Maybe not the world. But is it worth annoying a customer for $.50?
Is waiving $.50 (for a cup of ice in this case) worth creating a neutral experience for a customer, a forgettable experience, ie. Who knows? Maybe, they're tell their friends...hey, they didn't charge me $.50 for ice. (Sounds absurd. But that's how low the bar's gettin' these days. Whoo! I was wowed. They didn't charge for ice...)
It's a tossup really. But the worst is it's a forgettable experience. It's one that won't interfere with them coming back.
But is it worth a bad experience? Is it worth annoying your customer over $.50. Collect it (for ...ICE!) and you can be very sure that's a negative experience you've created. For $.50. For ice. A cup of ice. For the power of collecting $.50...for ICE...you can rest assured that customer will tell a lot of people about it.
This company charged $.50 for a cup of ice. They would have charged it...but instead, they just didn't give the cup of ice to the customer. Instead, they gave him hot tea. He wanted iced tea, but didn't want to pay $.50 for the ice. The company said ok. And they gave him...hot tea.
The company was Whole Foods.
The Customer was Seth. Seth Godin.
Now Seth gets to play by all the same rules at Whole Foods. The rules were either charge the customer $.50 for ice or give 'em hot tea. ( Clever rules. Takes the same amount of time to prepare hot tea as add ice...) They didn't single him out. He's just another schmo in NYC paying the freight at WF.
Only he's not.
And there's the wow factor for companies (for those who get it). Make it a point to wow everyone. You never know who's knocking on your door. ( Most often, the truly influentials never announce themselves.) Then when someone with a great big megaphone, a ginormous sneezer of influence, knocks on your door...well, it's just routine to wow 'em.
Seth Godin's tale of caution, along with some great advice.