I recently went on vacation to New Orleans.
Two experiences stuck out to me:
1. First, a group of street performers gathered a pretty big crowd (maybe 150 people) in the town square. The main hype man was good, really good at what he did. He was getting crowd all excited for the show to come and cracking jokes and everyone was having a good time. Well, the show started and it mostly sucked. It was four lean, buff dancers and each of them had an act. The first did some backflips. The second was a breakdancer. The third was an even better breackdancer. The fourth, the best breakdancer. The thing is, each dancer only did about 20-30 seconds of dancing. The other 58 minutes of the show was the hype man telling jokes and soliciting donations. And boy, this dude milked the crowd for every last penny.
"Ladies and gentlemen. We are out here working to put a smile on your face, and that's our income! If you don't give to us, magic like this can't happen. So we are asking you to give us $20 today."
Anyways, I could go on and on here, but what I'm getting at is: "I saw the crowd give what I'd estimate at over $1000 to this group for their shitty performance, and each person was happy to do it. In fact, the hype-man started a contest to see which tourist/country would give the most and the crowd ate it up.
What I learned: the product can be less than dazzling if you give buyers a good reason to buy. In this case, they were selling "donate because you're supporting hard-working local artists."
2. We had dinner at one of the highest-rated restaurants in and around New Orleans. Multiple friends of ours recommended the place and it had stellar online reviews. So we went and... it was in this quiet, run-down (yet charming) part of town in an old house. You walk in and it feels like you're walking into some dusty, dimly-lit hardward store. You order some cheese and wine and head out to the back yard. It's like a regular backyard of some house, but they've got lights and tables and plastic chairs set up and a stage where they're playing jazz music. And everyone is having an awesome time, the food is incredible, and the ambiance is cozy and inviting.
What I learned: this place had built a welcoming atmosphere and a community of like-minded people. It was casual and relaxing—people enjoyed being there. There were 1,000 other restaurants that were fancier, but this place had a welcoming vibe going that drew in the crowds.