So, I had this business dinner (which I dreaded by the way). I was told it was in this swanky restaurant. Stupidly, I sort of bragged to a friend of mine about it. Well, bragged is rather strong, I just kind of mentioned that it was supposed to be kind of fancy. As I was out of fags and I wanted to be more-than-fashionably late, I took a big detour looking fruitlessly for cigarettes before discovering to my dismay that it was a restaurant in a sort of mediocre hotel. Also very much to my dismay – and despite the detour and traffic – I was the 3rd person there so things started out rather dismally. There was the obligatory small-talk about work. I have a voice that carries and I was told to be careful because there could be competitors dining with us. I countered that the table behind us had colleagues from our company as well and that the rest of the restaurant was filled with old geezers that couldn’t give a hoot about the stuff we were discussing. The time moved slowed than an injured snail as we waited almost 45 minutes to get bread and water, more than an hour to get menus…you get the idea. Torture. There were seven of us when we finally ordered. When I learned that a last person was on his way to join us, I discretely texted him asking to save my life with a packet of Marlboro Lights. When he arrived about 20 minutes later, he had found the cigs, but dinner still crawled along. In order to protect the innocent, I won’t go into further embarrassing details (although there are many) of the evening…actually the worst part was that I couldn’t get trashed because I still had to drive home. So, at one point my phone started vibrating in my pocket. I ignored it and a few minutes later it started getting all excited once again. The friend to whom I had mentioned my swanky dinner was actually dining about 3 meters away from us. Ironically enough, he actually does work for a competitor. We both broke out laughing and the dinner party looked at us as if we were both nuts. He explained later that he didn’t even see me when he walked in because, as he is like 8 feet tall, he had to duck under the chandelier before sitting down. He heard my voice once and a few minutes later realized that my swanky restaurant was actually his hotel restaurant and thus the SMS messages.
Now, I know that is a long-winded story about nearly nothing and it may even be one of those you-had-to-be-there kind of stories. But, the advice still stands, when at a business dinner be careful because there may always be a competitor there – and sometimes that competitor is even a friend so be doubly careful!