What’s the point, anyway?

I have no idea who this is wearing the shirt, but, as you'll read, I definitely don't heart price point.

I have no idea who this is wearing the shirt, but, as you’ll read, I definitely don’t heart the term price point.

I’ve had conversations with a lot of people about resolutions lately. Whether they have them, whether it’s realistic to make them, and what drives people to torture themselves by making them in the first place.

It’s probably too ambitious to consider making your life over via resolutions. But I think the idea of setting goals is a good one, and I’ve decided the new year is as good a time as any to mount a campaign against particular words and phrases I hate. My list starts with “proactive.” It came into vogue when I was first doing environmental work, and companies’ PR people would explain that these firms were environmentally conscious even though it wasn’t required by regulation by saying how proactive they were. Especially if their single — and generally unimpressive — activity in advance of sanctions was meant to distract us from the rest of their sorry environmental records. Sadly, this foolishness caught on big time and is now trumpeted by anyone who does something even a nanosecond before he has to (and believes he ought to be rewarded).

But I may have a chance to make some headway with one thing that I hear used in a wine-selling context. This morning Cy and I had a conversation with someone about wine pricing, and we remarked later that we were both pleased that she had said “price” and not “price point.”

Because it drives me absolutely f*&%ing nuts hearing people use price point when they mean price.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with people who ask, “What’s the price point on that bottle?” My first reaction is to reply, “What’s your point in asking?” What they want to know is how much the bottle costs. But saying price point instead of price? Maybe it sounds more learned. Or maybe more detached, as if their interest in the price is purely academic rather than for purposes of purchase and drinking. Either way, they’re still asking for the price.

Or does the term “price point” have an actual meaning beyond just price that I didn’t know about? And, if so, am I just overreacting, as Cy thinks I am with proactive?

I turned first to Ms. Google, and found that most definitions of price point refer to a range of prices in a sales, demand, or competition context. So I decided to ask my sister Sue, who has been a market research professional for 25 years. She assured me that people should say price and not price point when asking me about a bottle of wine.

Can we all agree that unless we're marketing professionals we'll say price and not price point?

Can we all agree that unless we’re marketing professionals we’ll say price and not price point?

She then gave me three specific examples where she has seen price point used in her work:

1) Let’s say you’ve done a comparison of the price of a particular product or products across a particular geographic area. Then you can say that City X in State Y has a lower price point for canned red kidney beans than City A in State B. You could even extend it more broadly to say that price points for consumer packaged goods are generally lower in the south than in the northern U.S. because more of these goods are manufactured in the south than the north, and transportation costs are lower.

2) Perhaps individual stores in a chain price their merchandise using different strategies, such as everyday low prices in one store and average higher prices with specific promotions in another. If you’re comparing the prices of particular items under different strategies, you’d refer to them as price points.

3) You’ve done promotions, coupons, or some other thing lowering prices for a specific period of time and you go back to analyze the data. If there’s a particular price that generated more sales, that’s called the “hot price point.”

Sue told me that hot price point is still used pretty regularly, but even marketing professionals are now saying price and not price point. So I have her permission to tell you to knock it off, officially.

But ever so nicely, of course. And while you’re at it, would you mind terribly much not saying proactive, either? Pretty please?


Seriously, how does this happen with just a little snow?  Two DC buses sideswiping on 16th St. NW on Tuesday.  (Photo by Bill Feldman.)

Seriously, how does this happen with just a little snow? Two DC buses sideswiping on 16th St. NW on Tuesday. (Photo by Bill Feldman.)

We had our first snow of the season Tuesday and it created the usual mayhem. Buses sideswiping, a stuck fire truck, and traffic so slow that it’s faster to walk. Even uphill. It’ll probably mostly be gone by tomorrow, but it’s going to be cold for a spell. So I decided to think summery thoughts and lower the, ahem, prices on some of our rosés for rest of January. Enter the promo code Jan15pink at checkout and you’ll get 15% off on French rosés from our Summer Pinks page, in addition to the regular volume discounts.**

My producers tell me that rosés are more popular year-round than they used to be. And by the time winter rolls around, they’ve aged a little in the bottle and have more richness. Maybe some of that “Gosh, it’s summer” light strawberry flavor is gone, but the remaining flavors are more mature and the wines pair better with the foods we eat in winter. Like root vegetables and winter squash. Rosés also pair well with Indian and Asian foods, which are some of my favorites for takeout.

