Author Topic: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?  (Read 9079 times)

jwc082

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Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« on: August 31, 2015, 02:38:12 PM »
What's your experience getting discounts or perks just for being nice?  Do you notice that you catch more flies with honey?

I'm not saying to be nice just so you get a discount - that's manipulative - but instead seeing the results of what you get in exchange for being polite and taking an interest in the people who you transact with.

I've noticed this for years: Just this month, I saved $100 on rent by half-jokingly asking the landlord for a discount, exchanged some cheap hardware for some more expensive at ACE and got the 'wave-off,' and even was offered the use of an airplane hangar (!) as a workspace, all of which I doubt I would be offered if it wasn't for my being polite, talkative, and easygoing to the staff.

The "You Can Negotiate Anything" book by Herb Cohen gives it a name: the Nice Guy discount. 

What's your experience with the Nice Guy discount?

marty998

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2015, 03:19:02 PM »
I was just at my local bottle shop with a coupon for $10 off a 6 pack of beer.

Struck up a conversation with the shop assistant (it was late, he was bored and pissed at dealing with muppets all day)

Said I'll take the last 2, he put the coupon through twice.

12 beers was $44, paid $24.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2015, 03:31:44 PM »
I don't keep tabs, but I pretty much approach all my business a friendly manner, probably too friendly at times, people try to take advantage at times.  Life's too short for the alternative (know some people like that, too).  I remain cordial but do push pretty hard when negotiating on large items like houses and cars, but those are infrequent.   

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2015, 03:43:16 PM »
Yep, not often, but it definitely happens.  Usually with food for me, at places I eat at often enough that they get to know me.  I've had one place tell me I was their favorite customer and would make my food sometimes as soon as I walked in even if there was a line.  I'm not even talkative, too quiet if anything, I just smile easily and genuinely try to be polite.  I worked retail, I know what it's like.  The pizza by the slice place by my work now, it's been a running thing for about a year now that when I go in there I never pay full price.  I'll get a free soda or a free slice.  None of my other coworkers ever get that, and I get it literally every single time (it's always the same lady during lunch), so it's not accidental at this point.  I'm down to going less than once a month now but it still happens.  I almost feel bad for not giving them more business because of it, which is probably what they're going for.

Rufus.T.Firefly

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2015, 03:45:39 PM »
Last year, I was buying flowers and champagne for my wife on the day of our anniversary in the middle of a workday afternoon. The cashiers thought that was so nice they gave me 2 dozen roses.

jfer_rose

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2015, 03:54:11 PM »
There's a segment of "This American Life" featuring a man as he goes around asking retailers for their Good Guy discount. Very amusing:
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/515/good-guys

Jellyfish

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2015, 04:02:32 PM »
I have had good luck with this in high stress situations like airports and car rental lines.  When other travelers are being jerks to the poor people manning the counters, I approach with as calm and pleasant a demeanor as I can.  On vacation in Colorado last week I got a complimentary upgrade on my car rental from the cheapest economy car I had reserved to a Mustang convertible.  There was a very rude customer right next to me who was demanding...something...who was unsuccessful in his request. I never would have paid for that convertible but I really enjoyed it.

2ndTimer

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2015, 04:05:22 PM »
Recently we were checking into a hotel.  They weren't quite ready.  We said, "No problem." and went for a walk.  Came back to discover we had been given a jacuzzi suite. 

MoneyRx

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2015, 04:15:48 PM »
I can think of 2 examples that happened with people I was with. Once at a restaurant, we were given a free appetizer because someone in my group said "thank you" and it was the first time the waiter had heard it all day. The second was at a ribfest, my uncle was just chatting up the cook and asking about the pigs they use, etc. and the guy just gave him a big bottle of seasoning. Some times it pays just to be polite.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2015, 04:21:46 PM »

What's your experience with the Nice Guy discount?

All the time. I call it the "Not being an unreasonable asshole" discount.


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jwc082

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2015, 04:48:06 PM »
Last year, I was buying flowers and champagne for my wife on the day of our anniversary in the middle of a workday afternoon. The cashiers thought that was so nice they gave me 2 dozen roses.

