for her name but Shannon is the one who tells him to have the customer call her. How is he supposed to do that without a name?

  36. Jesse Lee says:

    If I were Keith’s girlfriend and I listened to that call, I don’t think I’d feel much like calling up Shannon to get this issue resolved. I mean, would you want to talk to that lady? The male employee who did the original humilating obviously takes his cues from his boss.

  37. RandomHookup says:

    Yeah, I have an appointment…yeah, an EMERGENCY appointment. That’s the ticket.

  38. kerry says:

    In the original post Keith mentioned that a female employee rang up his girlfriend’s purchase, and shot her a sympathetic glance. Any chance this female employee was Shannon?
    I also agree that questioning the girlfriend’s occupation/education level was insane and totally irrelevant. As long as she’s over 21 it doesn’t really matter, does it?
    She’s got a point about not wanting to go into detail with a third party about an incident she claims she was unaware of, but any reporter should be able to call a business to confirm their story without being treated like crap. Just give whatever stock reporter response her business has, if any, and ask that the consumer call her directly if she’d like to get the problem resolved.

  39. Fenni Fentu says:

    Sorry if I missed this, Ben, but did you get consent to record this phone call? Massachusetts is one of those states that requires all party consent for telephone recording.


  40. shelo says:

    First she says:

    “Okay, why don’t you have your friend come in to talk to me or give me call, okay? I’m here all day.”

    But then she says this later in the conversation:

    “I mean, I’m going to be here for a while, I’m not sure how long I’ll be here just because I have a doctor’s appointment, uhm uhm I’m waiting to find out about a doctor’s appointment, emergency doctor’s appointment…”

    Did she somehow make a doctor’s appointment while on the phone with Ben?

  41. ikes says:

    “SHANNON: Okay, why don’t you have your friend come in to talk to me or give me call, okay? I’m here all day.

    CONSUMERIST: Okay, can I have your name?

    SHANNON: Shannon.

    CONSUMERIST: Shannon, okay. Alright, I will do so. Thank you.”

    Shannon should have ended it right there…

  42. LTS! says:

    You know… when I read the transcript first I thought she had good points. I can hear her voice and there’s an attitude but I’m trying to be objective.

    I suppose I would say that neither side handled it perfectly. Ben would have better served by clearly identifying himself when she answered the phone. I think it might have put her off when he simply asked about them having Guinness and then questioning her on the store policy (which is unrelated to the issue at hand).

    By not clearly identifying himself he creates the image that he might be trying to mislead her (you know media people never do that right?). So she’s bound to get defensive. If you run that up to the next point that this is all hearsay then of course she’s going to get more skeptical.

    She’s bound to question the ethics of posting the story on the Internet without giving her a chance to respond. At that point in time she hadn’t even had a chance to see what was posted and I would guess she was thinking that it was pretty bad. I’d be more curious what her opinion is after reading it and seeing that Consumerists part of the article was really inconsequential and merely reprinted a letter they received.

    Another point to consider is the sheer amount of idiots who want to make crank phone calls these days and get themselves on the web I would think people will just naturally be more defensive when things aren’t clearly stated up front.

    I guess the point is that we shouldn’t just take shots at Shannon here. While she could have handled the conversation better, I don’t think she handled it poorly.

    One other item of note, many many many people don’t know what Guinness Extra Stout is. I’m curious why Shannon said her store sold it when the employee supposedly doesn’t even have it in the order book. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did NOT sell it and Shannon even got it confused with Guinness Draft which is a different style stout entirely.

  43. Smoking Pope says:

    @Spr1dle: Well, as mentioned in that link, a multi-state call where the law differs in each state is a grey area. Personally, I would argue that the call originated in a state where one-party consent applies, so no law was broken.

  44. I still like the idea of internets people calling them and asking if they have it in stock.

  45. Kerry may be right- you know, when listening to Shannon question *when* she actually fell into tears, it sounded fishy– maybe that was Shannon that rang her up? I guess the girlfriend can confirm. And then the weird doctor’s appointment thing…

  46. MattyMatt says:

    What a constructive question Ben asks: “Do you have a policy against humiliating customers?” So, was the goal of this call to gather information, or simply to provoke and antagonize? Calling someone to ask berating, rhetorical questions seems like borderline harassment. (Although that still compares favorably to the behavior Keith’s girlfriend described, which was borderline psychotic.)

  47. MattyMatt says:

    Also: I think it’s a stretch to call Consumerist “professional” unless your conduct follows journalistic rules like asking fair questions, identifying yourself as a reporter at the start of the call, disclosing that you’re recording even if you’re not legally required to do so (except if you’re conducting an undercover sting, you sneaky things), and qualifying unverified claims with the word “alleged” such as in your sentences like “the employee’s actions are absolutely rephrensible and unwarranted.”

    Call yourself a blog, call yourself a consumer advocate, call yourself an independent contractor … but “professional” isn’t a word I’d use to describe Consumerist.

  48. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    I’m thinking the woman Ben talked too may be one of the owners, judging by how defensive she got and her reaction to the story being posted on here. This is probalby why she was more concerned about the bad press than the bad service.

  49. wow, what a bitch. haven’t listened to the recording, haven’t heard the tone of voice, don’t need to. the simple fact that the conversation went on for as long as it did is proof enough that the lady has a severe problem.

    it doesn’t matter who’s calling, it doesn’t matter what the chain of information is, all of that is irrelevant to her problem. her problem is that a customer got bad service, and she needs more information. the only thing she needs to convey is the need to talk to the customer directly to find out what happened. she established that early on, but everything that followed afterwards was unnecessary garbage. that she pushed the issue any further is proof that she handled the call badly.

    if ben had been the one pushing the issue, she should have politely insisted on needing to hear from the customer, and ended the call. but she was the one who dragged things out, so the fault for the call having turned into a confrontation is entirely hers.

    i hope the girl that was offended gets some form of payback, and i hope the store loses some sales over this.

