retail behavior

I purchased two bottles of champagne from a local wine shop (Los Angeles) on line. I received a confirmation and my credit card was charged. I then received an email informing me that the wine had been sold to another customer prior to my purchase and that my card would be refunded. I am interested in what you all think about this. Thanks for your input.

They handled it properly. A lot of people are having inventory management issues for some reason. Also, smaller shops are more likely to have these kinds of issues I feel like. It’s how they respond to them that matters.

Maybe a walk in customer grabbed them before they pulled your order or something. Sucks, but they refunded your money promptly and life goes on.

I get that this happens and is practically unavoidable, but it irks me when I place the order Monday morning and they wait until Wednesday to pull it and find it’s gone…

My thoughts exactly.

Or when they let me know 1 year later that they dont have the bottle I ordered after confirming it was mine right after purchase. Cough Vins Rare Cough

It’s annoying, but there’s nothing really to do but move on. Up to you whether you want to shop there next time.

I don’t think this is that big of a deal… pretty typical actually and I’ve had it happen a number of times

Agreed. Sh$t happens. Thank them for letting you know and let them know you’re hoping to continue purchasing from them and see what they say . .


It’s annoying but one of the problems with a hobby where items are in limited supply and can be grabbed from a shelf. I wouldn’t hold it against the retailer given that they notified you promptly and refunded the money.

This just happened to me with my local guys, and they offered to replace the 2 x 750 ml with 2 mags of the same wine and vintage for the same price. I would never expect that, but it was much appreciated.

One of the big problems for small retailers is they can host online stores but it’s not the easiest thing to sync your physical POS/inventory with your online orders. Usually its a big upcharge from the e-commerce provider (or the POS software). It’s much easier and cheaper to run them independently and then manually true them up when you get orders, but occasionally you’re caught out like this.

Yep, the nail on the head is probably in store POS and the ecom website software running completely different systems. So it’s usually cost prohibitive to sync them with automation, and if you can actually find a software company that can do it, it ain’t gonna be cheap.

It’s just wine and you got your money back, so I see no problem.
I think in this age of instant gratification and minute-by-minute tracking of orders that sometimes people have inordinately high expectations of service everywhere they go, but the world is not a uniform plane and things go bump in the night sometimes still.

Thanks for all the input. My hearing that this just a common problem makes this very minor. I was not angry, but interested in feedback. This board is the best!

I think they handled it well. Ideally it is the same day. They may have been trying to source another bottle from a distributor, to give you the option of a refund or to wait for it to ship though.

I recently sold my business that was eCommerce and inventory was synced with the site and you can still have issues because inventory wont always be perfectly accurate. You may accidentally ship item x to customer who ordered item y. Sometimes the customer keeps it and never tells you so both x and y are showing incorrect inventory levels after that. That is one of several common issues that don’t caught immediately. The tougher thing is that if you don’t do regularly inventory checks, you wont know you have the issue until you are low on inventory, as you only find out when you oversell. Being off on the count is mostly irrelevant when you have many in stock.

Fuck ups happen. The important things are how often they happen, if they learn from the fuck ups, and how they resolve the issue. I can’t speak for the first 2, but I think they did a fair job handling it if they are a small business.

That’s a very nice gesture. Sounds like you may be one of their more valued customers?

I’ve had this happen before as well. It usually happens with items that are on the floor vs being held in the back of the shop and a walk in customer purchases the last bottle. If its something I really want, I call into the store to make sure they pull the bottle aside till they’re able to process it. Although I have had pushback from certain shops when asking this but most will gladly do so.

Our company had this problem for many years. Syncing retail and online inventory is not a trivial problem. We had to step up to a higher level of POS software, which came with a not so trivial expense.

They were proactive - contacted you and refunded your card quickly. Mistakes happen, it’s how they’re handled. I’d give them the benefit of the doubt.