I was a spotter at a wine auction recently.

And by “spotter” I do not mean “one who drinks all the charity cougar juice and spends three hours spinning around in a chair eating brie and mimicking the auctioneer until she vomits.”

Because that was not me.

When I volunteered for this event, I was under the impression that I would be pouring wine for the masses, but the head cougar in charge of such things, who used to date a male stripper named Sebastian (maybe next time she’ll let me pour the fucking wine like I asked) and also knew me last week in college, decided that was not a good plan.

I was, as you can imagine, crestfallen. And a little uncomfortable with the new job description, which involved being responsible and not drunk. I said as much to my double-crossing cougar friend, and she replied “I never imagined anything was outside of your comfort zone,” and she handed me a chocolate truffle with purple glitter all over it. And I don’t know what the hell that meant, but it was delicious.

Now. This may have been my first time spotting, but it ain’t my first rodeo. I know how free wine works at a charity event. I proceeded to the “bubble room” and pretended to be interested in some clinic we were raising money for while I ate strawberries dipped in chocolate and drank 40,000 glasses with approximately a tablespoon of Prosecco in each of them. It has been my experience that you can circle the room five times, stopping once at each server before they become suspicious. At that point, you have a couple of options. You can turn your shirt inside out and pretend to be someone new, or you can single out a server and yell “You can’t serve her! She’s underage!” and then sprint for the cheese table.

Or you can go do the job you are here to do.

I arrived at the designated stage where I was to receive a brief orientation by the auctioneer. This consisted of him pointing at me and asking “Are you loud? Be loud!” and then returning to whatever auctioneers do before an auction.

In retrospect, he might have been more specific.

By then I had started to panic, and also I was a li’l drunky. I felt pretty confident that I could do “loud,” but I was unsure who I was supposed to be loud at. I turned to the young man beside me and shouted “IS THIS LOUD ENOUGH?!”

He started to cry.

Just kidding.

But he did take me to the corner of the room farthest away from the stage, where almost no one was sitting, and tell me that “This is your section. And this is Alfredo, your co-spotter.”

I didn’t know Alfredo. I didn’t know what a co-spotter did.

But he was drunker than I was.

“GUUUURRL!” he trilled at me, “THIS IS GONNA BE SO MUCH FUN!  That was my partner, and HE’S SUPER CUTE but he is SO NOT CHILL!  I just come here to drink. DO YOU WANT SOME WINE? I DON’T HAVE A GLASS!”

So we drank it straight from the bottle. And we took turns pointing at the table of wine that was up for auction and yelling “THERE’S THE WINE! I SEE IT!” which really does get funnier every time you do it.

He also gave me the 411 on my job responsibilities: a spotter is the guy who makes sure that the auctioneer sees the bidder. He or she also “encourages” the bidder to raise the bid, and when they win, the spotter makes sure the runner gets the confirmation paperwork to the right person.

Given that we were in the farthest corner of the room, we needed a system.

Every time we had a bid in our section, I would bolt to the appropriate table and lurk behind them like a serial killer. “WOOOOO!” I would shout every time they raised their bid or told me to get the fuck away from the table. Meanwhile, Alfredo would tell the wandering servers that a table in the front needed wine, never mind, he’d take care of it, thus securing another bottle. I’d then distract my bidder by grabbing his wine glass, sniffing it and shouting “What a cacophony!” and then running away with his cheese plate, giggling because “cacophony” is a funny word.


By the end of the night, me and Alfredo were taking turns pushing each other in a rolling chair in the general direction of the auction bidder while singing that song from Jaws that they sang in the boat right before the shark ate it.

In spite of our best efforts, eighty-thousand dollars was raised for the operation of a local free clinic.

And as I left, the auctioneer pointed at me again and I have no idea what he said, but it sounded like “cacophony!” which is still a funny word.






11 thoughts on “Wine Spotting

  1. I’m so jealous! I never get free wine!! I would have loved to have pushed you around in the rolling chair!!

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