Over the years we have probably saved thousands of dollars by asking questions. I don’t do this daily or even weekly, but just occasionally. When the opportunity presents itself, asking a simple question can generate great savings. Allow me demonstrate with 3 examples which led to the savings of anywhere from a couple of dollars on a burger to hundreds of dollars at a hotel.
Asking Questions at a Home Improvement Store
Recently I was at Lowe’s looking at their clearance table. They had evidently decided to quit stocking a lot of their items for pets. One item peaked my interest, a sonic bark control device. With a very vocal German Shepherd as a neighbor I was interested in purchasing such an item. Yet no price was on the box. When an associate walked by I asked him what might be the price. He scanned the barcode and said it was $50.00. I said that must be the retail price, but this is on the clearance table. He walked away to check on what might be the price. After a bit I found him at the front counter; evidently he had become sidetracked. I asked again about the price and he asked someone standing nearby who said price it at $10.00. So 80% off retail, all because I asked a question a couple of times. It was well worth asking.
Asking Questions with Hotel Management
Another time we spent a few nights at a hotel in Midland, Texas. This was during the height of the recent oil boom. The hotel prices were high and the service was poor. After our experience at this particular hotel I received an email from the hotel asking for feedback, to which I replied. I empathized with their predicament as I knew that employees with greater skill tended to gravitate to the oil field so there were staffing issues. But given the high prices charged I did expect better service. There was such a demand for employees that oil companies were temporarily housing out-of-town employees at local hotels with many staying at our hotel. That is fine except that many of these guys temporarily living in Midland, without family, tended to stay out by the pool drinking until mid-morning, even though the pool was supposed to close at 10. Our bedroom window was on the 2nd story, immediately above the pool, so sleep was lacking. During our stay I tried to get assistance at the service desk only to find the attendant asleep in a back room. When we took our boys out by the pool there were a lot of beer bottles and bottle caps. I could go on, but there were a lot of problems at a hotel that is typically a fairly nice hotel chain.
After our stay I wrote a note to the management. I didn’t use extreme language or attack anyone’s motives. I simply gave details concerning our experience, empathized with the difficulty management must have, and then stated that given our experience I felt that we were charged 40% more than the stay was worth, for which I requested a refund. To my surprise I received a response from the management thanking me for bringing to their attention a number of items that needed to be addressed. Likewise 40% of the cost incurred was refunded to my credit card. By taking about 15 to 20 minutes to compose an email and ask for a refund, we received nearly $300.
Asking Questions at a Restaurant
A local restaurant has great burgers. For the initial year or two of the business’ existence, they would give a $2 discount on their burgers every Monday. There was always signage on the tables promoting the special deal. My sons and I ate there one day and while there was no signage I ordered a burger and asked if there was still the $2 discount. The waitress said they no longer promoted it but would provide the discount to anyone who asked. So, needless to say, anytime we’d eat there on a Monday, I would ask about the $2 discount and receive it.
So here are 3 examples of how asking questions can save you money. The savings ranged from a couple of dollars to hundreds of dollars. But none of these savings would have occurred without simply asking questions.
Chris Potter, 3D Question Mark via via Flickr cc License – 1/4/2016 with no changes