When To Have A $350 Bottle Of Wine

The lefty online press, in other words, the home of my favorite pundits, is all up in arms about Rep. Paul Ryan sipping a $350.00 bottle of wine with a couple of clients associates. I find nothing unusual about this and for a considerable period of my life I would have seen little wrong with it. Some abnormal readers may recall that during the “productive period” of my life, I was a mid-level marketing manager with several semiconductor companies.
When a multimillion dollar deal was on the line or when it was consummated, it was not at all unusual to share a very expensive meal and an even more expensive wine with customers or colleagues. Under the correct circumstances a $350.00 bottle or two or three was not considered excessive. There were even occasions, particularly in Japan, where such expense would have even been considered on the cheap side. More than once I picked up dinner taps of over $300.00 per person, on a couple of occasions well over $300.00 per person. With a minimum of three quests, that generally included at least one $350.00 bottle of wine. My boss and the company controller signed off on my expense reports without comment or hesitation. It wasn’t an everyday event but it wasn’t all that uncommon either.
Customer entertainment wasn’t the only occasion when $350.00 bottles of wine might be on the table. When company or divisional profits were rolling in, even without the excuse of a customer fine wine, expensive meals and five star hotels would also roll in. In fact, at one company, we stayed at one of the finest hotels in Tokyo when profits were up and at a lesser hotel across the street when things weren’t so good. Luckily, at that company, things were quite good most of the time. I even got chewed out by my boss at one company for staying in what he thought was in inferior hotel when our profits were in the tank. After all he noted, I was setting an example that might become a norm that even he would need to follow. Shame on me for endangering the perks of travel. When I mentioned that I thought it unseemly to stay in a five star hotel while on a trip to layoff two people in a remote office as part of a 20% workforce reduction, it only confirmed for him the lack of good judgment that he expected from a bleeding heart liberal. Frankly, I always thought that living larger on the road than I cared to live at home was a waste of money. It certainly didn’t compensate for being away from my family.
I worked for only two companies where such extravagances were not rather common. One was a small startup and the other a market research company whose only full time employees were Shirley and me. In both cases, the company CFOs worried more about cash flow than about having to scrape by with an $8.00 bottle of wine.
So when you hear of a politician enjoying a $350.00 bottle of wine with clients associates, remember he or she is just doing politics like a business.

2 thoughts on “When To Have A $350 Bottle Of Wine”

  1. Before becoming a poor archaeologist, I was Marketing Manager at an international marketing firm in The Netherlands. So I well remember occasional extravagances but when you say “when you hear of a politician enjoying a $350.00 bottle of wine with clients/associates, remember he or she is just doing politics like a business”, I just wonder what sort of profit they are celebrating.

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