Reading, 10

LUNCH ON THE DOUBLE

I am not easily shocked, but I still haven’t got over a recent experience in New York. A business contact had invited me to lunch at a trendy restaurant. I turned up on time, expecting a gastronomic treat and a leisurely chat about matters of mutual interest. So you can imagine how I felt when he said that, sorry, we could only share a first course because he had scheduled a second lunch appointment. What nerve! What an insult! I vowed to never speak to him again, until a friend of mine told me that such bad manners have become quite fashionable among Manhattan’s movers and shakers. It wasn’t personal, just the trendy thing to do. It seems that many business executives are double and triple decking their lunches like club sandwiches, a practice known as ‘Type A feeding behaviour’. It  works like this: an appetizer at the Four Seasons, a hamburger with another client at 21, and dessert and coffee with a third business contact at Michael’s. The whole silly business is another version of the power game, a demonstration that you are more important than your guest and that your time is therefore more valuable. I don’t know what anyone hopes to gain by this kind of nonsense. It certainly didn’t work with me; and I can well imagine the reaction of other visitors from countries which still regard lunch as a serious matter, an opportunity to establish or nurture personal relationships, exchange views, lay the foundations for a deal, or celebrate the successful outcome of negotiations. I have made lasting friends  and have initiated many lucrative transactions over lunch at good London restaurants like Langan’s and Shepherd’s. I believe that mixing business with pleasure is part of civilized behaviour, and all the more agreeable if one can do it on an expense account.My idea of a good time is an hour-long lunch with a companion who doesn’t look  at his watch every five minutes, who has something interesting to say, and who thinks that my opinions are worth listening to. The ambience should be stylishly casual, the service attentive but not rushed and the menu as intriguing as a balance sheet. I can do without martinis, but I prefer wine to water. I would not dream of going to the Four Seasons or Le Cirque in Manhattan’s excellent Palace  Hotel and insulting the chef as well as my guest by settling for a bowl of soup.The simple answer is to lay down the ground rules beforehand. Make it clear how much time you have available and ask the guest if it fits in with his own schedule. What made my experience so shocking is that it came as a complete surprise. I hope that the insulting practice of back-to-back lunch dates is one  New York trend that will not catch on in London, Paris, Rome, or Berlin. We Europeans have a reputation for lingering over our lunches. I gather that US cities like Chicago and San Francisco are holding the line at the single lunch, which is good news. They have great restaurants which deserve the appreciative patronage of relaxed and discerning customers.  I don’t mind if a host wants to show how powerful he is, it’s all part of business. However, there is more than one way of doing this. A really important player is careful in his choice of guests, but gives them his full attention. He demonstrates his power by not rushing off to another restaurant or to the office.

1.-What is ‘Type A feeding’ behaviour?

A when business executives have club sandwiches for lunch

B when business executives have lunch at the best restaurants

C when business executives have not scheduled their lunch in advance

D when business executives have different courses with different guests 

2.-How did the writer feel about this?

A silly

B pleasantly shocked

C offended

D trendy   

3.-Why, according to the writer, do some business executives do this?

A They don’t like eating with the same people.

B They want to show they are more powerful than their guests.

C They don’t have time.

D They are silly and play games. 

4.-How does the writer view lunch?

A as a way of making friends and doing business

B as a way of celebrating and having fun

C as a way of ensuring you get a nutritious meal

D as a strict business meeting   

5.-According to the writer, a business lunch

A should not be rushed.

B should be stylish.

C should have a balanced menu.

D should have quick service.   

6.-What according to the writer is ‘the simple answer’? (line 32)

A to make your intentions clear in advance

B to play by the rules

C to change your schedule

D to completely surprise your guest

 7.-What is implied about Chicago and San Francisco?

 A        They are holding the same line as New York

B They deserve a patronage from New York.

C There is some good news about restaurants.

D They are not following New York in this fashion. 

8.-What conclusion does the writer give us?

A It doesn’t matter how powerful a host is.

B Do not change restaurants all the time.

C Show your power in another way.

D It’s all part of business. 

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