Not too long ago, we recommended a few crowd-pleasing wines, that are not only delicious, but completely affordable. With a few priced at under $8 a bottle, some would even say our suggestions were downright cheap.
Heralding our own advice, we went to the LCBO to pick up a couple bottles from that list to share with a few friends we were entertaining. But in the midst of shopping, something strange happened: we immediately felt guilty about serving inexpensive vino.
It didn't matter that they were excellent wines, or that we even drink the bottles ourselves as well as recommend them to friends and strangers. For some reason, which surprises us still, we put down the bottles and went in search of something more expensive to serve instead.
Was it because the bottles came from the General List of Ontario's LCBO, and not the exclusive Vintages section? Could it be because we had already touted the value of these (cheap!) wines in print for all the world to see? Were we worried our bargain bottles would make us look miserly and ungenerous? Bingo.
This is shocking to us. We've always bragged about how we search out premium wines at premium prices for our private collections. So if we'll do it for ourselves, why are we not confident in treating our friends with the same philosophy?
What it came down to is that when we host company, we would put more emphasis on the dollar value, and taste and quality comes in second. Sort of in the same vein as putting out the "good" towels.
Now let us offer a little bit of a disclaimer: our friends have always been generous with us. One of the group has enjoyed a successful media career and always edits everything we write before it's sent on to editors, so we don't look grammatically challenged on the professional stage (and believe us, this is no small feat).
Another has sprung for Leafs tickets -- more than once -- and while she has never mentioned the cost, I can bet it was more than 7 bucks.
So we guess with those extraordinarily beneficial and lavish perks not far from our thoughts, our minds immediately warped into altruistic overdrive and we decided to see their benevolence and raise them an indulgence.
But is that really the name of the game? Is that what friendship is all about? Because one friend doles out for a swank evening on the town, or another her professional services, are the others then obliged to return the favour plus some?
I guess in our minds, yeah. We don't want to come off as ungrateful, or ignorant to their efforts. But where does it stop? At some point we'll be footing the bill for weekends in Vegas if this weird goodwill competition doesn't end.
So, in short, we should just get over ourselves. We've fallen victim to the good-karma, what-goes-around-comes-around wheel. If we were really honest with our friends, as they justly deserve, we should just uncork the plonk, cause they'd probably like it more than the expensive stuff, anyway.