Not only is that awesome, because 2 dozen roses are expensive as all getout, but it's also interesting that they gave them to you for being nice to your wife, not only to them. 

jwc082

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2015, 04:51:48 PM »
I can think of 2 examples that happened with people I was with. Once at a restaurant, we were given a free appetizer because someone in my group said "thank you" and it was the first time the waiter had heard it all day. The second was at a ribfest, my uncle was just chatting up the cook and asking about the pigs they use, etc. and the guy just gave him a big bottle of seasoning. Some times it pays just to be polite.

That's actually very very cool - a Thank You seems so natural, yet I guess other folks didn't seem to agree.



I've heard before that the very best way to get the fastest, highest quality service at a restaurant is to calmly and directly say to the server, "You look busy and like you've had a hectic night, so go ahead and take your time serving me."

jwc082

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2015, 04:55:56 PM »
I have had good luck with this in high stress situations like airports and car rental lines.  When other travelers are being jerks to the poor people manning the counters, I approach with as calm and pleasant a demeanor as I can.  On vacation in Colorado last week I got a complimentary upgrade on my car rental from the cheapest economy car I had reserved to a Mustang convertible.  There was a very rude customer right next to me who was demanding...something...who was unsuccessful in his request. I never would have paid for that convertible but I really enjoyed it.

Awesome!  Reminds me of how on a beach vacation the SO and I got complimentary drinks from a seafood restaurant waitress - who I'd chitchatted with as I normally do - when she said "We made these by mistake and thought you guys might like to have them."  Same idea - we wouldn't have bought them to begin with, but since we had gotten to know her by pleasantly and genuinely asking her the usual icebreaker questions - where's she from, what's she think of this place, menu recommendations, whathaveyou - free drinks on the house, baby.

jwc082

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2015, 05:19:40 PM »
Yep, not often, but it definitely happens.  Usually with food for me, at places I eat at often enough that they get to know me.  I've had one place tell me I was their favorite customer and would make my food sometimes as soon as I walked in even if there was a line.  I'm not even talkative, too quiet if anything, I just smile easily and genuinely try to be polite.  I worked retail, I know what it's like.  The pizza by the slice place by my work now, it's been a running thing for about a year now that when I go in there I never pay full price.  I'll get a free soda or a free slice.  None of my other coworkers ever get that, and I get it literally every single time (it's always the same lady during lunch), so it's not accidental at this point.  I'm down to going less than once a month now but it still happens.  I almost feel bad for not giving them more business because of it, which is probably what they're going for.

Awesome.  Reminds me of when I worked at Domino's in college.  When taking orders over the phone, my teammates and I would always add coupons or find the best deal for pleasant customers, and always without asking.   Rude or demanding customers regularly got charged full menu price, unless they had their own coupons or asked for a specific special.  Customers who were easygoing (or who we thought would tip the best) would sometimes get free pizzas if we had any that were mis-topped.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2015, 05:24:13 PM by jwc082 »

okits

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2015, 06:54:37 PM »
When I had discretion in applying discounts they either went to nice people, people whose purchase I may have made an error on (errors were infrequent), or nasty people if I thought that was the only way they would buy. If you were a jerk-face to me and I didn't have to give you anything, you got nothing.

+1 to always being polite to sales and service people.  I am never tough with them unless faced with gross incompetence.

yourusernamehere

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2015, 07:04:24 PM »

I can think of 2 examples that happened with people I was with. Once at a restaurant, we were given a free appetizer because someone in my group said "thank you" and it was the first time the waiter had heard it all day. The second was at a ribfest, my uncle was just chatting up the cook and asking about the pigs they use, etc. and the guy just gave him a big bottle of seasoning. Some times it pays just to be polite.

That's actually very very cool - a Thank You seems so natural, yet I guess other folks didn't seem to agree.

I didn't get a discount, but I will never forget a few years ago at the grocery checkout I told the cashier "Out of 20, please" and she nearly started crying. She said she hadn't heard "please" or "thank you" in so long that it just overwhelmed her in that moment. I agree that it felt natural, even robotic for me to say it, but on her side it was anything but.

