Magazine article The Christian Century

On Tap. (M.E.M.O)

Magazine article The Christian Century

On Tap. (M.E.M.O)

Article excerpt

THE MARCH 3 lectionary texts encouraged Christians to think about water. In John 4:14 Jesus tells the woman at the well that "those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up eternal life." The woman answers, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water."

The March 8 Wall Street Journal printed a cover story by Shelly Branch about the delivery of water in today's restaurants. She featured Todd Goodrich, a New York waiter who spoke for many as he described how restaurants can make money off of water in a slow economy. Some of the suggested devices appeal to the sense of sight: place bottles on the table for a "visual sell." Bring the water out in a gorgeous silver bucket, doing a kind of eye-catching ballet. Pour bottled water into crystal goblets, but use only simple tumblers for tap water. Or do the "fast pour," in which the waiter keeps filling glasses, sip after sip, in order to sneak another bottle or two of designer water to the table. The waiters who follow this advice engage in what Branch calls a "ruthlessly manipulative science."

Some New York restaurants charge $14 for a one-liter bottle of Badoit or Alpenrose water, a sum that represents a mark-up of five or ten times wholesale cost. There's a new CD-ROM training manual, "Pour on Tips," that tells servers they can earn hundreds of dollars "simply by offering bottled water instead of tap." It gives the emphatic advice: Don't offer tap water; ask whether the party prefers San Pellegrino or Panna. Ask, "Would you like to have a couple more bottles chilled down?" People will say yes; it feeds their ego.

Note that the word "tap" has already appeared three times. Here are some more. …

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