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I like this idea:

"Doing the opposite can be a good thing, if it has a purpose. Looking at worst practices instead of benchmarking against the best stuff, for example, could yield amazing insights."

That would be a great topic for another post!

I think the main issue is, "Does the perceived value outweigh the hassles, service issues, etc...?" I think that's what it comes down to in any business - "Do I have the time/energy/resources to make a - hopefully - better choice?"

@Tim - they are in the service business, and in a public way, too.

@Lisa - good thoughts on the arts and performance. I should do more thinking along the lines of what I learned spending time in that environment. Indeed, would I choose the same place? Even better, would I take someone there?

@Patrick - I think it can be both.

@Gini - in your example, the service is organized to be a specific kind of experience. You expect it. People talk about it, bring others with them. It's what makes the hot dogs better tasting in addition to the special way they are made/sauces, etc. The whole package deal. I would not describe the service I received horrible, it was coming from lack of interest... the experience is everything, yes.

@Jen - going out for many ends up being a social occasion; a special evening or celebration, meeting someone for business, or an old friend, getting together as a group, etc. I waited tables for many years during high school, and there are no tips in Italy, just low pay, I know it's hard work and people can be demanding... they come back when they feel welcomed.

@Jeannie - the food was good. And yes, attitude makes up for so much in service.

@Peter - getting out of the way would have been a better experience. There are plenty of really good places in Italy where that is the case. You're on your own, mostly, get what you order efficiently. Then again, you also are not expected to leave tips. Expectations need to change somewhere along the line in your scenario, I think. We are in life.

@Robert - note how I omitted the name of the place. Is this really about the specific cafe', or am I making a point? Also, note how you assume I didn't take the time... walk the talk on "illuminated".

Surprisingly, there are many ways to succeed in business.

What I'm wondering is why, since this obviously was of interest, you didn't take the time to talk to the owner/operator and report on this in a more illuminated way?

...instead of guessing about them.

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