I was sampling at Zabar's today and was happy to see a familiar face - Seth Godin. Seth and I know each other from GEL, Yahoo! and other creative events. (Seth has mentioned sweetriot before too. Thanks, Seth!)
I met Seth's very cute son, and then Seth asked, are you ok here with the crowds? (Zabars can be busy even borderline nuts on a weekend). I said, yes, it's important to be with our customers.
Why, you may ask? How else do we know how people really think, feel, react, to our product, without going out there to talk to them? Hanging out in stores is one of the best ways to find out. Nevertheless, Seth gets it and of course understood.
Kudos to him for being a great advocate of customer relationships and authentic marketing. Business doesn't work without it.