Yet another anecdote about the power of (respectful) stubbornness.
On Friday, I felt well enough to make a trip over to Walgreen’s, where there were some sale items I wanted to pick up. One of the main attractions, though, was a buy-one-get-one-50%-off sale. (I call it BOGO50, for short.)
Basically, when I went to the register, I had three BOGO50 items — but I had a coupon wherein one was free with purchase of the other. Of course, when it rang up, the 50 percent came off that free item. Which was, of course, the cheapest.
I explained to the cashier — who, I should point out, was wonderfully polite throughout the transaction — that the 50 percent needed to be applied to the other two items only. She had to call a manager over.
He immediately tried to explain that I was getting the 50 percent off credited to the receipt, so I was still saving money. Uh, no. I’m not taking a $3.50 credit over a $10 credit. No way.
I politely pointed out that the two more items were rung up first, and so the 50 percent off should have come off one of those.
Ah, he said, but the computer will always take the 50 percent off the least expensive item. It’s automatic, and that’s how the sale works.
Honestly, I almost just quit then. I’m not good at confrontation, even polite versions — at least, with men. It’s an issue from childhood, no need to get into it here. Point is, I very nearly balked. But then I realized that an extra sentence or two was going to take a matter of seconds. Might as well try it.
So I smiled politely, but firmly, and looked the manager in the eye. I pointed out to him that the deal was that you get 50 percent off when you buy two participating items. And I wasn’t buying the third item — it was coming free with purchase. So the 50 percent needed to come off the item I was buying, not the one I was getting thrown in for free.
It was a total Hail Mary. I was, to use the vernacular, talking out of my ass. But it worked. I have no idea if he actually bought my argument, was afraid of making a customer unhappy or was just sick of the whole subject. And I don’t particularly care. Point is, I got $10 off my purchase instead of $3.50.
Just another reminder that it never hurts to ask. And, if asking doesn’t get you the answer you want, it can be downright beneficial to (politely) insist.