I’m traveling to Chicago next weekend to see my best friend from college and her family. I’m now in the typical traveler’s quandry: check bags or carry on? What’s the fee? Why is there a fee? I want to take a nice bottle of wine from our “wine closet” but I can’t put that in my carry on. But is it worth the fee (if there is one). Why is it so hard to travel these days? And don’t get me started on the dress code for a party we’re attending: “city vamp chic.” Really, what does that mean?

And we’re going to Flowers After Hours at the VMFA this weekend. I love the VMFA, I love their new website. But it won’t give me my password (which doesn’t match what I wrote down) so I can’t order tickets online. I left a message the other day, with my member number asking for them to reserve my tickets. I got a call back saying I’d have to call them back to order the tickets. Really? I’m a member. Doesn’t membership have its priveleges anymore?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for special favors (although a First Class upgrade would be nice). I know that technology can and should make life easier — and I know that September 11 and a few bad terrorists have changed the way we travel. But I also know the value of a customer. And I know the importance of doing everything I can to make the customer happy (even exceeding expectations) to keep them loyal. So why is it so hard for others to do the same? It’s not brain surgery. Truly.

It’s everything we learned from day one: treat others as you wanted to be treated. Be polite. Say please and thank you. Wait your turn in line. Smile and the world smiles with you…. you get the idea. I get the idea. We work hard at MBM to treasure and uphold the idea. It’s not that difficult. Really.