Al’s column

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by Al Wahnon

PROFESSIONALISM PAYS: This tidbit came from the International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI) about one of its members, Danny Sherman of Megs Installation in Doraville, Ga., and shows why being a professional is the best way to gain and keep business. It concerns the restoration of Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, which is listed on the National Registry. From the theater: “The service we received from Danny Sherman and his crew is a step above in customer service in comparison with other companies we have worked with in the past. They were punctual, easy to work with and thorough in their mission. We were most impressed with the strong work ethic of the crew and Mr. Sherman’s personal visits throughout the duration of the project were a positive element. We never hesitate in calling Megs to assist us with repairs or with new installations and strongly recommend their services to others.” That’s the best advertising a company can get.

OPTIMISTIC CONSUMER: Historically, a new year brings optimism, but that has not been the case the last few as the recession curtailed it with caution and negativity. There appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel as a USA Today/Gallup poll shows Americans entered 2011 more optimistic than recent years: 58% of respondents said 2011 will be better than 2010; 21% say it will be the same, and 20% say it will be worse.

NON-BIASED OPTIMISM: Delving more into the poll, it shows while optimism reigned for every age group and political affiliation surveyed, there are still some stark differences: 71% of Democrats say 2011 will be better, 13% say it will be worse, while 48% of Republicans say 2011 will be better, and 23% say it will be worse. When it comes to age, of those 18 to 34, 69% say 2011 will be better while 11% say it will be worse. Contrast that to 51% of those 55 years and over saying 2011 will be better and 25% saying it will be worse. Everyone may not agree but at least they are all hopeful.

GOOD DEED: We are so inundated with stories of people and companies going out of their way to inconvenience their customers it’s refreshing to hear of something good happening. It happened in LA when a grieving grandfather was trying to catch the first leg of a journey that would ultimately take him to Denver where his 2-1⁄2- year-old grandson was going to be taken off life support. He was flying Southwest and, despite arriving two hours early, airport security was so slow—and uncooperative—it forced him to miss his plane. Or did it?

MORE: Frantically running through the terminal with shoes and belt in hand the man, who was practically in tears at this point thinking he would never see his grandson alive again, was met at the gate by the pilot and gate agent who were alerted to what was happening and decided to take action into their own hands by holding the plane. When the man got to the gate, the pilot asked, “Are you Mark? We held the plane for you and we’re so sorry about the loss of your grandson. They can’t go anywhere without me and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.” The plane departed 12 minutes late. Instead of condemning the pilot, since the delay could have had a ripple effect throughout the airline’s system, Southwest stated it was “proud” of the pilot’s decision. We should all be, knowing there are still people who put human decency and customer service above all else.

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