The Diablog™

Get off my lawn, you snot-nosed hooligans!

Running a business is hard. Sometimes you feel like kicking and screaming. Resist the temptation. Succeeding in business means never having a bad day.

I have a great example of bad attitude. My wife and I planned a quick getaway to what we believed was a top-tier boutique hotel. The place was filled with quaint charm and beautiful antiques. As soon as we were in our room, my wife went into the bathroom to wash her hands before dinner. The door closed behind her, and when it did, something in the lockset got stuck. When she tried to open the door, the doorknob would not turn. She was trapped in the bathroom.

I reported the issue to the front desk attendant. She immediately sent a member of the staff to help. They weren't very handy, and they didn't bring any tools. They said they were going to go get the chef, who is apparently the handiest person in the hotel. The chef came to help, packing a few hand tools. Before he much chance to attempt a rescue, the owner/manager of the hotel came in. She yelled at the chef (right in front of me) for not being in the kitchen and made him leave. She left me alone to free my wife with only the chef's screwdriver. It took me over an hour. I delivered the mangled antique lockset in a wastebasket to the front desk.

I would rather stick a fork in my eye than stay at Hotel St. Germain again, and I never hesitate to tell my friends this story.

Here's an example of a remarkably different attitude. I have a friend that writes a great food blog (check it out: He recently visited a restaurant owned by renowned chef Stephan Pyles. At the end of his evening at this restaurant, he discovered that he had two dead batteries - his car and his iPhone. Here is what he wrote about the experience: "Your iPhone is dead - you find that your car battery is dead - you don't know anyone's phone number (technology...) - It's 11:00. Turns out the man himself + the Exec Chef + the Exec Sous make for a fine auto club. Thanks Stephan, Matt and Brad! Now THAT's service."

I don't know the hotel owner/manager who yelled at the chef and left my wife trapped in the bathroom. She might be a warm, gracious person most of the time, and we caught her on a bad day. But that bad day will haunt her and her business permanently. On the other hand, my friend's experience at Stephan Pyles makes me want to go there, knowing that it's run by good people.

The next time you feel like venting your frustrations, consider the long-term effect it will have on your business. Bad days are not free.