Just Ask

A few days ago, I walked into the bookstore that is just downstairs from one of my clients and asked the shop owner, "What have you read recently that you just loved?" I walked away with a book I know will make a great Mothers Day present for my wife, the first book of a series that sounds fantastic, and a half dozen other recommendations for future purchases.
Unsurprisingly, walking into a bookstore and asking the shopkeeper, "What do you just love?" Will put good books into your hands. "I love [name of book/genre/subject], what do you recommend?" does the same. This works in libraries too. Also, record stores. I’ve even seen it work in restaurants.
The other day, when out to lunch, I asked the server what the "Yum Yum" sauce on one of their specials tasted like. He attempted to describe it and I got the general idea but, without my asking, he went a step further and brought out a small sample of it. He knew that the best answer he could give was to let the sauce speak for itself. I didn’t end up getting the dish but I likely will next time (the sauce was good).
The point being that, in general, at many independent establishments the people who are there are experts at what they have, what’s good, and what you’ll likely enjoy. They love being asked for their opinion and a surprisingly few amount of people do so. So, take a chance next time you’re in one and ask questions. My bet is that you’ll be happy you did.