Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Minute Holiday Presents - Best Booze Deal in Town

With Christmas lurking just around the corner, you might be looking for last-minute gifts.  Okay, maybe it’s just me looking for last-minute gifts… anyways, here to save the day, the very first guest columnist on Economical Explorer.  It’s our best man, who jumped off a bridge into the Intracoastal to show his love for Frank and me on our wedding night… Joseph Schulz!  And he’s speaking on a subject he knows all too well – alcohol at Total Wine and More!

You know he's the best man because he's wearing a shirt that
says "Best Man!"  This is also right about the time he said
"masturbation" in front of all of our family and friends ;)

To those of the lucky ones who live in a 10-mile vicinity of these pillars of capitalism… this is one deal you cannot miss. This is especially true for those of us who enjoy imbibing on a frequent, if not daily, basis. Even if you have to burn a $4 gallon of gas to get to Total Wine and More, I would say it’s well worth it. I am convinced the CFO of this company would be able to eliminate our national debt in three months time based on this business model, probably the most important document since the Magna Carta.

The first thing that impresses you about Total Wine and More is, that once you walk in the sliding automatic door, the sheer size of this architectural masterpiece. Nothing fancy, just rows and rows of bottled happiness. The next thing you will notice is that they mean business.  And by that, I mean you have available a shopping cart. And not one of those baskets or the small ones you find at the drug store. I’m talking a full-on shopping cart so you don’t feel like a lush when you fill it up.

I am partial to vodka and red wine and the deals are just amazing. And the more expensive stuff you buy, the better the savings. A handle of Stoli is $24.  It’s $30 at most other liquor stores, when it’s on “sale.”  Also their selection of fine rums is to die for. I paid $27 for a 23-year-old rum that I have seen go for as much as 50 bucks. You can find quality reds for less than $10. If you buy a case, you basically get one free. The cheap stuff is comically inexpensive. I saw a bottle of white wine for $3.99. I don’t think the hangover would be worth it, however, so I stick to the fancy $8.99 a bottle wines.

The beer aisle is like candy land. All the usuals, plus you can make your own six-packs from the single specialty beers. I like to make mine by country. Remember, you are not a real country unless you have your own beer and airline. Kegs are also available for up to $10-15 cheaper than at most other stores. Bonus: You can actually walk into the beer cooler if you want… always a good time.

The one downer is if you want the really good stuff, you have to ask for a person to open up the safe… I mean refrigerator. Every time I have done this, hilarity ensues. Despite the 30 or so people who work there, like, one person has this key. I would venture a guess that buying plutonium is not this difficult, but once the safe is open, it’s go time. If you are buying multiple items, go to the safe last because they don’t let you carry it around once they give it to you.

There is almost always free wine tasting in the store. If you buy one of the wines they feature, you get a discount. Also, on the weekends there are usually various companies hawking their products, so you can basically get drunk for free if you want. DISCLAIMER: I don’t suggest this.

Also on various nights, depending on the location, there is a full on wine tasting that is paired with cheeses. I paid $25 last time and got a great wine buzz, so, well worth it. They have other classes as well but your columnist has not tried those… yet.

If you don’t see something you like you can go to the customer service and request it. I did this on a bottle of champagne and the guy called my cell phone each and every time it was in stock. His name's Jim, laid off a year ago from UPS… two kids, a wife and a golden retriever…nice guy. This made me feel either (1) like a complete alcoholic, or (2) like a connoisseur.

I get the Sunday paper delivered and there are always coupons for this store, so keep that in mind if you’ re trying to save while supporting your vice.

My close proximity to this store has easily caused me to lose anywhere between five and 30 years from my life, but I will continue to frequent the place, regardless, as my patriotic duty to support the economy.

Total Wine and More, how do I love thee...

Total Cost: Good wines run about $10, champagnes as low as $30, and handles of quality vodka for less than $25
Best Deal: Saving $23 on a bottle of rum
Worst Deal: Ice

Tell Jim I said hi!

Editor's Note: You can also get coupons to Total Wine and More delivered to your email.  Regularly the store sends out deals for $1 off a six-pack of beer (priced $6.99 or higher), $1 off a bottle of wine (priced $7.99 or more) and $15 off every $100 of wine you buy.  You don't even have to print the coupons out, you just show them to the cashier on your smartphone and get the money off!

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