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Tradition is tradition damnit! Even if I have to resort to thievery.

March 23, 2006

“Why is it a tradition? Because we do it all the time!
Why do we do it all the time? Because it’s tradition!”

–My boxing coach, Tom Quinn

Last week was my fifth conference in Boca and for the four Boca conferences prior, I had come home with at least one bottle of (free) wine. It was two years ago that I finally deemed it tradition, and by golly, there wasn’t going to be anything that stopped me from continuing said ritual.

2002 ~ Being fairly new and wide-eyed (“The hotel, it’s pink!” “Those hyacinth are gorgeous!” “The yachts are huge!”) I followed the rest of the “cool” staff around during the non-working hours (by cool, I mean those that like to dance and drink). After one reception, and while we waited for the next one to start, they dragged me to Resort Bingo. Resort Bingo happens to be (generally) played by the Club Members, of which the youngest is probably 84. The Club Members did not look highly upon us hot, young things taking up valuable bingo cards, bringing in our not-to-be-shared plates of gulf shrimp and plastic tumblers full of wine. Not to mention the fact that someone outside of their group might actually win those resort logoed flip flops they were giving away as prizes. Well, outside of our wine-induced hyjinks, things were going well for the blue-hairs (meaning we hadn’t won anything). That is until the last round, and the most glorious prize of the bunch came up for grabs…a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from the resort’s cellar. Marci don’t play when it comes to wine (or apparently she does play Bingo at least), and sure ’nuff that bottle went home with me. And you can be sure that I youthfully danced my way past the blue-hairs to collect my winnings. FREE BOCA WINE #1

2003 ~ For some reason this year I was deemed a VIP. Which basically meant special treatment upon check-in, a coolio little emblem on my resort charge card (cool for whom, I am not sure), and a big pretty amenity basket in my room. Complete with….you guessed it….a full bottle of wine. FREE BOCA WINE #2

2004 ~ With no bingo and no VIP status this year, I figured that wrapping a bottle of wine in hotel towels and stuffing it into my suitcase would not be an activity for me. Wrong! At our staff dinner, the sommelier set up a little game for us (well, we told him to do it). All the plates, glasses, silverware and linens were left in the center of the table and each person had to set their own place setting as perfectly as possible in order to get dinner. Ever so smart, yours truly won the competition — beating out my closest competitor by folding my napkin into a piece of art (if art means something that resembles a drunken swan) and thus, winning myself a bottle of wine. FREE BOCA WINE #3

2005 ~ The situation was dire — Meg (then, a co-worker of mine) and I had decided to stay the weekend to sleep, sun and spa — the conference was now over and I had yet to procure my free bottle of wine. Being completelty exhausted, Meg and I debated staying in and vegging in front of the TV our last evening in town. But, not wanting to waste time in Florida lying around on the sofa, we forced ourselves downstairs to the bar. We s-l-o-w-l-y proceed to have a raucous time (“name-badge free zone!”), it just happened to turn out that the restaurant manager and sommelier were bored next door and decided to use us for amusement. Amusing we were, because before the sommelier left for the evening he pulled a bottle of wine off the wall of the bar, signed it, and gave it to me. Crisis averted! FREE BOCA WINE #4

No bingo. No uber friendly sommelier. No VIP status (although I did get a 1/2 bottle of merlot from the hotel…but halfsies don’t count). By this time, it’s a full-fledged tradition and I had told others about it. I cannot go home without my wine! So I set my sights on the Tuscan wine tasting late in the week. The wines were beautiful and oh so tasty. I almost forgot about my mission, but when the Banquet Captain came up to me desperately whispering “We have to break down now, we have another group moving in this same space in 45 minutes.”, I figured this was my chance. After asking about the time and realizing we are 30 minutes past the printed hours, I tell him that we are safe to tear down and kick people out. As they start to clear the items away, I see a wine station with open bottles — prepped to pour, but completely full. Meaning they are paid for, regardless if they get imbibed or not. Guess what came home with me? FREE BOCA WINE #5 (a nice Tuscan red by the way)

All is right with the world and my tradition lives on.

Buggie, are you proud? I totally (kinda) used your banquet alcohol stealing (BAS) tactics to score this one.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2006 8:15 pm

    Hell Yeah! I’m impressed! I’m even more impressed that you’ve had the same job for 5 years! I get bored with mine after 5 months and move to another one!!!

    I’m known in our industry as the girl who gets all the free stuff. Meaning, if any vendors are hiding the really cool things, I will find them, charm them, and receive them!

  2. March 24, 2006 8:41 am

    Wow, nice going keeping the streak alive!! I am very impressed. The only thing I like better than a nice bottle of wine is a FREE bottle of wine.

  3. March 24, 2006 12:28 pm

    Mappy – I have to order all of our conference swag…so vendors send me samples all the time. I am currently sitting on a MOUNTAIN of vendor crap right now. Towels, coolers, sweats, tees, watches…

    Tyler – FREE FREE FREE!

  4. March 24, 2006 3:27 pm

    Oh are you really?! Oh man, I am so so so jealous! My friend just hosted this big PFLAG thing in Alexandria, and now I have tons of rainbow stuff around the house, and I’m not even gay! I love free stuff! Especially t-shirts. I’m in a 5k tomorrow, mostly for the shirt. 🙂

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