The Difference Between Good and Awful

Two events have inspired me once again to talk about service. There's no new point to be made here, only an old subject worth repeating and two amusing tales to relate. Last fall, while in London for a party celebrating Robin Walker's retirement from De Beers, my wallet was stolen. Ian Macgregor, the manager of Durrants hotel in central London, stopped everything he was doing to help me call my bank and credit card companies. He also lent me money for cab fare to De Beers and the American Express office. Durrants' beautifully appointed rooms and reasonable prices already had made me a regular customer; now I am totally hooked. American Express did everything its TV commercials promise—within a half-hour they'd canceled my card and arranged for a new one and a cash advance. By contrast, AT&T gave me heaps of trouble about freezing my MasterCard. I understand the need for securit

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