Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just Ask

As my brother, Horn, and I walked down Austin’s South Congress Avenue we stumbled over to the Home Slice Pizzeria. The Margherita pizza at Home Slice is delicious, extremely large, and the ingredients are fresh. After consuming our slices we now craved dessert in the heat and after scoping out our options decided to go for yogurt.

I got tart yogurt with fruity pebbles and I believe Horn got green tea yogurt with blueberries. Both were exceptionally delicious. After we were done I threw away my cup wishing I had gotten a larger size. Horn said, “Man that was good, I want some more.” Assuming he was going to buy some more Horn walked up and the following interaction took place:

“Can I have some more yogurt?”

“Ya for $3.50”

“Ooooo I wanted some more for free”

“Tell you what, I’ll give you a refill for a $1.50”

“But I only have large bills and don’t want to break them.”

She then proceeded to fill up his entire cup with more yogurt and toppings, AND they had a great conversation about her business (she ended up being a co-owner). She left the interaction feeling good, wished us well, and urged us to come back. As we walked away I had an interesting conversation with Horn. He mentioned that he does this with a very high success rate whenever he wants some more of something. I was perplexed. It’s not what I would consider culturally normal and I frankly never considered doing it, but I mean why not.

I then relayed the story to Nick later that night at Mother’s and he talked briefly about course on negotiation he participated in. Essentially people are usually willing to give you something rather than not because it makes them feel good. The individual feels as if they have done a good deed. People inherently want to say yes. Nick then told us how his dad saved him $600 on moving expenses by continually calling and asking for a price reduction. While this is more haggling then just asking the savings were $600 on a $1500 quote. Apparently the negotiation was over a 2 week period where he called every couple of days. Is it worth 40% off? Heck yes. After our discussions I decided that given the next opportunity I would just ask and see what happens.

This Sunday right before church Brandy and I split what is becoming one of our classic meals fish tacos with chips and guac from mission burrito. We poured through the guacamole and wanted more. Do I dare try? Why not what did I have to lose? I walked up to the guy and asked him if I could have some more. He then proceeded to refill my entire container. He said, “only this once” as he finished and smirked. Either way it worked, I was amazed. I just assumed most people would say no, but now I believe the opposite is true.

What I find interesting is that the people who give the free stuff feel better about themselves because they are “helping you out”. They feel as if they have done a good deed. So essentially it’s a win-win. When we challenge societal norms often times the outcomes will completely surprise us. It makes me think about what else I have unknowingly been programmed to believe is in fact not true?

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