Experiences Worth Giving Thanks For

This is a great time of year to think about the things that make you feel thankful. For me, it starts with my family, friends, and our collective good health (and you can throw the Red Sox 2007 World Championship on that list as well). I am also thankful that there’s room for humor in the world; so here’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving comics…. 

 Turkeys trying to fool blind man with an ax
(from www.comixconnection.com)

To honor the Thanksgiving season, I’ve come up with 9 categories of experiences that I am personally (not professionally) thankful for:

  • Best fun electronics experience: Apple. Our house is full of Apple products: iPod Nanos, iPod Videos, an iPod Touch, and a MacBook. Why? Because they’re great to use. We can see TV shows/videos on the road — wow! Anytime I want a new song or a movie — it’s easy to go to iTunes (or, more commonly, have my son do it). And I recently had a great service experience at Apple’s Genius Bar. The not so best: Dell, which seem to often freeze (we have several in our house) and we need to stay on hold for a long time whenever we have a service question (okay, some of the blame also goes to Microsoft).
  • Best useful electronics experience: Blackberry 8830. I’ll admit it, I’ve become a Blackberry addict. I’ve been a holdout up until a few months ago when I got the 8830. It’s changed my life — I can now keep in touch anywhere, anytime. It transformed my recent 4 hour train ride to New York into a totally productive trip. The not so best: Treo 700W, which was my previous phone. Since our company never really supported the Treo, it ended up being nothing more than an over-sized brick that crashed a lot (once again, some blame to Microsoft).
  • Best retail experience: Costco. Who would have thought that shopping for paper towels and tomato sauce would be so much better when you mix in TVs, computers, and books? Costco. I enjoy browsing for just about anything in this store. And, you can’t beat lunch at Costco’s Cafe 150 ($1.50 for a large hot dog and a bottomless cup of soda). The not so best: Ticketmaster for Hannah Montana tickets.My daughter really wanted to see the Hannah Montana concert, so I followed Ticketmaster’s instructions and joined the Hannah Montana club for $29.99 to get access to a pre-sale. But, even though I went online right when the pre-sale started, there were no tickets. What a scam.
  • Best airline experience: JetBlue. This past year, I’ve taken several flights with JetBlue — and they all have been great. The Website is easy to navigate and the people are all friendly. On vacation with my kids, we got to see Red Sox games during our flights in both directions.  And the seats are very comfortable — with plenty of leg room. The not so best: Delta, which made me go through hell on a trip from Richmond,VA. And the seating on Delta flights is always cramped.
  • Best hotel experience: Dreams Cancun. It’s hard to find anything wrong with an all-inclusive resort on the beach . And we didn’t. My entire family had a great time at the Dreams in Cancun. The not so best: Marriott Marco Island. This hotel messed up everything during my stay: spotty Internet service which forced me to waste over an hour on the phone with their service provider, room-service that never answered the phone, and front desk personnel that just didn’t help. 
  • Best dining experience: Rosa Mexicano. In the past half-year, I’ve been to all three Rosa Mexicanos in New York City — and have enjoyed my meals at all of them. If you go, make sure to get the customized guacamole they make at your table.  The not so best: The Biltmore (a local pub), where after a meal with terrible service (they forgot to put in our order), the owner ran after us outside the restaurant to argue why the problems weren’t her fault (I tried, unsuccessfully, to explain that she needs to take accountability for ALL service problems).
  • Best entertainment experience: Jersey Boys and Superbad. We’ve been lucky to see a bunch of Broadway shows this year including Avenue Q, The Drowsy Chaperone, Grease, and Spring Awakenings. But Jersey Boys was the most memorable experience across all of those great shows. And for its gut-wrenching humor, I have to give the nod to the movie Superbad (and the unforgettable McLovin). The not so best: Britney Spears’ performance at the Video Music Awards — that was just awful. 
  • Best famous athlete experience: Tom Brady and Jason VaritekI believe that if you make $10 million/year as an athlete, then a portion of that pay is for you to be a role model. So I’ll give a shout-out to Tom Brady. He may be the best quarterback of all time, yet he still prepares as hard as anyone and always gives credit to other players on the team. And, I have to also give Jason Varitek a virtual high-five for signing autographs for kids in our neighborhood on HalloweenThe not so best: Alex Rodriguez who tried to upstage the World Series with his announcement that he was walking away from the Yankees (who he let down again in the playoffs) because the “poor boy” wanted someone to give him $350 million.
  • Best humankind experience: Al GoreGlobal warming is An Incovenient Truth that too many people have been trying to ignore, but Al Gore has done a great job in raising awareness of the risks around the world. The not so best: The Darfur genocide — where 100,000’s of people have been killed.

The bottom line: Take some time to be thankful and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/brucetemkin

3 thoughts on “Experiences Worth Giving Thanks For”

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