Grilling season is officially upon us, and that means two things at the Brown household: thick cut steaks and ice cold cocktails. My routine is well established and delicious. Shake up a negroni, fire up the grill, blaze my 2″ thick steaks, eat, enjoy a little wine, and finish off the evening with some tasty Italian amaro.
This last weekend, I needed to restock my amari selection for the start of the 2018 season, so I stopped by Steve’s Liquor to pick up a few bottles. My first selection was a bottle of Sfumato Rabarbaro – a smokey amaro that’s my absolute favorite after a grilled meal. Next was a bottle of Lazzaroni – an herbal and pleasantly bitter selection that’s good any time. Third was a bottle of Lazzaroni Fernet – for those times when I feel like showing off just how much I enjoy herbs and intense bitterness.
While I was there, I also grabbed a bottle of Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth, which my sommelier buddy describes as the best in the industry. And he’s right. It’s not cheap, but it transforms a good cocktail into a great one. It’s well worth the extra price IHMO.
With arms full, I carried the four bottles to the checkout counter. The lady behind the counter expressed her approval of my selections as she scanned each of the bottles. As I dug out my wallet to find my debit card, she read my total out loud. “Okay, that will be $42.72.”
I paused, caught completely off guard by the total. Confused, I glanced at each of the four bottles again. Admittedly, I didn’t do the exact math as I was picking up the bottles – but that didn’t sound right at all. After a few moments of silence, reason returned to my mind. Something had clearly gone wrong with her scanning.
“Boy, I would love to pay you $42.72 for all of this, but there’s no way that all these bottles cost only forty bucks.”
Now it was her turn to run through the quick mental math, and she quickly offered an apology. Indeed, something had gone dramatically wrong during the check out process.
She rescanned the bottles and came up with a new total. “Okay, that will actually be $109.68.”
“That sounds better – well, not better – but more accurate at least,” I chuckled in reply.
As I paid my bill, the lady thanked me for my integrity. I downplayed the circumstance and explained that I wanted to be able to enjoy these fine beverages without guilt. She nevertheless appreciated my honesty, and I accepted her gratitude.
As I walked out of the store, I reflected upon the fact that I had just willingly passed up on one heck of a deal. I knew it was the right thing to do, but why was it right? How did it reconcile with my enthusiastic embracing of capitalist principles?
Then it hit me. “I don’t want ‘something for nothing.’ That’s a socialist idea. I’m a capitalist. I want value for value. When I receive value – like these four bottles – I’m eager to reciprocate value in return. So of course I asked to pay more.”
It was the right thing to do, and it was a capitalist decision through and through. With that added shot of reconciliation fresh in my mind, my amaro tasted extra delicious that night.