Thursday, June 4, 2015

Join the club

Things sure have changed, haven’t they? It used to be that if I wanted to buy a bottle of wine, I’d go to the liquor store and get one. Simple. These days, as with most everything, I can get it online. For months now, I get emails several times a week from a couple of online wine sites with whom I registered with unbelievable offers, helpful buying tips and rapidly expiring $15-off coupons. I open some, but usually delete them because, at 57, if I want a bottle of wine, I still go to the liquor store and get one.

Then along came Club W.

I don’t even remember how this little guy wrangled his way into my checkbook. I think it was the promise of getting a bottle of wine on the house. I opened the email, clicked on the link and discovered I would have to sign up to get the deal. So I did. I signed with the other two helpful online wine proprietors, didn’t I? Why not make it a hat trick? But, after I did so, the deal disappeared into the ether and I lost track of it.  I closed the fancy, scenic wine country page, deleted the email and forgot about it. Not a difficult thing for me to do.  

Then, the following week, Club W showed up in my email again. They wanted to buy me another bottle of wine. Since they were so persistent, I allowed it. They didn't send me just any bottle of wine, Club W wanted to know my preferences and my tastes.  I thought that was thoughtful. I looked through the selections, chose my 3 bottles (I had to buy two to get one, but still, it seemed like a good deal) and entered my credit card number. They assured me that I would be happily receiving my shipment in a few days and that my next selection would ship next month about the same time.

Wait. What? What the heck did I just sign up for?

It turns out that Club W is a subscription wine service and you get three bottles every month, rain or shine. This seems to be a trend in Internet shopping: you can get almost everything without even lifting a credit card anymore, except that first time. There have always been subscription services for goods, but it was typically limited to reading material; magazines and newspapers and Book of the Month Club. Of course, Harry & David have been selling apples and pears by subscription for years, but, now, it seems like everyone’s getting into the act. Take a look at all the places you shop online--most, if not all, will offer an auto-reorder option for your oft-ordered items. You can get anything from razor blades to maternity clothes delivered to your door on a regular basis. Bourbon, science experiments and dog treats will also arrive monthly for you, your kids and pets.   Plated is one of many companies that will gather ingredients together for a specific recipe and send you dinner in a leak-proof, insulated box. (You still have to cook it.) They have cute and clever names like Mantry (The Modern Man’s Pantry), Flicker Box (a monthly assortment of candles. Seriously, candles) and MeUndies (Yes, it’s underwear). So, why am I surprised that there is a subscription service for something as normal and essential as wine? 

I guess I’m not as surprised that it exists as much as I am that I finally gave in to such a service. I am not an Internet novice; I typically don’t let the siren's call of easy delivery tempt me. Also, I am Yankee-frugal. But this is wine. And in fact three brightly labeled selections showed up pretty expediently and in time for the weekend. Each selection had an accompanying recipe. (Thanks, but my go-to recipe is cheese and crackers.) I will have to investigate this subscription further to see what I’m in for. It’s not like I don’t drink the stuff. (In fact I wrote about wine in the last post.) Maybe I can get on board with this deliver-stuff-to-me-every-month system.What else can I get to come to my door?

I'll let you know.

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