Friday, August 29, 2008

Gay Techno Doesn't Sell Anything But "Don't Panic" T-Shirts

Yesterday I called on a client who has been having some issues with his business and I wanted to check on him before we meet up at the upcoming CEDIA tradeshow in Denver next week. When I got him on the phone he let me know that his father had unexpectedly died at 56 years old. There was little to say other than that I was sorry to hear the news and to offer my sincere condolences.

As soon as I got off the phone, I headed down to the card store a block from my new offices and looked for a condolence card as well as some nice "thank you" notes as I believe you can never have enough of those around. Handwritten notes show people in a digital world that you actually care enough to send them a meaningful thought.

As a music major and a "recovering" audiophile, it only took me about 15 seconds of a new song coming on the boom box in the store (note: not Musak) before I was considering writing my wife a condolence card because I was considering killing myself just to stop the pain of listening to the musical abortion on the CD player. The song was a remix of "Lady Marmalade" from Moulin Rouge yet it wasn't the rap-laden Christina Aguilera version. This was something much more drum and bass. More "fantastically" gay and enough to make this heavy metal loving music enthusiast look for something sharp to jam into my ear drum just so my wretched screaming would make the music go away.

So I guess I have a big mouth considering I asked the girl behind the counter "got any other shopping music?" and she just looked at me. Another lady chimed in "This is the gayest song I have ever heard!" and no response. When getting ready to check out - I asked the girl why she didn't change the song and she said "I really like it and I work here." Brilliant. To quote Barack Hussein Obama "This election isn't about me - its about you!"

When walking back to my office it dawned on me about how the best salespeople are all about other people and their needs. The best closers never say "lease this Mercedes because I need to make my month" they say "this is the lowest price I have ever been able to lease a car like this to anyone and I am glad that person is you." And then they send a written thank you note (hell, I could lend them one from my shopping bag).

I don't expect to get Blake (the Alex Baldwin character in Glengarry Glen Ross) when I am buying a sympathy card as some tiny shop but the idea of people-centered interest was driven home to me during this shopping experience - driven home like the credit card pen in my ear from that God-awful song that I still can't get out of my head.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Rude Restautant Service Comes To "Fruition" in Denver

As somewhat of a foodie, I love the idea of being able to take clients out when traveling to a new town. This September's CEDIA custom AV installer convention is my next opportunity and with one full month before the show, I set out to make some reservations for industry dinners.

While I do not have a $3,000 per month pornography habbit like allegations made about Christy Brinkely's husband and his spending - I do pay about $3 per year to have access to The site, which once was free, can be a good place to find new restaruants as well as see how people really feel about the better eateries in town. Its like a for food and Dener is one of the cities they cover so I started my search looking for the highest rated places.

The newest, most highly rated restauant in Denver is called Fruition. It is reportedly a "new American" cuisne joint that people are raving about. It has a 26 (of 30) for food which is pretty strong by any city's standards so I gave them a call to book a reservation around noon Pacific Standard Time. A few hours later a surly French-sounding host called me back and things went downhill fast. I was asking for a table for 6 at 7:30 on Friday with one month's notice. And please notice that this isn't The French Laundry or Il Mulino in New York we are talking about here. This is Denver with a full month's notice. The level of attidude I got was unreal. I got the you can eat here at eaither 5:30 or 9:00 with no apologies. Then the "we don't seat tables that large" line. How can you be a restaurant and not seat a table for 6? I wasn't asking for a table for 16 - a table for 6 is pretty standard even for the smallest restrants in the country. Ultimately, the guy just hung up on me after saying "I just can't help you!" If you were ever looking for the defintiion of The Business of No - this is it.

Think of the work it takes to be a well rated restarant in Zagat? Top chefs and resauranturs sweat their ratings there much like they worry about losing their third star from The New York Times yet this newcomer to the restaurant world - likely with investors who have yet to recoup their money yet - are turning down business that simply comes to them.

What I can tell you is - the girl at the next 26/30 rated restaurant down the list, called the Barollo Grill, was unbeleivable sweet and accomodating. She went out of her way to ask "Is this a special event?" and "How can we make your meal with us extra-special?" When I told her I would have important clients with me she immediatley responded with "We have a perfect table for 6 that is a little more quiet. I will reserve that one for you." I am excited about dining at this restaurant just from booking the reservation.

My prediction is that the only thing that will come to Fruition is a bankrupcy filing. The restaurant business is too dificult to treat customers like this especially when you are in Denver - not New York, LA or London. Get a clue.