I am flying while I write this. Luckily, I was upgraded on this flight and am currently being offered snacks and drinks and food and blankets and pillows. And smiles.
Not so for my friends (and myself most often) back in economy.
Now, I bitch and moan a lot about airlines, but the "cash grab" they have instituted is pervasive throughout the entire travel economy. I just got back from a very fine stay at San Francisco's InterContinental Hotel, where I had to lay out $4.50 for a Clif Bar, $9.00 for a bottle of water (didn't; did the tap instead), $34.95 for three days of Internet and so on. God forbid if I even TOUCHED something in the mini-bar; the sensitivity of it's hair-trigger motion detection system would ring up a charge if I even breathed on an item.
Doesn't that make me feel like a responsible adult...
Compare this to a recent stay at Santa Fe's Inn of The Five Graces.
Granted that the per-night charge was rather elevated, but inside my room was a fully-stocked fridge of iced-tea, Perrier, cheese, chocolate and all sorts of other goodies. Take what you please, please. (Never mind the bowl of salsa and chips upon my arrival, and the cookies before bed every night.)
Instead of nickel-and-diming me, they made me "feel" that all this stuff was free, but more-than-recouped it on my inclusive room charge. I don't know what they pocketed, but it has to be way more than the InterContinental, or the Hilton, or the Marriott, or the Doubletree made off me my last six months as I munched on convenience store-bought energy bars and fluids that I schlepped into my room instead .
The lesson here? Being petty gives people the chance--the RIGHT!--to bitch. Being generous, even if it's a hidden generosity, Surprises people, generates a much more positive flow of words about you...and brightens your bottom line in the process.