Monday, July 1, 2013

What the heck is a "Wine country professional look?"

 While researching new places to visit, I came upon an ad for a position in the wine industry. The position was for an outreach coordinator. The title sounds professional and all, but the requirements that are desired do not exactly match the job. For instance, listed in the expectations sections of the requirements, the position requires the "highest level" of professionalism. Okay, that's a bit vague, but the ad further details that risque or potentially offensive humor will not be tolerated. Wow! What have we here? Risque?  Unlike other ads that I have read on occasion, where the job requirements are more targeted to what the employer is looking for in a good, hard working, dedicated, enthusiastic employee, this ad specifically detailed exactly what characteristics in an employee that the employer did not want...mainly in regards to a sense of humor and dress code.

To better understand what was read, I contacted the winery to get clear what it was they were looking for.

 This is a paragraph taken directly from the ad.

EXPECTATIONS

- This position requires the highest-level of professionalism. Risqué or potentially offensive humor or other behavior not consistent with the high standards of this position will not be tolerated.
- When doing outreach or hosting a VIP group, the incumbent is to dress in a “wine country professional” manner. This includes wearing a dress shirt or “polo” type shirt with a collar, slacks such as khakis and semi-casual or dress shoes that are clean and polished. Additionally, the incumbent must have a clean, well-maintained personal appearance when interacting with consumer and trade guests.
- Drinking alcohol beyond what is reasonably required for leading a wine tasting will not be tolerated.
- The incumbent will abide by all Standards of Conduct and other requirements as outlined in the Employee Manual (available for review upon request).
 This position must be willing to roll up their sleeves to do what’s necessary to delight customers and generate sales.

SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE & ABILITIES

- College Degree preferred. Minimum of High School diploma. 


Interesting? In visiting more than 245+ wineries in the last two years, one characteristic of a tasting room employee that annoyed me more than outright dismissal and bad customer service was the robot. Yes, that person who literally wrote the answers to the test on their arm or the bottom of their shoe. Never making eye contact, consistently searching for their notes lest they miss a sentence on why I should be in the wine club, and....wait for it...pronouncing a word wrong because they misspelled it. 
     
     "Would you like to try our Ca-bernet Sa-vig-non?"

Okay, stick me with a fork, I'm done! Really people, hire someone who can at least spell! Personality in a tasting room is appreciated...and, with a little humility and less BS, flaws are embraced. I would much rather be served by someone who readily admits that they do not know everything. In fact, if you really want to score points with me,and I ask a question that I'm pretty sure the person can't answer...I know, how unfair and judgmental, a good answer would be something like, "You know, I can't answer that question, but I will ask someone who may be able to answer it." Or, better yet, I'm good with, "Let me Google that."

Another example of the annoying tasting room employee, the pretentious asshole! You've seen them, nose in the air, demur voice and no sense of humor.(They also tend to wear khaki's and semi-polished street shoes...like they go together!)  The best part, this person is oftentimes so wound up that they overlook the possibility that you have a wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket and had they unbuttoned their polo type dress shirt (Is there such a thing?) a notch or two, you may have joined the wine club...or at least purchased a bottle. Seriously people, give your tasting room staff a little slack to be human and get over you!

Personally, I am not against uniform dress code, but be specific. What the heck is a "wine country professional" look, no braids, dreadlocks, yarmulka's or turbans? According to the ad, they wanted someone who would be willing to "roll up their sleeves" to do whatever was necessary to please a customer. Rolled up polo shirt sleeves...NOT attractive!) I once worked for a winery that required everyone to wear silk, mens ties. We did not purchase the tie, they were provided and we were not allowed to take them home. Each day, depending on who worked, a filthy, smelly tie was available to wear. After complaining about the wretched, funky uniform requirement, I was told that I if I didn't like the tie, I would have to clean it myself. My reply, if I have to clean it, I own it! The owners were not amused and a verbal thrashing ensued which resulted in me developing my exit plan. Needless to say, I was given a brand new tie the next day. 

I cannot help but laugh at the arrogance exhibited by business owners who do not understand that they are pushing the limits of a lawsuit by seeking employees incorrectly and unprofessionally. But what confounds me more is the audacity to post an ad that is vaguely discriminatory. Fortunately, the aforementioned winery owner removed the ad within a day once I called and told them how offensive it was. My work here is so, not done!

Until next time,

Salute!