Bob 太太就對他說，要求免費。Bob 表示，算了吧，可是太太堅持不答應。於是他只好跟那個服務態度不怎麼好的服務小姐小心翼翼地說，你們的牆上掛著一塊牌子：「如果服務態度不好，可以要求免費入住。」那個小姐平靜地答道，你們認為我的服務態度不好嗎？Bob 的太太說，你的服務態度不好。那個服務員又問，你真的這樣認為嗎？她說是的，真的這樣認為。
An Incident in a motel in Arizona
My old friend Bob has being living in Nevada of the US since retirement. When time allows, he enjoys travelling to different countries, including Hong Kong two years ago. Some time earlier, he told me a story about an experience of his in Arizona.
Once, he went on a road trip with his wife, Sue, and arrived at a motel in Arizona in the middle of the night. They checked in the motel but found that the female receptionist far from friendly.
Most motels in the US have one side of the building facing a road and the other hidden from it. Nearly eighty years old, Bob requested a quiet room. But the woman receptionist at the desk gave him a categorical no, saying that the motel was fully booked that night. They would have to take whatever room was available. In the end, Bob and his wife were given a room facing the road. There being nothing they could do, they took the room, and had a sleepless sleep.
They got out of bed early next morning to find only a handful of cars in the parking lot. It turned out that the motel was far from full. Bob went to the front desk to sort things out, but the woman receptionist refused to listen to his complaint. Annoyed, Bob asked to speak to the manager about her unsatisfactory service. His wife, in the meantime, was having coffee, where she saw a plate hanging on the wall. It read anyone not satisfied with the motel service could stay for free.
Bob's wife told Bob about the plate and asked him to request a free night's stay. Bob was ready to give up at that point, but his wife persisted. Cautiously, he approached the receptionist, "The plate hanging on your wall says we can request staying for free if we are not satisfied with the service." The receptionist replied calmly, "Are you really dissatisfied with my service?" Bob's wife said that her attitude was indeed unsatisfactory. The receptionist repeated the question, and Bob's wife gave the same answer.
Guess what the lady said in reply? She said, "Fine, you can stay for free." Then she asked them to fill in a form, and the night's accommodation was waived.
What does this true story have to tell us? Some thoughts remain with me: I think the story underscores the importance of taking out the personal elements and playing by the rules in our daily transactions. Even though we talk a lot about internationalisation, is there not a gap between the way we run our affairs in the region of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and the Mainland and the story that we just heard? From the perspective of the internationalisation of the service sector, is there not room for deliberation and improvement for both those who provide the service and those who receive it?
December 31, 2012