When I was a kid, my mom would always shop at Trader Joe’s. I hated it. You couldn’t get Reese’s Pieces Puffs, you had to settle for Puffins. As I got older and my tastes refined Trader Joe’s provided my two favorite things (health food & booze) at affordable prices.
Around the time I was old enough to buy alcohol, I’d already been consuming lots of it. I realized that at Trader Joe’s I could buy 3 bottles of wine for the same price as 12 cans of Natural Light. We were college seniors ,you know? With cultivated palettes! We wanted to impress girls with our knowledge of every Charles Shaw varietal! Cabernet Sauvignon? Syrah? Chardonnay? Merlot? Yeah, I’d tasted every one of ‘em. And I knew which were the easiest to chug!
I once threw a party in the basement of an Odd Fellows Lodge. We bought 15 cases of $2 buck chuck–180 bottles (see Mr. Bobrosky, I did pay attention in algebra!) We supplied red plastic cups for the guests to pour wine into, but like the babies they were, everyone insisted on drinking from the bottle. Within 30 minutes, we were out of 2 Buck Chuck.
Doing things like that were really fun when you were 21, but now we are all adults now (presumably). That kind of thing won’t fly at grown-up dinner parties. It’s tacky to bring $2 wines to a soiree where the host is serving home-made olive tapenade and baked Brie. It’s not like you’re going to fool these people either, they bought that chipotle cranberry dipping sauce you’ve been snacking on all night at Trader Joe’s, too.
You have to class things up! Now I understand that you’re unemployed and that you’ve almost made it (but like you’re just waiting on your cousin’s college roommate to pass along your spec-script to the production coordinator of a green-screen cable show), but you can still afford to appear sophisticated!
That’s why I recommend upgrading from 2 Buck Chuck to whatever wine costs $3.75 at Rite Aid. Nobody has ever heard of any vineyard they sell at the drugstore, so you’re in the clear. Just pick up the bottle with the most interesting label, and pretend like you visited that winery in Modesto when you got lost driving to LA one time.
Everyone will think you are a connoisseur of fine wines, and that’s much better than people thinking you’re a lackluster screenwriter who will never make it and will soon have to move back into your parents attic!
Josh Heller writes about travel, technology, and culture–He decided to become an adult, like, ten months ago.