A Story of Steak and Customer Service

by Kevin on January 5, 2010

Last Saturday my wife and I began the celebration of our wedding anniversary. The actual anniversary date isn’t until the middle of this week and we made plans for this weekend and next weekend to celebrate.

We made a reservation with the same restaurant I mentioned in The Steak Dilemma.

They were running a promotion in November and December: if you bought a $100 gift card by December 31st they would give you a $20 promotional card to use in the month of January. Since we have made this meal our annual tradition and the bill comes to around $120 with the tip we went ahead and picked up the gift card.

We ended up buying the gift card on our way back in to town from visiting our families for Christmas. We pulled into the parking lot more than six hours from when we first got into the car. The car is packed full of stuff and our dog Maggie is in the backseat. I ran in, bought the gift card, made the reservation, and ran back out to the car.

Needless to say we were pretty tired and we had a lot to unpack when we got home.

One problem.

We lost the $20 promotional card and the receipt. Of course we didn’t think to look for them until about an hour before our reservation tonight.

The discovery that we had misplaced this “free” extra money resulted in this expression on my face:

We scrambled. We looked and looked… couldn’t find the gift card.

I said a few choice words under my breath, took a deep breath, and resigned myself to the loss.

It Never Hurts to Ask

I told you how to negotiate on Craigslist.

I showed you how we saved $500 on our refinancing costs by negotiating.

I saved $146 by negotiating with our television service provider.

Bottom line: it never hurts to ask for a discount or some other “help” from a business.

As we walked into the restaurant and I gave them our name for the reservation I mentioned the missing $20 discount card. The Maître d’ said he would see what he could do, and that was that.

We continued to enjoy our meal. During the middle of stuffing my face full of amazing steak a waiter stopped by, slipped me the card, and said it was compliments of the Maître d’.

A couple of words… a simple question… saved us $20. I also give credit to the restaurant — one would expect great customer service from a high end restaurant, but they could have just as easily said “Sorry, you lost the card. Your loss.”

Are you still afraid to negotiate? Still afraid to ask? Why?

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