And since some of us might have resolved to eat better (in January at least), rosés will work beautifully with all those salads we’re forcing ourselves to consume.

This week’s recipe is an easy salad with shrimp that is served just a little warm. Frozen peeled and deveined raw shrimp get roasted in an olive oil and lemon juice dressing with some garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. When they’re just cooked, put the whole mixture in the serving bowl and let it cool a few minutes. Top with the other salad ingredients, then toss together. Serve and enjoy.

Bon Appetit!


** Fine print:  the extra discount applies to the price of the wine, and not to any delivery or shipping charges.

Warm Green Salad with Roasted Shrimp

Serves 4

1 pound large (20 – 25 per pound) frozen peeled and deveined raw shrimp

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

6 tablespoons olive oil

Zest and juice of one large lemon

1 large pinch red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt, plus a little extra

1 large carrot, peeled

1 cucumber, peeled if it has been waxed

1 bunch of arugula (about 6 ounces)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored and cut into thin strips

3 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet and set it aside.

While the oven is preheating (and the shrimp are roasting), start on the vegetables. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the carrot into thin peel strips. Cut the cucumber in half crosswise, pick up one half and also start shaving it down until you get to the seeds. Then give it a quarter turn and start shaving it again, etc.  Repeat with the other half.  You’ll end up with lovely, fluffy piles of carrot and cucumber.

If the shrimp won’t come apart, run them quickly under cold water to separate them. They should still be frozen.  Dry them off with a paper or cloth towel and spread them out on the sprayed baking sheet. Whisk the red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of salt, the lemon zest and juice, and the olive oil together in a small bowl and pour them over the shrimp. Use a spatula or a large spoon to get the shrimp and garlic coated. Put the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes.  Stir in the sliced garlic after 15 minutes. The shrimp will be done when they start to turn lightly pink and feel firm to the touch. The garlic should be lightly golden.

Take the pan from the oven and scrape everything into the bowl you’re going to serve the salad in. Let the shrimp cool until they’re warm but not scalding hot. Then put the arugula on top of the shrimp, followed by the pepper strips and sliced scallions. Top with the carrot shavings, cucumber shavings, and tomatoes. Toss everything together gently and taste for salt. Serve immediately.

This entry was posted in Musings/Lectures/Rants, Rosé Wine, Tom Natan, wine delivery washington dc and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What’s the point, anyway?

  1. Remind me not to use the words “price point” or proactive on my blog everrr. I don’t want to make you mad! I love rosés! I definitely enjoy them year round. I *think* I might be getting better at judging wine… but maybe not. I guess that comes with time.

    This dish sounds delicious. I really love arugula.

    • firstvine says:

      Emily! No worries, I’ll just gnash my teeth in silence…

      Good wine is whatever you like drinking. I’m glad you like rosés, a lot of people won’t try them because they assume they’ll be too sweet. I hope people will at least try different wines without preconceptions and try to understand why they like one wine over another.

  2. Jim says:

    Some people are uncomfortable asking about price as they worry about how it will make them look. Maybe not as well off as they like or maybe cheap. They are genuinely interested in how much the wine would cost so in an effort to lessen the emphasis on price they say “price point” to feel more comfortable. Sometimes it can be good to deal with a personal annoyance in order to make others around us more comfortable.

    • firstvine says:

      Thanks for the comment. I hadn’t considered that people might feel uncomfortable asking about price. I always reply politely when people ask me about wine, whether they use price point or not. But I’d also venture that people wouldn’t use price point if something was unlabeled in a department store or in a grocery store, they’d just ask “How much is it?” What is it about wine that makes people too uncomfortable to ask directly?

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