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How to not get (totally) ripped off when ordering wine

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May 23, 2021 | View Online | Sign Up
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Mark Wang


Food Alternatives

How to Order Wine

A View of the Red Rocks


Editor's Note


One of the best things I read this week was an NYT Magazine article in which the writer, Sophie Haigney, argues that the summer we daydream about never really lives up to expectations.

That idealized version of summer is a never-ending cycle of beach bonfires, camping, picnics, concerts, romances, ice cream—lots of ice cream. "They are images that have been laundered through movies and advertising and books into a tacit promise: This is what summer ought to be like," Haigney writes. 

But that's not what summer is actually like. The reality is most of us will be working, or studying, or otherwise in front of a screen for the next few months, escaping when we can to a beach or a lake. And that's okay. Things are never as glamorous as we dream them up to be.

Still, in September, I'm hoping I can look back at summer 2021 and say, "That was really fun...also I ate a tremendous amount of ice cream."

—Neal Freyman




Stock Watch: Food Substitutes

Will Varner




Icebreakers With... Aparicio Giddins

Aparicio Giddins Headshot

Courtesy of Aparicio Giddins

Aparicio Giddins is the president and chief technology officer of Greenwood Financial, a new banking platform for Black and Latinx customers. He lives in Charlotte, NC—the regional banking capital of the world, he reminded us. We chatted with Giddins about digital banking, everything he's reading and watching, and the perfect playlist.

What brought you to Greenwood?

There are a number of things, one was that I always wanted to start a bank because of my own financial experiences. The second part is around the mission and the opportunity to give back and recirculate dollars in the Black and Latino community.

Is there a book that you read in college or high school that you still think about?

The Alchemist. I didn't read it in college, but it is my favorite book ever. I try to put it in my rotation at least once a year. The book that I read in college that made me want to start a bank was Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

What's a song that can always pump you up?

Recently, it's been DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win." My college song was "Check the Rhime" by A Tribe Called Quest and it was the remix with Busta Rhymes.

Which Marvel hero are you?

I see myself more as a Captain America type of guy. But there's a little Hulk in me, too, that wants to smash things along the way. Cap was a great character and I will forever love that series because of him.

What new ways of doing things will you keep from this past year?

I've been working on trying to be present. The one thing this pandemic has taught me is to be present with the people you love and love them while they're here. I've got a daughter who's going to go to college in a couple of years. It's really critical that I use the time that we have together. I've also been able to get outdoors a little bit more and take walks. I want to make sure that I continue getting outdoors because it really is beautiful out there. It's a shame I've been stuck in a concrete building for the last 20 years.

This interview was lightly edited and condensed for clarity.





Make It Work: Recruiting Takeover

Make It Work logo

Each week, Morning Brew's Head of People Ops Kate Noel answers reader-submitted questions about work in 2021. 

Kate was taking some well-deserved PTO this week, so we asked our director of talent acquisition, Lily Mittman, to step in and answer your questions about recruiting.

"How do you recommend we ask future employers about their company culture? I have worked in toxic cultures in the past and want to learn to avoid these. Thank you."—Liliana

Hi, Liliana! "What is your company culture?" is a question I get asked in every interview. Candidates are drawn more than ever to companies that put an emphasis on culture, work/life balance, diversity and inclusion, and growth opportunities. I always suggest directing these sorts of questions to the recruiter or HR person in your interview panel. They should be tuned in to company initiatives and able to explain the company's approach to building a welcoming culture. 

You can always check the Glassdoor profile of a company you're applying to, but take it with a grain of salt since reviews on there can sometimes be really old. If person after person is saying the same thing about a company, bring it up to the HR rep in your interview. And don't be shy to share specifically what is important to you in your next move. Remember, you are interviewing them, too!

"Everyone says working for a small company/startup leads to valuable skills, but many recruiters may not recognize the company's name. What's a way to make your work at a small shop stand out?"

I love this question! When we recruiters get 400 applicants overnight, it's definitely tricky to make your application stand out from the pack. When you apply and are asked about your current company/role, my suggestion would be to reference notable companies, brands, or clients you work with along with the less-recognizable name of the smaller company you work for.




