Last week I was in Las Vegas at a health care finance convention. I actually had a good time for once, and I know it had more to do with my mental outlook than anything else.

I’ve gone to this particular conference 10 of the last 12 years, and I just haven’t been feeling it after the first two. Still, I got to meet someone new every year, although it rarely translated into anything new.

However, on this particular trip I felt like I learned something. No, not from the conference, but from the people working at the casino. Let’s talk about it for a minute.

The Wynn is a different casino/hotel than what I’m used to experiencing from Vegas. I’ve been twice before, but this time I stayed in a luxury hotel. You could tell this was definitely new Vegas; things were expensive and lavish throughout. There were stores where the cheapest thing started at close to $10,000; ouch!

I can say that my start to being in the hotel wasn’t great. They didn’t have a room ready for me so I had to wait more than 4 hours before they got something for me to remove what my wife and I call “travel stink”; if you’ve flown across the country in a plane you know what I speak of. I was kind of miserable to say the least. Yet I tried making the best of it. I went to eat, walked around a bit, and sat down to play some poker.

Eventually I got a call saying there was a room ready for me. However, I then found myself waiting 25 minutes to get everything done that needed to be done, including my bags, which was the last thing to come. And I had to be in the room for all of it; ugh.

The first thing that happened is that there was this guy that worked at the hotel going into my room when I got there. He said he was told a light was out. He found out which one, fixed it, and I tipped him $5. He smiled big, then decided to show me how all the buttons worked, since you run all the electrical things, including drapes, from the panel I’m showing here. Then he mentioned some other things to me. I thanked him and he left.

The next guy that showed up came because there was no remote control in the room for some reason. He comes in, tries to get it to work, then determines there’s something wrong with the TV. He said he was going to get a maintenance guy for me. I gave him $5, and he thanked me and said he was going to make sure I was the first guy on the list. I then mentioned the snacks tray, where you paid not only if you opened anything but if you even took it out to look at it closely and it was gone for more than 30 seconds. I said it was pretty steep when all I wanted was some water. He said he’d take care of me, and within 2 minutes he’d brought me 6 bottles of water; nice!

The next person to show up was the guy working on the TV. I had my $5 ready for him up front and while he was working on it, we talked about how he’d like to go into business for himself one day, and since that’s what I do I figured I could maybe give him some pointers that I wish I’d heard when I went out on my own. I had hooked up my laptop and was trying to get everything working, but the batteries on my mouse had given out. He stopped and went to get me batteries, and gave me 3 boxed of double-A’s and one triple-A batteries; sweet!

The last guy that showed up was the guy bringing my bags; finally! He was friendly but, truthfully, I now had to go to the bathroom and really wanted to wash some funk off. Yet, once I tipped him his $5, he wanted to show me even more stuff with the room, which I really didn’t want until he showed me a couple of things I realized I might be able to use later.

I thought about it later on because that’s what I do. I realized that I gave out $20 in my room in less than 30 minutes. But I got 6 bottles of water, 4 boxes of batteries, and a lot of information and courtesy. Monetarily the water and batteries cost more than $20, so I made out there. But the information saved me possibly hours of confusion later on. How can one judge the cost of efficiency?

What does it cost to get that extra mile? In my case it cost $20, but I got way more than I had bargained for. Every industry or business will be different; it doesn’t always take money. Sometimes it just takes being nice; I’ll follow up with that story a little bit later. But think about it; what do you think you could get from someone by giving them a little more as well?
 

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