Asking Is Always the Best Solution

This post was written by Lauren, my fiancee. It turns out I’ve taught her a thing or two!

I recently drove 12 hours from Maryland to Chicago for my roommate’s wedding. Upon our arrival a friend and I were offered an extra hotel courtesy of the groom’s parents. We sleepily crawled into the comfortable beds after a very long drive and desperately scrambled to turn on our computers and soothe our Internet withdrawal symptoms.

Click: computer on. Click: FireFox loading. Click: Facebook… intercepted by the hotel’s Internet access fee page. $12.95 for 24 hour Internet use. WHAT?! Outrageous! All I needed was an hour to check my Facebook and email, and maybe play a couple rounds of Bejeweled (it’s very addicting). It wasn’t worth the $13, but I did want it pretty badly, so I started thinking of other possibilities to connect to the Internet.

Ever since I met my Daniel almost 3 years ago, he’s always encouraged me to bargain and haggle, to get the experience. I consider him an expert in getting discounts, but for some reason he never wants to negotiate for me, giving me the ‘you’ll never learn if you never try’ excuse. LAME!

Without Internet, finding ways to get a discount were few and far between. My first move was calling Daniel to see if he could find any complimentary access codes online for this hotel. Nothing came up, but he told me to try calling the front desk and ask them for a free code. He also told me to sound as sappy as possible, about how I love the hotel, but after a 12 hour trip, I just want the Internet for a little so maybe they could help me out. That option seemed completely ridiculous, asking for a free service when clearly they want you to pay!

Despite my shyness and fear of being turned down I made the call. It turned out that my fear of no Internet trumped my fear of rejection. At least I didn’t have to go down and talk to the guy in person:

Guy at Front Desk: “Hello, this is the front desk”
Me: “Hi, I just checked into the hotel a few minutes ago and I only need the Internet for an hour tonight and am checking out early in the morning. Would it be possible to get a complimentary access code so that I didn’t have to pay $13 for one hour?”
Guy at Front Desk: “Sure no problem, just sign in and we will remove the cost from your bill.”

WHAT?! It worked? No long arguments, no threatening to check out immediately, no asking for a manager? Amazing. Who would have thought that all I had to do was ask for free Internet in order to get it (I feel like I’ve tried that with Comcast before and failed miserably)! The worst case scenario of that story the man at the front desk would have gently declined and explained it was not a possibility.

Moral of the story: Always ask because the answer is always no to a question you never ask!

14 Responses to Asking Is Always the Best Solution

  1. Money Beagle says:

    Now the logical follow up question from a self-professed cynic is “Did they actually take the charge off?”

  2. MJ says:

    Wow! I worked at both a high end hotel and a nice resort and we always had guests complaining about our internet fees and parking fees – with good reason, the fees are ridiculous and just make people feel nickel and dimed because they could pay less down the street and get complimentary parking, internet and breakfast – but we always just had to say that was our policy (without saying the word policy because that apparently sets people off).

    In an industry all about customer service, we did usually try to always say yes, but when it came down to money, I’ve not seen something go over that easy! Good for you for asking!

  3. krantcents says:

    Asking a simple question is the beginning of a negotiation. I do it all the time and it works. It helps if you are pleasant and smile.

    • Lbergs says:

      @krantcents, Yes! Smiling and being polite is key in these situations! Smiling gets you anything you want… or maybe it’s that smiling if you’re a GIRL gets you anything you want :-)

  4. Jim Dasher says:

    Enjoyed!

    I seem to have a similar problem. I will usually ask the question or confront the task at hand (eventually) but I will fret about the possible answer or result, instead of just gettin’ to it.

    Then after the fact, I realize, regardless as to what the outcome may be, I have just wasted my own time along with suffering through a small amount of low level, but typically, unnecessary frustration.

    I’m sure we all have a few of these unproductive little foibles to deal with. Although, it usually works out that leaning to confront “them” head-on is the best approach. And in doing so, we won’t have the additional problem of dealing with the anxiety caused by our own procrastination!

    Ain’t life just a bowl full of cherries!

  5. Darwin's Money says:

    Awesome on two fronts! first, nice score on the free service. But next, score on posting on Daniel’s blog! I’ve tried to get my wife into the blogging thing (she’s an incredible teacher and writer), but no luck. she’d be great but just isn’t into it. So congrats and hopefully you keep posting!

  6. Thanks for the great reminder that asking questions is ok. I must admit I don’t handle being asked a question very well sometimes. I end up on the defense. I really need to quit that out. I do ask a lot of questions though which is good. I don’t assume anything.

  7. That is awesome! It always pays to just ask. Usually there is so much more than a clerk can do, but you got to ask!

  8. Glen Craig says:

    It’s a smart move these days. Slowly companies are starting to realize how powerful social media is and the need for better customer service (else a customer tell the world on FB or Twitter).

    For the cost of internet, which is negligible for them, they get the goodwill from you the next time you think of using them. Rather than thinking “those are those guys that nickel and dimed me” you think “those are the guys that took care of me.”

    Kudos for you for asking.

  9. It never hurts to ask, and this is further proof.

  10. Super Frugalette says:

    I love that internet idea. I never considered it.