Lately I find myself fighting the urge to dine out. I love to cook, but I relish the time involved in creating ingredients from scratch, and I don’t often find myself home on a weeknight much before 8 p.m. The reason I’ve been resisting the tempting lure of restaurants is purely economical. While I sure enjoy a cheap meal, I also really enjoy the not-so-cheap kind. It’s become a rather expensive habit.

My moral quandary is centered on the experience of it all. Ah, yes, that abstract expression of individuality, which we’ve spent a whole lot of time talking about here at SCN [see our cover story on experiential design firms you should know]. I absolutely love the experience of eating a great meal out—be it in a unique or comforting setting. From the quaint café at the yoga studio in Amsterdam to the cozy British pub where Churchill’s speeches filter out through the washroom audio zone, to the trendy Brooklyn farm-to-table locavore joint, and of course, the fine dining room bedecked in modernist art—I dearly love them all. Dining out has become a major hobby of mine. I’m quite good at it!

While I often chide myself for overspending, or spending at all, the fact is that if and when that experience delivers, the dollar amount becomes meaningless. The positive feeling I leave instilled with, and in turn extend to those around me, is truly priceless.

Surely, most everyone has had this feeling at a restaurant, or on a great vacation, or at a spa, or at a sporting event—at any number of other places. Now, how many of you think about that “happy place” when tackling a new project? Even when it seems like your client cares more about line item prices, remember that if you sincerely deliver an exceptional experience, the price tag is rendered inconsequential.

And here’s the point in the handwritten draft of this letter where my thoughts literally trail off mid-sentence. Dinner was served; priorities took over. My ride was almost there, and I had donuts to order to spread the good spirit around.