  50. phr3d says:

    I’m fairly impressed with her response, and fairly unimpressed with the caller.

    It’s _way_ to easy for false information to get passed around on the internet. I’m not doubting that the event occurred, but you have to accept the possibility that it did not.

    With the knee-jerk reaction that you see in some of the posts here, what better way to hurt someone trying to run a business than by posting something false? It’s not unprecedented; here’s just one example:


    If bloggers want to be considered journalists, they might want to hold themselves to the same standards we hold journalists to.

  51. Keith-MA says:

    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.

  52. Shannon should put a sign out front:


  53. LTS! says:

    Keith-MA – there will always be some who get carried away. If nothing else there are a few commenters who are quick to throw the dung around. In this case I think Ben and Shannon have taken the vast majority of the beating.

    Look, we understand that the story, as told, shows a creep of a clerk acting completely unprofessionally toward your girlfriend (and we acknowledge that Guinness Extra Stout does exist).

    I had a post on here, and I had someone flame me ridiculously. You simply learn to ignore the ignorant even if they are making the most noise.

    I think the answer you found is that your girlfriend should talk to Shannon. She should also clarify why she told Ben that she sells Guinness Extra Stout but the jerk-clerk couldn’t show it to her in the book. I believe that the store didn’t sell it, it’s really not that popular especially compared to Guinness Draught.

    Other than that what sort of remedy is your girlfriend looking for.. a simple apology? more?

  54. BostonBum says:

    First of all, she hates BU students. The Wine Press is just a street off of the BU campus. And it’s amazingly hard to buy booze there — when I went there, they required two forms of ID if you looked of college age.

    Secondly, a previous commenter raises a good point. Consumerist.com should give the other side of a story a chance to react / do the customer right before posting a story. For all we know, Keith-MA could be the owner of Marty’s Liquors over in Allston and could be looking to create bad press for one of his competitors (although, really, no one can compete with Marty’s).

    I suspect that, given the current state of fact checking on this web site, it would be more than easy to get a completely made-up story on the front page of this site.

  55. the road to hell is paved with good intentions (and congressional pages), keith. hope your gf doesn’t hold it against you. take her out and get her drunk- she’ll forget all about it.

  56. Keith-MA says:

    LTS!, she’s moved on. An apology was all she was looking for, but when she heard the call she decided that speaking with Shannon would probably involve defending things the Consumerist said and possibly even the Consumerist itself in addition to just describing what happened. (She has me and Ben to thank for that, but she ain’t mad at us.) She’s not big on confrontation, and I don’t think she sees the value in following up after everything that’s happened. (And I won’t try to change her mind about it.)

    BostonBum, I don’t disagree that fact-checking is good. But if you follow this story and my comments from the beginning, hopefully you’ll see that it was never meant to end up on the front page before the store had a chance to do the right thing. (Well, had a second chance to do the right thing, since the guy declined to talk to my girlfriend when she called Wednesday night.)

    If you’re interested, a simple way to fact-check the story would be to speak with the female clerk that was working the night of October 4 and witnessed the episode; my girlfriend says this clerk was younger than Shannon sounds and didn’t appear to be a manager.

    We’re just two professionals in our mid-twenties. One of us had a rough experience, and the other one tried to stick up for her.

  57. SecureLocation says:

    There’s no excuse for the clerk’s behavior . Period. And he never would have done something like that to a man because of the very good chance that he would have gotten a can of Guinness Not Extra Stout shoved far down his throat

  58. Terri Ann says:

    Ben it’s a shame you’re “just a blogger”, and that Shannon’s just a manager, and that Keith, his girlfriend, BU students and many other Brookline residents are just consumers.
    I wasn’t shocked when it got to the part where Shannon asked if the girl was a BU student. I don’t think it was to say that they didn’t want BU students business. So many bars, liquor stores, and other stores for that matter in the Boston area like to bundle all 20 somethings into the college student group because that’s the group most places hassle (unnecessarily) the most, at least that’s how I feel as a 20 something resident.

  59. LeopardSeal says:

    Not bad Ben, though I wouldn’t have gone for the ambush, but rather started out with something akin to “Hi, this is Ben Popken calling from the Comsumerist… Could I speak to the manager?” You come off as professional and they start off worried, even before you get to the meat of the matter. From there you can ask if they mind answering a few questions, and either get a complete stonewall or someone on their best behavior and willing to make the situation right.

    But that’s just my $ 0.02 (CDN).

    As for Shannon asking age/demographic questions: All she needs to know is if the girl was of legal drinking age, nothing more. I so would have gone from defense to offense when she opened that topic up, with gems such as “Why, does age determine the level of customer service your customers receive? etc.”

  60. MBM says:

    The owner was quoted last month in a Globe story about possibly opening a location in another Boston suburb:


    Of course, he might just be worried that the Arlington applicant pool wouldn’t include enough hostile sexists to keep the store running at peak inefficiency.

  61. jpcooper43 says:

    I have to admit, I think that this one of those posts where Consumerist takes a nosedive.
    I think Shannon did an excellent job defending herself, she called you out and busted you for engaging in He said/She said tactics. Good for her! I love Consumerist, but man, sometimes you get empowered mixed up with entitled.

  62. Scott Kidder says:

    Did you notify her you were going to tape, and then post, her phone call?