I drink cheap wine. I would like to drink better wine. Hell, I would like to drink incredible wine.
I drink cheap wine because that’s what I can afford, and sometimes, as is the case with a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, I actually prefer it (the hint of grapefruit makes it a favorite). I am willing to try anything on sale under $10 and anything with a screwtop, although I am still reticent to try anything boxed (I know, it’s gotten better…).
At this juncture, I will not bore my readers any further about my simplistic wine knowledge. When I need to know more about wine, I know enough to call on those who know it all. Thankfully, every GM I have worked for has known it all.
Something happened in my restaurant, however, that makes me wonder about wine–its mystique, its allure, its ability to bring out certain personality traits in those we serve.
A guest overtly and literally sneered at the wine list I handed him. This same guest then told his server he wanted to order a wine “you can’t find on this list.” This guest then proceeded to prop his sneaker-clad feet on the seat of his very nice booth, as if this booth was his sofa at home. He spoke with an attitude that couldn’t hide his lack of manners and his feigned arrogance, which served only to accentuate everything else wrong with him. In fact, when he spoke loud enough so all in the dining room could hear him, he was all too obvious about what he was. He was an ass.
I felt sorry for his girlfriend, at first. Then I didn’t feel sorry for her at all. He was so obviously a characature of a pain-in-the-ass that she deserved him, if she was willing to put up with him past an appetizer.
He ordered a very expensive bottle of wine–a very, very expensive bottle of wine. He tasted it, kept the bottle for 15 minutes, then he said it was no good and sent it back.
The wine was fine, of course. It was perfect, in fact.
“You can taste it if you want,” my GM said to me later that evening.
“No thanks,” I told him. I was sick to my stomach by how this ass had behaved. With who he was, and who he wasn’t. He had ruined the wine.
Why? Why bother with the show? Sure, sure–to get the freebie. But it was more than that to you, wasn’t it? Did you want to drink from a big-boy bottle of wine to be the big, tough guy in front of the girl? Did this fine red wine make you bigger and tougher? What do you do for an encore on nights such as these? No, please, don’t answer that.
Did you actually think the staff would scramble to make sure all else was okay, or that we ultimately cared about you as a coveted guest? No one scrambled, but we actually do care very much about you. Because you will never eat here again. You won’t know that you will never eat here again until the next time you want to eat here again. And on the evening of that next time you want to eat here, we will have a full book, and your name won’t be in it. Ever again.
You could have had a nice dinner with your girl. You could have enjoyed your wine. You could have enjoyed your evening. But instead, you were just looking for…what?
Seriously, what was the point?
Actually, I don’t care. Goodbye, sir.