Monday, August 18, 2008

does a friends wealth or expertise bias gifts?

We hosted a party last month. I like wine.
My friends know I like wine. Some of my friends like wine, too, but not all.

Wine is an odd thing. There are so many different vineyards with global marketing reach (probably in excess of 20,000) that very few people really know everything, but instead master fairly specific regions.

I was wondering - is this true for you - if you have a friend who likes wine, do you go out of your way to buy an extra nice or extra expensive bottle? Does your friends wealth or knowledge of wine influence the expense or quality of purchase?

One thing I've noticed is that few people are confident in their view of wine. If they think you know more, they'll readily defer. When you give or serve a bottle of wine, and you're known as someone who likes wine, they often assume it's good -- even if it's not the best.

Now there certainly is an element of trust involved here, but I find the whole thing humorous. I think wine marketing and wine snobbery have convinced people that their own tastebuds should be the primary evaluator.

It reminds me of the story of the doctors making rounds in the hospital. The most senior and respected physician visited each patient, read their charts, listened to the patients' hearts, etc.... At one patient in particular, the senior physician noted a very unusual heart condition. All the doctors took turns listening. One after another they listened and agreed with the senior physician. These were all very experienced physicians with more than 20 years of experience. Grimly and seriously they listened and nodded their heads. Just as everyone was about to leave, one of the medical students had a chance to listen to the patient. She listened and then tried again. Meekly, she raised her voice and asked the senior physician why she could not hear the irregularity. He came back and listend again. they senior physician took off his stethescope. He took out his hearing aid and adjusted it. He then listed for a third time. "No. You are right, this patient's fine." He then smiled and moved on. I often wonder what looks the medical student shared with all of the much more senior medical professionals between her and the senior physician.

Regards, makingourway

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like wine but don't take it too seriously. I give bottles for bdays frequently and usually give a note as to why I like a particular bottle and how I discovered it.

I only spend between $15-$40 per bottle and think there are many fine ones out there for that price, especially WA wines that I can buy locally.