Friday, April 30, 2010

The Power of Asking for a Discount

photo credit: Saving Money Smarts

Sometimes I think I embarrass my husband when I ask for an additional discount. I guess that is just my tightwad nature kicking in and receiving additional 10% off my purchases brings me joy. As a child I was always encouraged by my family to ask questions. My mom would tell me that if I do not ask, I would never know the answer. I still hold on to her teaching principles not only at work or at school, but also when I want to know if I can receive an additional discount.

You would be surprised how many business are willing to give you a price cut. For example, not too long ago I was shopping with my mother in law. I was not very familiar with the store so I quickly scanned for a clearance section. I found one and started to look through marked down items. Before too long I noticed a cute business jacket that would look great with my black pants. I looked at the price and was shocked when I saw that original price was $79.99. I then saw a marked down price of $19.95, but the deal got sweeter, because the sign on the clothes rack said take additional 50% off. This brought the price down to about $10. I was so excited and decided that I was going to buy this cute jacket, especially when I tried it on and it fit me perfect.

I marched to the cashier to check out, when I noticed that on the inside of the jacket there was several spots from the red marker that a sales person used to marked down the price. Apparently when the sales person marked down the price, he or she did not let the tag dry. However, I did not care about the spots since they were barely noticeable plus when I would wear the jacket no one would see them anyways. The tightwad that I am, I decided to point out the damage to the cashier and ask if she can give me additional discount. She called her manager and he willingly gave me 20% off bringing my total to mere $8 plus tax. I was not only happy about buying my beautiful jacket, but also about saving $70 dollars!

This saving principle can be applied not only on clothes but on anything that you would like. As I mentioned before, I ask for discounts anywhere I go, even at the hotels. My husband and I traveled to Atlanta for a doctor’s visit. I was so thrilled when I told my husband that we are going to stay at a hotel and only pay $0.01 cents for it. That is right; we only paid a penny for our stay (no taxes) because that particular hotel had a hot promotion going on that month. My excitement quickly dwindled, when I learned that I had to go for a follow up visit the next morning. Since we were not prepared to stay another night, we had to find a hotel and pay a full price for the room. After dinner we started to search for a hotel that would be close to the doctor’s office. If you are familiar with Atlanta, hotels are located on every corner. We chose a hotel, parked our car, grabbed our bags and went in to check the rates. This is how the conversation with customer service clerk (CSC) went.

Daniel: “Do you have available room for tonight?”
CSC: “We have one room with two beds for $119.”
Me (thinking): “I am going to have a heart attack. This is one expensive room compared to our penny room we stayed in last night”.
Me: “Do you have a discount?”
CSC: “Do you have AAA?”
Me: “No, but I can find some one with it!”
CSC (smiling): “Ok, then you have AAA.”
Me (playing along): “Oh, yeah we love it.”
CSC: “How long have you had it?”
Me: “About two weeks.”
CSC: “Your total $107 dollars.”

Although we only saved $12 dollars, we were happy to stay close to our doctor’s office to avoid morning traffic and enjoy free breakfast. So you may think that $12 is not much, but when I became a tightwad my saving mentality changed. By saving $1 dollar here and $12 dollars there the total savings add up to substantial amount in a course of one year. So, my friends, next time you are shopping or reserving a hotel room, do not underestimate the power of simply asking for a discount. You never know how much you can save until you ask.

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