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Don’t ask your waiter what to order – and other ways to be a perfect diner

I had my first waitressing job in Chancery Lane, a very lawyer-heavy corner of London, in 1991. I had been hired specifically to flog dessert wine at the end of the meal, and I learned the following: if people want dessert wine, they ask for it. Getting a person who doesn’t already want it to drink tokay is like getting a baby to take an antibiotic – you would basically have to squirt it into their mouths with a syringe. I also learned every single way in which a lawyer can be rude to a waiter: the cross-examination (“Why on earth would I want dessert wine?”); the stonewall; the sneering grandeur (“We’re actually in the middle of a conversation”).

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