A few years ago I stopped by a convenience store to pick up a drink. As I walked to the counter, beverage in hand, the kid working at the counter avoided any sort of contact with me. He didn’t look me in the eye or say anything. He conducted the transaction in the most impersonal way imaginable. He handed me my change and walked away. I stood there surprised by the whole experience and laughed before turning to walk out of the store. Apparently my sarcastic laughter irritated him and for the first time since I walked in to the store he spoke to me. He asked, “What’s your problem?” I responded that I couldn’t believe he didn’t even say “thanks”. His reply was” “Thanks for what?”

I know he was probably having a really bad day or I reminded him of someone he didn’t like. I’m sure his question was one of frustration and not of ignorance. How could he not grasp the economic reality of what just happened. I bought a drink which put money in the pocket of the business owner who in turn puts money in to that kid’s pocket. Without customers there is no job and no npaycheck. This is a fact Ron Artest would do well to remember.

Last night I took a client out for dinner. We each had a great steak, a few glasses of gin and a lot of laughs. The dinner cost about $70 which is peanuts in terms of the amount of business we’ve done together. It’s a creative and relatively inexpensive way of saying thanks and the token of appreciation was well received. Thanking a customer for their business is a discipline that should be creatively and frequently practiced.