Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Great Bike Ride – Day 11

Thursday, September 6, 2007

This was an odd day. Our main objective today was to gather up Diane at the Portland airport and head towards the museum where the Spruce Goose is displayed. Her plane was arriving about 1pm, so that meant we had the morning to catch up on laundry and sleep.

When Diane arrived at the hotel about 2pm, she quickly changed and we jumped on the bikes for the short run to McMinnville, Oregon - a distance of 53 miles. We thought we might be able to make it in time to visit the museum this afternoon, but the road from Portland to McMinnville was very congested and we arrived at 4pm, leaving only an hour to visit this extensive facility.

I thought maybe the folks at the museum would let us buy tickets ($20 each), look around a little before closing, then come back tomorrow on the same ticket to really look things over. But there were a couple of young kids at the desk who said that would be against the rules. So I asked to speak to a manager. The manager was another young person who said that rules were rules, and that we should just come back tomorrow.

Note to any young folks who are reading this: these kids made a dumb business decision. We weren't asking to get in for free. And it wasn't like were were going to consume something that would cost the museum money. We weren't going to give our tickets to someone else who would then get in for free. If they were worried about that, they could just write our driver's license numbers on the tickets and require us to show our licenses before we get back in tomorrow. I'm sure there was some easy way to accomodate our wishes.

Compare this to the guy who owned the little resturant we walked to last night night in Portland. It was near his closing, but he invited us in anyway, and asked his server if she would stay for a few minutes to take care of us. We had a good meal, and left generous tips in appreciation.

I'm fortunate to have grown up in a company culture where we felt some degree ownership in the enterprise, and therefore tried to find a way to say "yes" to reasonable requests from a customer. For that, we were rewarded with great customer loyalty. It's much cheaper to keep a good customer than find a new one.

Maybe these folks at the museum never have to think that way. Their customers visit once, and likely never come again. And they have a unique product: the one and only Spruce Goose. They'll find out that this situation rarely exists in the real world. Treat a customer badly, and the competition gets the business.

Good dinner tonight in a little pub next door to the hotel. Tomorrow we go back to the see the Spruce Goose and then head for the PACIFIC COAST!!!

DAY 12

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