So yesterday I was meeting a friend for an adult beverage at one of my favorite local watering holes, The Crunkleton. I swanned in and took my place at the bar when the bartender informed me that they were actually closed for a private party. No problem, I said, adding that they might want to put a sign on the door. I went back out to wait for my friend.

Before my eyes could adjust to the sunny afternoon, the owner came out.

"I feel bad, come on in an have a drink if you don't mind us setting up around you."

"Good Lord, no. You're closed."

"No. You're coming in. I insist. And you're right, we need a sign on the door."

Now, Gary didn't have to do this. He's not going to lose my business because I forgot about the private event he'd announced the day before in his email newsletter.  Gary didn't invite me in because he cared that much about selling me a liquor drink. That's not his primary business. He's in the business of selling that feeling of belonging, of specialness. And he's great at it!

Did I care that we weren't going to get the usual insanely great service (it was only really great)? Did I mind that they were setting up tables and stuff? Of course not. Because I was in the place I wanted to be drinking the local gin and tonic water I can only get at the Crunkleton.

So my pal and I had the simplest drinks and paid cash. We also left a big tip and a donation to the charity for whom the event was being held.

We got to catch up. The event planners got to get the party set up. The charity got a donation. And Gary? He made a few bucks and earned fan who sends people to our town on business every week. You can bet they'll be heading to the Crunkleton now by order of the boss.

That there's the long tail of great service.


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