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Feb 19, 2008 10:20 AM

Do I really want to spend $693 on a bottle of wine?

So I went to a very pleasant dinner in Vail over the weekend with fantastic food from appetizers through dessert - the issue, however, was the service. First of all they completely switched one of our appetizers - gave us an entirely different pasta without asking. The waiter came over 3 times to ask if it was ok - clearly trying to gauge whether he should leave it on the bill. We said it was fine, but not exactly what we were looking for. The pasta was on the bill until we asked for it to be removed - which it was. He claimed he "forgot" to take it off the bill, but I think I would believe a 5 year old with chocolate all over his face claiming he was not the one who took the last cookie more than this joker.

The real kicker came to the wine selection. We had already started with a very reasonable $50 bottle of champagne when I started asking about a bottle of red to go with dinner. I specifically asked about a couple of $65 bottles of Oregon Pinot Noir. He tried to steer me towards a $100 bottle and I was clearly not interested in spending that much and asked for other suggestions. Then, this waiter had the audacity to tell me how wonderful a $693 dollar of wine was and how much we would enjoy it with our food. I wasn't quite sure what to say to him so I sent him away to get the sommelier (who was ver helpful in picking out a $58 bottle of red burgundy).

What would you all have done in this situation - I feel like I probably should have told the manager how inappropriate the waiter was across mulitple dimmensions. I have never been recommended a bottle anywhere close to that price (probably $120 at most). IMHO, if you are looking for an expensive bottle you should ask for it proactively, not try and be sold. I can understand moderate upselling, restaurants are businesses, but could you imagine walking into a Honda dealer and being told you should really be looking at Porsches?

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  1. 15.000000% or significantly less tip for service like that, possibly as low as 0.0% to send a message.

    1. Ask him when the last time he ever ordered a $693 bottle of wine. I hate it when people try to upsell or oversell food. I like tap water with my meals and everyone tries to sell me bottled water. I seriously doubt that waiter has ever had the wine.

      I wouldn't have tipped at all. I think that tips are for good service and 20% is not required.

      1. Bad server etiquette! Upselling is an art, you shouldn't even notice it!! Once this waiter bad mouthed a wine and my girlfriend replied, "my father sells this wine and I like to support his company" talk about shut the waiter up!!
        A way to avoid this in the future is look at the restaurant wine list on the website before visiting or just pick a price point and go with it. Hopefully this is one bad experience you will have better servers in the future!

        1. i can think of three explanations...

          a) the waiter was young and inexperienced and completely clueless
          b) the waiter was old and senile
          c) the waiter was quitting tomorrow and decided to have a little fun at your expense (get it- "expense"!)

          1 Reply
          1. re: excuse me miss

            I think it was more the second half of a. He was probably about 30, but apparently just stupid.

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