What makes a good massage?

As I think I mentioned earlier I have been feeling slightly under the weather lately, the Dr suspects some thyroid issues and I also have a "blockage" or mass of some sorts in my abdomen I'm having checked out this week. However Sunday morning I woke miserable, so my wonderful husband called in a last minute appointment at the massage clinic to see if I could get some ab work done and get some relief. My usual therapists were unavailable as expected so they booked me in with a new girl who was as they claimed of similar ability. Oh how wrong they were.

I can't tell if im becoming a massage snob because I know what is now involved in giving a good massage, or that I've been getting massage treatment for so long now, that I'm getting picky about what I do and don't like.
I do know as a therapist though, I would rather a client tell me what they want or what they do or don't like, than find out they have left the session feeling unfulfilled.
I find myself, for some strange reason feeling sad about the clients who have a bad experience while being massaged and wish I could do everything in my power to make right by them.

I hope she won't mind me retelling her story, but the most recent jaw dropping thing I heard about a therapist was from my dear friend Cate. Having gone through the regular "hi how do you do, I'm your therapist blah blah" she was left to her own devices. Having previously talked to me before about her experiences being massages, sinus issues etc I told her that it was ok to ask the therapist if she could start the massage face up. When the therapist returned to the room her response was "oh no you can't start laying on your back, that will mess me up and throw me off!".
Not to also forget the constant yapping about her nieces/nephews and her need to stop the massage so she could use her hands to talk.

It's a shame i Iive so far away from Cate I really would like to help her get the stuff she asks for.

But it has me asking myself, are other schools really letting therapists into the wild who know one routine and one routine only?
Surely one of the most important tools in our toolbox is to be able to customize the massage to our clients needs?

Then there is my own massage, I mentioned that I had some issues in my abdomen and was hoping I could have some work done to try and help releive the discomfort, and then just a general full body relaxation massage to help me relax.
Aparently this meant that my thighs and upper arms were not going to get any attention, but worst of all I had to stop the therapist when she started my Ab work because for some strange reason she wanted to work counter-clockwise.
If I wasn't "backed up" before then, I am now ;)

I don't want to be so judgemental when being worked on by other therapists, but is it wrong for me to expect a bit more than what appears to be out there right now?

A good massage to me consists of the following things:

The therapist listening to my request and communicating (re:pressure etc) as needed.

A certain "flow" to exist during the massage, I don't enjoy stopping and starting.

Good technique.

Good timing (to get what I paid for).

What chance does a new client have, who isn't fully aware of what to expect?