Pushy Waiters Should Put a Cork in It

Overzealous waiters can kill an evening of good wine
By Paul Stinson,  Newser User
Posted May 28, 2008 3:08 PM CDT
Pushy Waiters Should Put a Cork in It
Essayist Christopher Hitchens speaks during a debate on Iraq and the foreign policies of the United States and Britain, on Sept. 14, 2005 in New York.   (AP Photo/Chad Rachman)

Barbaric waiters are storming the dinner table, "butting in and pouring wine without being asked" and expecting diners to hurry up and pony up to replace the drained bottle, laments Christopher Hitchens in Slate. Leaving punchlines and evenings in tatters, their unsolicited interruptions aren't just a sign of bad manners; they jack up the tab and put good wine to waste, "sloshed into the glasses of those who may not want it."

The endurance of this culinary faux pas stems from a snobbish wine business whose waiters "may intimidate those who know little of the subject," writes Hitchens. Such intrusive overtures must be politely but firmly rebuffed—just as Katharine Graham’s refusal to leave a good-old-boys port-and-cigar embassy function in the '70s changed Washington’s social culture forever, wine drinkers should take heart and resist a similarly "silly practice." (More wine stories.)

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