CORK & OLIVE: Ex-Employee Has no Sympathy for Franchisees

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Responding to the post Cork & Olive’s Probst Abandons Franchisees, Cork & Olive ex-employee "H" states that it is karma, not failed franchisor Michael Probst, that’s to blame for the woes of Cork & Olive franchisees.

"H" contends that the very idea of the Cork & Olive wine store is a sham designed to use upscale decor and salesmanship to trick vino newbies into overpaying for cheap wine.  "H" claims that Cork & Olive franchisees are hypocrites who pirate copyrighted music and hoodwink unsophisticated customers, yet are morally outraged to find that they’ve been bamboozled.  What do you think?

Writes "H":

As a former store-level employee, I have a hard time feeling bad for the franchisees. Sure, you were ripped off in the worst of ways, but I’d have to say that the responsibility for not spotting a fraud falls on you. Working in the store, I knew things weren’t kosher from the very beginning when I noticed that our official store play list included original Beatles recordings. Nobody can afford the licensing for that, not even major motion pictures like ‘I Am Sam.’

Our markup was astronomical, completely unprecedented, and basically unfounded. Our pricing was entirely random, based solely upon Stephanie’s opinions of what people would pay. Stephanie, a woman with literally no knowledge of wine, has no business guessing such things. The average cost to the company was $3 – $4 per bottle. We sold some bottles for $9, most for about $15, and some for $30 or more. This was absolutely inexplicable. There was no standard percentage for the markup, just whatever we thought we could get.

How one $3 bottle of wine seems worth $32 while another is worth only $8 is beyond me, but it should have raised serious concerns among people considering the $300,000 price tag for one of these stores. With a little research, you would have found that the average wine shop shoots for around a 33% profit margin per bottle while we were aiming for 70% or more on AVERAGE!

This might have seemed like a really great way to make a lot of money, but if you weren’t buying a business you knew nothing about, you would have realized that it actually equates to selling a low quality product at the price point of a high quality product. In other words, you’re hoping to prey on the average consumer’s lack of knowledge about the difference between cheap wine and fine wine. You made them feel like they were purchasing a quality product by showing them a pretty store with a neat layout and free samples, but now you’re mad that Michael and his goons swindled you with a similar set of smoke and mirrors. Excuse me if I’m not overwhelmed with sympathy, but it seems an awful lot like karma to me.

I know nothing about cars, so I’m not going to go into business as a mechanic. I don’t understand the stock market, so I’m not going to set up shop as a financial advisor. Wine novices have no business running wine shops, and if they choose to do so, they shouldn’t be mad when things go poorly.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

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6 thoughts on “CORK & OLIVE: Ex-Employee Has no Sympathy for Franchisees

  • September 20, 2008 at 4:39 pm
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    I TOTALLY AGREE! I DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR THE FRANCHISEES – THAT IS THE CURRENT ONES WHO HAVE PURCHASED BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO RUN A BUSINESS. THEY WERE TYPICALLY BORED HOUSEWIVES SO THE HUSBANDS SHUT THEM UP BY BUYING THEM A STORE WITHOUT DOING THE HOMEWORK. SO I DO NOT FEEL BADLY IN THE LEAST. AND YES I’M AN EX EMPLOYEE AND COULD TELL YOU ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY THEY OWE THE COMPANY – YET THEY STILL WHINE AS THOUGH THEY SHOULD HAVE THE UPPER HAND. PLEASE. HA.

  • September 26, 2008 at 8:59 am
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    Wow, shows how little you both know about the lies told to franchisees, including the faulty prospectus. I do not know of one franchisee who meets the description of bored housewife. As for monies owed the company, maybe you both need to research the monies owed the franchisees by Michael. Several of the franchisees purchased multiple stores, only to find out there was never a sight for another store, or that he had sold them twice. How about that! He lied every single day to good, honest, hard working people. Most of us paid the fee to the music licensing industry so don’t even begin to call us pirates. The music we played came straight from Michael.

    Now, ex-employees, if you were in on the lies generated by Michael, and you were if you repeated known lies to franchisees, then shame on you. You have no ethics and no business spouting off.

  • October 9, 2008 at 1:52 pm
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    what was the outcome at the bankruptcy hearing?

  • December 29, 2008 at 7:17 pm
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    well now everyone might find this to be interesting: http://www.sunbiz.org. document number P08000107072. MIchael Probst, CEO of his new company MERGER AND ACQUISITION CORP. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????????? HOW CAN THIS MAN BE ALLOWED TO OPEN ANOTHER BUSINESS WHILE SCREWING ALL HIS OLD EMPLOYEES,FRANCHISEES AND INVESTORS? WHAT THE HELL?????? This was just done on 12-4-08. I MEAN SERIOUSLY ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

  • Pingback: CORK & OLIVE: Michael Probst Forms New Corporation | Unhappy Franchisee

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