My favorite beer, Solstice Weiss, is a seasonal beer produced by my favorite local brewery. Unfortunately, it had yet to appear in stores. I was getting really worried that, for some reason, I had missed it or that none of the stores at which I regularly shopped were carrying it.

So, I did the logical thing and called the brewery. A pleasant woman (not an automated system) answered the phone on the second ring. I asked her if, through some series of unfortunate coincidences, I had missed my chance to score some Solstice Weiss.

The womand responded quite pleasantly that they had been getting "lots of calls" about the Solstice Weiss, but not to worry, it was just late this year because the brewery was under construction. She said that I should start seeing it in stores during the first week in July.

The lesson here? You wouldn't get that sort of pleasant, informative response from one of the big brewers. After wading through automated telephone hell, you might get to talk to a so-called customer service representative. That person would take your name and listen to what you had to say before most likely saying something like, "Well, we're glad you called us. I'll be more than happy to pass along your question/request/complaint/etc." and that would be the end of it. You might as well have spent the time complaining to the contents of your refridgerator's crisper drawer for all the good it would do you.