Andrew928

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2015, 07:14:06 PM »
When I go to my gas station and their machines are down only accepting cash they always just let me grab my energy drink and pay them back next time I see them

Paul der Krake

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2015, 07:25:29 PM »
All the time, but it usually doesn't manifest itself in a direct rebate. Instead, they will go out of their way to double check something, point out a better option, or letting me know of something completely unrelated before word gets out to the masses.

Just two weeks ago I had to get a medical exam done for immigration purposes. For the uninitiated, everything that has to do with immigration is bloody miserable. People are in a terrible mood from being jerked around by the paperwork, lines are awful, etc. It makes a trip to the DMV look like a walk in the park. When I get to the little clinic, the desk staff is overwhelmed, and being treated like shit by everyone in the waiting room. They have people who don't understand English too well (which isn't their fault, but it doesn't help), which makes everything so much slower and pisses everyone off even more.

So when it's my turn, I not only have all the forms already filled out and my payment card in hand (unlike the previous dudes who had to scrounge for money for a good 5 minutes), I also apologize for having medical records in 4 different languages and tell them I don't know much about shots but to just let me know if I can help translate in any way. At some point, they ask me whether I've had a specific shot, and I have no clue, if they can't find the record I guess I never received it. They can't find that particular shot record so they decide to add it to the bill and tell me to wait some more until a nurse can administer it. 10 minutes later, the front desk lady informs me that it's not necessary, she had gone out of her way to look up every line of barely readable doctor handwriting into some international database and it turned out that I had indeed received the shot, saving me a cool $60.

Not too bad for smiling a little and bringing a book instead of moaning.




Sailor Sam

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2015, 08:17:16 PM »
Hmmm, I don't often get discounts. I do make a point to look cashiers in the eye and say a sincere thank you when they hand me the receipt. About 1 in 4 interactions, the person behind the counter looks startled and their smile shifts from automatic to real. That always feels pretty nice.

I've noticed that military discounts are rare in Seattle, but I've had 2 instances of clerks knocking 5-10% off after saying the store doesn't have a discount policy. But that's more about my affiliation, and not my personality.   

Yonco

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2015, 08:20:38 PM »
My nice guy discount is giving a gracious tip. They need it more than me :)

gooki

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2015, 02:21:13 AM »
I get the good bastard who pays his bills fucking quick discount.

Left

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2015, 02:47:08 AM »
I get free food at taco bell because they say I sound angry at them when I yell into their ordering box. I think they need a new speaker because I can't hear it well... and yes, I know the speaker =/= mic but I end up yelling when I can't hear :D I do the same over a phone, if I can't hear them, I just talk louder. If kids don't listen, I talk louder. See my pattern?

does that count as a mean guy discount? at least they work to keep their customer "happy" even though I'm not upset, I just yell into the box that isn't working properly.


GuitarStv

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2015, 06:05:01 AM »
I'm a clean cut white dude who is very polite.  I always get let off with a warning after being pulled over by the police rather than a ticket.  My wife thinks I'm flashing boob or something.

eyePod

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2015, 07:38:44 AM »
NPR had a funny show about this. The guy was terrible at asking. As someone who buys a lot at garage sales, being friendly with the people hosting the sale does wonders on getting a discount. So does buying in bulk though.

MissStache

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2015, 08:22:00 AM »
I was once stuck at the Boston airport because of a storm. There was a huge line at the rebooking counter and people were straight up screaming at the poor guy working there.  When it was my turn, I turned up my Southern accent and said "Gosh, this sure is a crazy situation.  I'll be happy for any flight you can get me on out of here."  All said with a big smile.  He said "well we have a flight out tomorrow morning that routes to New York, and hey, there's a first class seat available.  Would you like that one?"  I was shocked and said "Is that because I was nice to you" and he said "It sure helped!"

So not a discount, but an upgrade.

Only time I've ever flown first class.  It was glorious. 

Sibley

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2015, 09:27:44 AM »
I'm getting my carpets cleaned next week, and got a nice discount from them for being nice. Then I get an even bigger discount because my roommate picks up half of it :)

neophyte

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #27 on: September 01, 2015, 09:34:12 AM »
No...  but sometimes I get hit on when I'm just trying to be polite :(  I must be doing this wrong.

