[Editor's note: Although most of what we do appears to be tech-related — all cables and components — the reality is that we are part of a person-to-person business, built on understanding, communication, collaboration and trust. That's service. This week, contributor Anita Vidwell shares her Thanksgiving adventures in service.]
Dallas, TX. Thanksgiving with my parents was a resounding success, despite all forecasts. Previous family gatherings subjected my boyfriend, Chance, to Daddy's political insights regarding the unmanliness of ponytails punctuated by lectures on how it has been scientifically proven that liberals are the source of all things evil in the world.
This holiday, perhaps as an olive branch, Daddy invited us down and put us up in the Anatole. The flight was pleasantly uneventful (thank-you Southwest!). I convinced Chance to leave his man-bag at the hotel and the big day itself passed with nary a peep out of Daddy, save for one sniffling crack directed toward Chance about how patchouli is really just cheap perfume for women of questionable repute (eliciting a threatening, "Carl!" barked from Momma in the kitchen).
Daddy's beloved Cowboys trounced Chance's home-town Raiders leaving no doubt in Daddy's mind about the biblical significance of the triumph of good over evil. Flush with victory and several highballs, Daddy's magnanimity toward my poor, sweet, freshly-defeated Chance overflowed as he explained how it wasn't Chance's fault that the Raiders couldn't pass worth a lick, but rather a fundamental law of the universe.
And so, by "resounding success" I mean, it could have been worse. The Raiders could have won.
Back at the Anatole, I collapsed on the king-size bed and entombed myself beneath throw-pillows bigger than my kitchen table. I was about to slip into a turkey-induced coma when Chance accosted me with a fist-full of little blue packets of artificial sweetener, wanting to know if I'd left them on the desk.
I don't do artificial sweetener. He knows darn well I take my coffee black.
You see, Mister Man-bag is a little, shall we say, fussy about his artificial sweeteners, so he carries around a few blue packets with him, just in case of an artificial sweetener emergency. As he described it, he had used up his last two spares in the coffee brought up by room service that morning (seems they only had the pink packets). And now, a whole pile of blue packets sat on the desk.
"Oh, mystery of mysteries," I exclaimed and hoisted a pillow over my head, while Sherlock Holmes rang up room service to launch a formal investigation.
To make a long story almost short, it appears that real Texans take their artificial sweetener in pink or yellow packets, never blue. Thus, the dearth of blue packets at the Anatole. The director of room service suggested to Chance that his server must have noticed the discarded blue packets with the breakfast dishes and, knowing that the blue packets are quite dear, thought to send a care-package of Chance's artificial sweetener-of-choice up to the room. Gratefully sweetened, Chance left them a sweet tip when we checked out the next day.
I wanted to share this experience with you because, with all the recent talk about good-enough, it hit me that there really is only ONE area in which good-enough is neither "good" nor "enough" and that's service. Thanks, Anatole.
Happy Thanksgiving, AV-1,
||by Anita Vidwell|