Gary Discovers A Menu Filled with Bottles to Waste Money On
By Gary Silverman, CFP®
I am no foodie, but I do enjoy going to a high-end restaurant once a year or so for a true gourmet meal. It’s not cheap, but since I don’t drink much, go to Cowboy games, or own a bass boat, I have the discretionary spending power to do so now-and-then. That’s why during a recent business trip to attend an investment symposium I walked over to a fine award-winning, Michelin star-rated restaurant offering contemporary French cuisine.
Now, as I mentioned, I’m no foodie—but I do enjoy the experience of so many flavors and textures swishing around my palate. The waiter explains each dish using terms I really don’t understand. I nod knowingly, looking over my food in serious study, all while thinking, “Will he shut up so I can eat?” Okay, not really. That’s actually part of what I came here for. It’s like watching an opera…you have a decent idea of what’s going on, but you don’t understand the words.
But before all of this, I was presented three menus as I sat down; none of which had food in them. The first was a cocktail menu which I looked through and wondered how someone came up with the combination of liquids that people apparently liked. The second was a wine menu with grape juices from around the world; each seemingly more expensive the closer the date got to when I was born (though none were that old). But it was the third menu that made me chuckle.
The third menu was even bigger and more extensive than the other two. Pictures of the bottles were presented along with long descriptions of the liquid’s pedigree. There was even a rating chart so you could quickly determine the saltiness or sweetness of the beverage.
I was looking at a water menu.
That’s right, a menu more extensive than the wine and cocktail menus combined proffering water. This wasn’t your normal “sparkling or plain” inquiry. Here were 56 different waters from close to that many countries across the world. This interested me.
You see, I tend not to have a cocktail or wine with my meal. It’s just not my thing. And at night I try not to drink at all as it affects the quality of my sleep. So instead I just have water. And here, in front of me, was something I never had the imagination to even dream about…a water menu.
I asked for tap water.
“L.A.’s finest coming right up,” the waiter replied (good waiters don’t roll their eyes until out of the sight of the diner…not good for tips). It was excellent.
As I drank Los Angeles 2019 H2O I began to smile. They tried for years to get me with the wine menu. When I wasn’t sophisticated enough to order, they tried cocktails. Still I didn’t budge. So now the high-end restaurant industry, figuring there had to be a way to get money out of the non-drinkers came up with something brilliant.
After watching several tables ooing and ahhing and comparing bottles of water, I believe it seems to be working.
Gotta love capitalism.
Gary Silverman, CFP® is the founder of Personal Money Planning, LLC, a Wichita Falls retirement planning and investment management firm and author of Real World Investing