KittyCat

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2015, 09:36:37 AM »
The first time I went to Chipotle, I informed the server (forgot what brought that on); she was enthusiastic and recommended that I try the barbacoa. I did, and liked it, so I ordered it in a happy tone (I think). When I went to pay for it, the cashier told me that it was taken care of. I was confused, so I asked the two friends who ordered before me if they had paid for it, and they didn't. That sort of fits?

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2015, 09:57:51 AM »
I have made millions for the companies I've worked for by being a nice, but firm guy.

Bingo.  That's the challenge.  If you are just nice you will often get taken advantage of.  If you only do this, the few "nice guy discounts" you receive will not outweigh other costs you incur.  It seems like some people realize this and then think the only way to not get taken advantage of is to be a jerk.  But that is actually generally counterproductive.  Being a jerk might get you a better outcome in one transaction but in the long run it almost certainly doesn't pay to be a jerk.  The goal is be kind, cordial, and genuine but firm enough that you can still driving a hard bargain when needed.  Better yet, avoid bargaining and find ways that both parties win. 

Bob W

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #30 on: September 01, 2015, 09:58:14 AM »
I sometimes get this as I'm a frequently a talker who is interested in stuff.    Although,  I have noticed that my hot wife seems to get this a lot more than I do.   Of course they totally screw her on car purchases.  lol

Left

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2015, 10:09:30 AM »
I sometimes get this as I'm a frequently a talker who is interested in stuff.    Although,  I have noticed that my hot wife seems to get this a lot more than I do.   Of course they totally screw her on car purchases.  lol
how many cars is she buying? Is it like one of those buy 2 and get 3rd half off?

Kaspian

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2015, 10:45:35 AM »
Oh, hell yeah, all the time!  It's weird.  People are always waiving a beer off my tab.  Buying me one.  Throwing a discount on for a meal.  Refusing a tip.  Giving me stuff from their gardens.  Offering me a ride somewhere.  All you have to say is a sincere compliment, "Damn--those are really nice tomatoes!," (which I mean earnestly because I've never been great at growing things and it fascinates me) and they almost always say, "Here, take some--I can't eat them all." 

Kaspian

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2015, 10:52:55 AM »
I listened to the whole Tony Robbins things years ago and I may have the mirroring technique down so well I don't even know I'm doing it.  If you haven't heard of it, that's where you mirror someone's mannerisms, their speaking style, their sayings, etc., almost to the point of mocking.  (They will never think you're mocking because they can't see or don't know how they themselves act.)  However, they will automatically like you.  Very much.  They'll get a feeling they've known you for a long time.  ...And that's because they have, but it's not me, it's themselves they've known.

This worries me a little bit sometimes because it's become so ingrained.  ...Like I'm not sure if I've secretly become a chameleon or something.  Where's my own personality if that's the case? :/

Anyway, I think mirroring is maybe what gets me stuff/discounts rather than being simply nice.  I know a really nice guy at work.  He talks so much it's batshit crazy and people avoid him like the plague.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 10:55:57 AM by Kaspian »

Left

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #34 on: September 01, 2015, 11:05:45 AM »
Forgot about this npr story but found it
http://thebillfold.com/2015/03/return-of-the-good-guy-discount/

the radio guys interview people trying to get the good guy discount

jwc082

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #35 on: September 01, 2015, 11:26:32 AM »
That NPR story is a trip - the guy is super heavyhanded about it with everybody he approaches.  And it makes him look like a cheapskate who's just trying to lower his bills, not be genuine about building relationships with the folks he's working with.

In my experience, like basically everybody has affirmed, I get the "nice guy" discount without asking.  Once you ask for it, you're no longer a nice guy.

Matt_D

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Re: Ever get a "nice guy" discount?
« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2015, 11:37:10 AM »
I was buying garden stuff this spring and the cashier made a mistake that meant the whole purchase had to be re-rung. I was calm and polite about it, and she gave me a 10% discount - and apologized that she couldn't do more!

The cashiers at one of my local grocery stores will also frequently give me coupons - it takes them a bit to find them sometimes but they never seem to mind.