Stories

$12,300: The Sale of the Century

My brother and I have owned liquor stores for the past thirty years. Our most unusual and largest sale occurred in the late eighties. A man of Arabic extraction came into the store on a Saturday and inquired about the prices of Johnnie Walker Black and Red, Johnnie Walker Blue, Dom Perignon, Moet White Star, and some various wines by the case. I thought he was just browsing and I had wasted an hour until he called me later that evening. He asked how soon I could obtain and for what price I could sell him 40 bottles of each product. I quoted the haggled down cash prices to him and he agreed. I didn’t know at the time I quoted the prices to him of his idea of what I would have to do to get the order ready.

Monday morning arrived and so did my client. He informed me he was sending into the store forty brand new suitcases. I was to pack one bottle each of the ten different types of spirits and wine he was purchasing into each suitcase, creating forty identical gifts. Later that day the forty new Samsonite suitcases arrived. On Tuesday I brought in every spare newspaper I could find and stopped at a packaging company for a roll of bubble wrap. We spent the entire day and most of the next day preparing the forty suitcases.

On Wednesday he informed me that he was now sending me ten steamer trunks. I was to fill the trunks with as many cases of two kinds of beer that could fit. By Thursday night the order was set and Friday arrived to find my customer and the Ritz-Carlton van at our store. I don’t know if you ever had the pleasure of counting (and checking with a bank pen) 100 sequential $100 bills. It’s a beautiful thing! He then finished paying me with the “leftovers” and generously left a $200.00 tip for my help. We found out from the van driver that my sale of the century stranger’s boss had rented out the whole penthouse floor for the week at the Ritz Carlton in Boston and my merchandise would shortly be placed aboard his private jet.

The moral of the story – You never know when that customer that you spent a long time with and bought nothing may turn into a sale of the century.