Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
It was a busy night.
A man at the bar ordered a bottle of wine.
It wasn't an ordinary bottle of wine. It cost $330.
But it wasn't, I suppose--at least in the world of exalted steakhouses--an exceptional bottle.
Yet, as a spokesperson for the Hawksmoor steakhouse in Manchester, England, told The Guardian, a snafu occurred:
A member of staff picked up the wrong bottle, mistaking it for another Bordeaux of the same vintage. The wine went out and was served to the customer. The customer didn't know and it was only afterwards that one of the managers picked up what had happened.
There was something of a price difference between the two wines.
The diner had ordered a Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2001.
He received a bottle of Château le Pin Pomerol 2001.
Look, the manager got the year right. The only slight problem is that the former bottle costs around $5,370 less than the latter and sounds nothing like it.
You might imagine the restaurant owners wouldn't have been pleased.
They are, however, wily marketers.
So they presented a cheery--and very British--public face. On Twitter, no less:
To the customer who accidentally got given a bottle of Château le Pin Pomerol 2001, which is £4,500 on our menu, last night--hope you enjoyed your evening! To the member of staff who accidentally gave it away, chin up! One-off mistakes happen and we love you anyway.
Chin up, old fruit.
Yes, it isn't the mistake that matters. It's how you react.
Once a mistake is made, there are only pieces to pick up and, hopefully, something positive to be conjured.
Naturally, some will wonder whether the management was quite so reasonable out of the public eye.
Hawksmoor co-founder Will Beckett admitted the customer quite enjoyed the Pomerol. So much so that he ordered a second bottle:
Some time later another member of staff said: "Ooh, someone is drinking a very impressive wine, and at the bar!" That's when we realized. They ordered a second bottle and the manager tactfully suggested they order a different one, without letting them know what had happened.
Some might be skeptical whether this incident occurred at all.
However, once the story began wafting about the Web's ether--thanks to Hawksmoor--sympathy reigned.
This fancy restaurant got a lot of free publicity for its tweet of reasonableness.
It was the best sort of free publicity--the positive sort.
What pleasant people the management seem to be. What a lovely attitude after a costly gaffe.
And do you think it garnered them at least $5,300 of free publicity? I do.