How to Not Get (Totally) Ripped Off When Ordering Wine

Wine glass

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

You're at a restaurant on a second date with someone you really like. The server walks over and asks, "Can I get you something to drink?"

You pick up the wine men—er, scan the QR code to pull up the wine list. A bead of sweat trickles down your forehead. This is never easy, considering you know nothing about wine. "Uhhhh, how about a bottle of this one?" you say, pointing to the second-cheapest wine on the menu. That allows you to flex by buying an entire bottle, but you're not made of money, and now you've avoided the embarrassment of ordering the cheapest wine offered.

Watching you from across the room, the restaurant owner grins and mutters, "Yes, yes...all according to plan."

Much has been said about the pitfalls of ordering the second-cheapest bottle of wine on a menu. According to legend, restaurants mark up its price more than the others, exploiting your urge to save face by not going with the cheapest. 

Is that true? 

Researchers at the London School of Economics decided to put this legend to the empirical test, and they recently published their results in a working paper.

  • They analyzed the prices of 6,335 wines at 249 London restaurants to understand how wine markups at restaurants really work. 

What they found: People who order the second-cheapest bottle of wine are in fact not being ripped off more than anyone else. "It is an urban myth that the second-cheapest wine is an especially bad buy," the study's authors wrote.

So how are wine menus priced? The researchers call it an "inverse U-shape with respect to rank." The wines in the middle of the menu, the Pittsburgh Pirates of the wine world, have the highest percentage markup. Here's the psychology behind that:

  • Keeping percentage markups low at the bottom of the list makes wine more attractive to novice buyers, like the folks on the date.
  • Lower percentage markups at the top-end of the list gives more knowledgeable wine drinkers a nudge to "trade up" to bottles with higher absolute markups, which is beneficial for the restaurant.

And for the rest of us who order the average-priced wine of the list...we're the suckers.

Bottom line, per the study: When ordering wine, "Don't get stuck in the middle!" 





Open House

Welcome to Open House, the newsletter section that is just like an in-person open house but that you can attend from your bed. We'll show you a listing, give you a few facts, and then you try to guess the price.


Today's property raises the question: Instead of buying a normal house, why not buy a fortress in the desert? Join us down in Sedona, AZ, for 2,399 square feet of dry-heat bliss and a beautiful view of the red rocks. Amenities include:

  • 4 beds, 3 baths
  • Brand new flooring, cabinets, and appliances
  • Three fireplaces, perfect for those freezing Arizona winters
  • *eye twitch* Barn doors in the bedroom

So, how much for this humble concrete abode? Take a guess and then scroll to the bottom of the newsletter for the answer.




Just Click It

  1. Black Wall Street, 100 years later. (Morning Brew)
  2. A 5-part TikTok series on what happened in Tulsa in 1921. (Morning Brew)
  3. Why do we stick our feet inside rubberized "coffins" all day? (Freakonomics)
  4. The 50 greatest moments in internet history. (Esquire)
  5. The body's most embarrassing organ is an evolutionary marvel. (The Atlantic)
  6. The blandness of TikTok's biggest stars. (Vox)
  7. The death and life of the central business district. (City Lab)
  8. In 19th century New England, mourning traditions included "telling the bees" of a loved one's death. (JSTOR)
  9. What's the best fact you know? (Twitter)
  10. Maybe SPACs were a bad idea after all. (TechCrunch)

Anything + everything. With Walmart+, you can get basically anything you need, plus free shipping, no order minimum, and free delivery from your store on groceries and essentials*. It's a membership that has it all, plus more. Start your 15-day free trial here.*

*This is sponsored advertising content




Meme Battle

Welcome back to Morning Brew's Meme Battle, where we crown a single memelord every Sunday.

Today's memelord: Colin from Denmark, who will apparently take a gas shortage over low battery range any day. 

This week's challenge: You can find the new meme template here for next Sunday. Once you're done making your meme, submit it at this link. We'll pick a new memelord in next week's Sunday Edition and provide you with another meme template to meme-ify. 




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✤ A Note From Walmart

*Free shipping – Excludes freight & Marketplace items.  Free delivery - $35 order min.  Restrictions apply.


Written by Jamie Wilde, Matty Merritt, and Neal Freyman

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