Kingston-upon-Thames Starbucks, 17 July 2009, 9.30am. The following conversation takes place:
Me: One black Cafe Americano please
Starbucks Employee: Is that black or white
Me: Er, black please
(30 seconds pass)
Starbucks employee: Do you want the milk cold or heated?
Me: No milk please - black.
Two minutes later I am enjoying a steaming hot mug of white coffee. And left to muse on the prospects facing the UK economy, post recession. If we can no longer make money from Ponzi-style financial services "products" - and we have long forgotten how to manufacture anything - our only salvation lies in our continued ability to sell solutions to each other for problems we didn't realise we had.
If the service economy really is to ride to the rescue, I hope my experience today is not an omen of bad times ahead. Or else I should set up a consultancy that teaches listening skills to the service sector.
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