I’m sure we are all familiar with the phrase “Nice people finish last”. Now, I don’t think that’s always true, as I made clear in last post. You can get free stuff by being kind and helpful. But sometimes, to get things for free or at a discount, you have to get mean.
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Have you ever ordered a meal at a restaurant, and they got things wrong? Your food was undercooked, overcooked, or you got the complete wrong thing? You could just accept that, and eat it anyway. But, if it is at a chain restaurant (like Frankie & Benny’s, Chili’s, etc.), you can probably get something for free out of it. You can have your meal completely paid for, or get the drinks for the table covered. It doesn’t have to be limited to your food being messed up either. I once went to a restaurant, and it took 30 minutes to bring us drinks, and over an hour to take our food order. Needless to say, we got some stuff for free that night. The biggest issue I believe people (especially Brits) have, is that they are afraid to ask. Don’t be afraid to ask, or even demand, that a restaurant gives you a discount or free stuff if they messed up. Trust me, they would rather give you a free burger and have you come back again, than lose you forever as a customer. Besides, what’s the worst that can happen? They say no if you ask for it to be comped?
Other times, it isn’t as easy as saying, you messed up my salad, can you give me a free soda. Sometimes, you should get really angry. This works best when you are dealing with online booking situations. If you book a rental car, and you turn up and they give you a smaller car than you ordered, you can demand a discount. They might try to say no at first, but they will eventually give in. (This rental car situation has happened to me, instead of a discount, I got a free upgrade to an even bigger car!). You can also do this with hotels as well. If your room isn’t cleaned, or you got a smoking room when you requested non-smoking, then ask for money back!You just have to stand your ground.
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If your flight is late, and you miss a connection, then that is definitely grounds to get something out of the airlines. My plane was late into Las Vegas, and I missed the last flight out to Seattle. I had to spend the night in the Vegas airport. So, the airline gave me free first-class seats, and food vouchers to places in the airport. (In a similar situation, an airline put me up for free in a hotel). Another time, an airline charged me twice for a ticket. After calling them, demanding to speak to a manager, then lodging a formal complaint, I got $150 in gift cards to the airline. Airlines and airports are an ideal place to get seat upgrades, free food, free hotels, and some extra air miles.
The key in all those situations, was not taking no for an answer. Companies will always try to just apologize and then brush you to the side if they mess up. Some people will accept that and just complain quietly to their friends. But, I never accept it. I know that companies have budgets set aside to manage screw ups, and employees have a certain amount of leeway to give upgrades, discounts etc. So, if a company messes up, I make them give me things. If they say no at first, I ask to speak to their boss. If they say no, I threaten to write a bad review for them online. (A bad review can mean a lot of lost business for a company, especially if there is a good human-interest story attached to it). Usually, after I refuse to back down, I get stuff for free. And I never feel guilty or like a bully. The companies messed up, they need to correct their error. Plus, I’m poor so I never feel bad about getting something for free.