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A customer-service miracle shows America at its best

Amid all the talk about America in decline, we must not forget our strengths.

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Reports of America’s decline and China’s rise abound today. As a longtime China hand, I admire Beijing’s amazing accomplishments and sometimes fret about America’s ability to meet the challenges China’s emergence poses. 

I’m also reminded, sometimes at odd moments, of our nation’s strengths, some of which go unremarked. They’re real – and we must not take them for granted.

A recent adventure in an airport lounge brought some of America’s best assets to mind.

I spend a lot of time on planes. I’m obsessive about my favorite luggage, particularly the “wheelie” suitcase that’s my savior from the purgatory of baggage claim.

Traveling to Taiwan earlier this year, I had checked my bag instead of taking it on board. On arrival, its mangled handle looked like limp spaghetti. The airline didn’t “cover handles.”

So I took a cab to a Costco (the US-based warehouse chain) outside Taipei and bought, for a reasonable US price, a new roll-aboard.

I was instantly smitten. One of its most beguiling features was the nifty strap, with its unique clip-in fitting, for hooking a small extra bag or a computer to the wheelie.

Three months later, on some other flight, I lost the strap. A web search revealed no sign of the bag, or its “parts,” and I resigned myself to a dreary future of strapless juggling.

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