It’s the late 1980s, and this pilot fish works for a large software and services outfit that’s also a major customer of a very big IT vendor.

“One year they invited a dozen of our people to their annual technology update,” says fish. “As was traditional, they treated us to dinner at a high-end steakhouse. The party totaled 20 people, including eight from the vendor.

“The restaurant was as famous for its wine list as for its steaks, so my boss asked the lead vendor rep if we could order some wine with the dinner for our four-person table.”

Both fish and his boss know and appreciate fine wine, and when the vendor rep says OK, they choose a good, not-toopricey Cabernet Sauvignon. It proves to be a hit and, in the end, everyone in the party gets some — a total of 10 bottles.

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