TGI Fridays and the customer, and links

budapest

When I used to travel in Europe for business on a monthly basis, I spent a LOT of time at TGI Fridays.  I know most people might dismiss it as a crass American chain, but I’ll defend it:  I had to eat a lot of foreign food.  I might spend 3-4 nights a week eating with clients and occasionally had some great meals.  Portugal?  No complaints.  Poland?  Eh.  So sometimes I chose to head off to TGI Fridays for dinner.  They always had a friendly bar, sports and wings – an obsession of mine for years.

But one city in particular had a great TGIFs: Budapest. I spent a lot of time there, mostly because when I went on the town I couldn’t manage the language or the food,  and because the people who worked at the TGIFs were so nice.

After going there frequently on several business trips over several years, the manager gave me a VIP card – basically a card that gave me free appetizers and drinks at any TGIFs in most European cities.   They made me feel wanted, which is a real gift to the traveling expat (and in my case, a former actual expat).

It doesn’t take much to feel like you’re at home. Usually kindness is enough.  I’m not silly enough to think that a corporation wanted to make me feel at home, but that manager in Budapest did.  I think that businesses underestimate the need of people to feel connected – or just to “belong” – and when you can make that connection happen, your business is going to take off.  Even though I may not be the biggest fan of the food at TGI Friday’s, since my time in Europe I’ve always been one of the biggest fans of their attitude towards customers – which is what, I imagine, they want.

On to links:

$1 Gold Coin Update: That’s some aggressive financial planning – far past what I manage.

Do We Have a Right to Line Dry Our Clothes?: I agree. We dry some clothes – jeans, etc. – on a rack inside the house. Beach wear and towels get rack-dried, too. Our HOA also prohibits line drying, and it’s one of those common-sense things to me: backyard, fine, frontyard, no.

U.S. Poverty Rate Reaches 15-Year High: Nice recession we got going here.

You Can’t Beat Index Mutual Funds: I agree, and you know why? Not even because they generally beat professionally managed funds – but because if you don’t bother to do extensive and exhaustive research on the stocks you buy, you’re better off grabbing the large-market average. I don’t put that kind of time into studying, so I buy the “hedge bet” of index funds. An astute investor, who studied companies carefully, would focus on single companies – but I don’t have that kind of discipline. But then again, there the contrarian view.

Pilaf: To really slash your grocery budget: Amusing – yet something I’m considering attempting. Variety is pleasurable, but not necessary every day.

And a few more…

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