Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

“But You Don’t Even Drink Coffee!”

“But you don’t even drink coffee!” I exclaimed to AdventureMan as he utilized the miracle of modern technology to pick up some shares of Starbucks, which had plunged to unbelievable depths.

“No, but they have shown they are quick on their feet,” he responded, clicking away on his online-investing account. “I like the way they cut their losses quickly, and they are always looking for new twists to keep their customer base coming back.”

We have very few investments in individual stocks; most of our money is in funds. When we do invest in individual stocks, we choose stocks we have a personal interest in, like, for me, Amazon. I read books. I buy books. It makes sense to me.

If you have ever studied decision making, you learn that people make decisions – on a personal level, on a financial level, on a national level – based on irrational criteria. We can put together a matrix, we can put together a decision-making process, we can get all the pros and cons – and when the decision has to be made, other factors come into play.

The perfect suitor, good family, good character, hard working and handsome might be rejected because you don’t like his cologne.

The perfect candidate for the job, well qualified, having a magnetic personality, a great track record – may be rejected because the manager has an unidentified fear that the candidate could outshine him/her.

Nations go to war for irrational reasons. We understand rational processes – and then we bypass them.

We have a mental list of how we will rationally make a decision – and then we have the primitive brain undermining our rational choices.

Or that is how I see it.

The truth as I see it is that I am happy he bought shares in Starbucks because it is a Seattle company. I love going into Starbucks, seeing people sitting around drinking coffee, tutoring students, old folks passing the time, couples getting to know one another – on a cold, rainy day in Seattle, a cup of Starbucks tastes great. I vote for Starbucks for emotional reasons.

I have my favorites, and you never see them here in Kuwait. At Thanksgiving / Christmas, they have a Gingerbread Latte, and they have a Peppermint Mocha. I adore them.

With Ramadan coming up, they should put together a Ramadan cup of coffee, for after Ifthar, don’t you think? Maybe a little cardomon in it, maybe a little cinnamon?

July 12, 2008 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Hot drinks, Living Conditions, Seattle | , , , , | 9 Comments

Al Shamal Travel

AdventureMan called his contact at Al Shamal Travel about an upcoming trip:

“Mr. Flan, I have our itinerary, is everything still on schedule?”

“Yes, Mr. AdventureMan, I just checked on it this morning. You are booked all the way through, all the flights are exactly as shown on your schedule. I booked your seats on all the legs and I think you will be very happy. Just show them your itinerary; the reservation number is on it.”

(Sigh of pure pleasure)

Real service, CUSTOMER service. So rare that when it happens, we notice it.

July 12, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Community, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Relationships, Travel | 10 Comments