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Archive for April 25th, 2009

I was checking the beer shelves of my local Vinmonopolet shop on my way home from work the other day, when I overheard a conversation between one of the staff and a customer. Both were ladies in their fifties, and the customer needed some guidance, as she wanted to buy a beer as a present. She had picked a bottle of wine, but she wanted a nice beer as well.

The looked at some Belgian beers, clearly finding this task overwhelming. Some snippets of the conversation:

-This one is a Trappist, I don’t know about the other one.

-I don’t really know anything about beer.

-My colleague is the beer specialist here, and he is not in today.

I intervened and helped the lady select an Ardenne Blond from Haandbryggeriet, a nice beer unlikely to offend anyone.

The staff at the Vinmonopolet stores are, to a large extent, paid to mill arond among the customers giving advice. I believe they have more or less the same number of employees per shop as when everything was kept behind the counter and they had to fetch every bottle. Now most of the shops are self service so we do the carrying ourselves. In the store in question they had already cleared the shelves for the new arrivals that will go on sale 2 May, so they are clearly not too pressed for time.

Strong beer has been sold in the Vinmonopolet shops for around 30 years. The lady in question has probably been working in the system as long. Is it too much to ask that she gets some basic knowledge about this type of goods?

I am sure she can give excellent advice on which Chablis you should serve with your shellfish.

An alternative way of selling beer

An alternative way of selling beer

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