Saturday, February 27, 2016

Embarrassing Moment #3

I was in Pittsburgh attempting to sell an executive recruiter my PAM software.  After the demo the two partners took me to their private club for lunch.  Both were combat drinkers and regulars so their drinks were delivered to the table before we were seated.  The waiter asked for my drink order so I asked for my usual, an ice tea.  In the south when you ask for tea you'd get sweet tea on ice.  Iced sweet tea is what a southerner means when he orders tea, but I'd eaten in enough northern restaurants to realize they never had sweet tea, so I didn't embarrass myself asking for it.  Lance and I had nearly been thrown out of a Toronto restaurant over this very issue.  I didn't like adding sugar to ice tea because it never fully dissolved, but up north a southern boy had to make due.

There wasn't any sugar on the table so I opted to try it first, just in case I'd misjudged the place and they actually served proper ice tea.  Plus I'd been talking a great deal trying to close the sale so I was thirsty.  I took a big gulp from the large glass.  It wasn't at all what I expected, enough so that my mouth rejected the liquid.  I spit the "tea" out with such force that it hit my potential customer across the table.  "What in the hell is that," I said far too loud for the subdued private club.  "That's the most disgusting taste I ever experienced."  That's true, and by that time I'd eaten both dog and muskrat, but I was smart enough to keep this fact to myself.  The waiter appeared.  "What kind of drink is that," I asked.  "It's not iced tea, that's for damn sure."  The waiter apologized and said, "It's Long Island Ice Tea, sir."  I'd never had iced tea on Long Island so I said as much.  "But I've had iced tea in Canada and in Ohio and it didn't taste any thing like that."

The waiter was too embarrassed to explain so my potential customer rescued him.  He explained to me that Long Island Ice Tea was a strong mixed drink.  Sticking to my obvious country heritage I ordered a hamburger and coke, making sure I specified Coke Cola with no booze.  As embarrassing as it had been for all of us, the guy still bought my software.

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