I've had some GOOD customer service experiences lately and it's important to recognize them. So here's a toast:
To Allison P. at the Altamonte Springs, FL Cracker Barrel: You were funny, engaging and gave great service all at the same time. That's impressive at any time but to be that way on a busy Sunday morning at a place as nuts as Cracker Barrel was even more impressive. If I ran a retail operation I would have been there Monday morning to offer you a better job and a raise. May the folks at Cracker Barrel recognize your talent and do the same.
To Bonnie at the Altamonte Springs, FL Home Depot: You led us through every option possible for blinds for our new house. You helped us narrow the choices to items not requiring another mortgage. You encouraged us to take samples home and make sure they would work. You didn't pressure us to buy and you offered creative, lower cost alternatives. When we found what would work, you surprised us by pointing out that this particular item was not only in stock but on sale! May this be the start of the turn around at Home Depot and may it be led by folks like you.
To Liz Hallen of Microsoft and the folks running the store at Microsoft's Convergence conference: When I got home and found a box cutter slice in a t-shirt I had purchased, I sent one email to Liz who I knew was not the right person to answer my request but was the best contact I had. My simple request flew through at least four people at Microsoft. The only questions I was asked were which shirt?, what size? and where do we send it?. I got all of that plus apologies up and down the line. Kudos to everyone. May the service and transparency shown here bubble throughout Microsoft's products and may Steve and Bill share a little of the wealth with you.
To the folks at Southwest Airlines: You got me from Orlando to San Diego and back in beautiful 737-700's on time, for a reasonable price. Your flight attendants ranged from fine to outstanding. Sadly, even just fine stands out in contrast to the surliness of so many of your competitors. You made me laugh on every leg of the flight. Please don't lose that. You're flight attendants, pilots and gate personnel made me wonder if I'm nice enough, on enough days to work for Southwest. I'm not sure that I could be that nice to me for that long.
Finally to the folks at Sound Advice in Orlando, FL: I wandered through your nearly empty store looking for cables, a remote and most importantly, advice, for the home theater I'm setting up in the new house. Not only did no one bother to ask if I needed help, a few people pointedly picked up the phone when I approached them. So I left. I got my advice from Google and spent a lot of money with Amazon.com. UPS and FedEx made money on the shipping. So to Sound Advice, may you get what you give...in abundance.
Apparently I'm not nice enough, on enough days, to work for Southwest.