I'm an on-again, off-again reader of RHU. Started my work life at Wal-mart 11 years ago and have gone through 3 call centers, insurance, and landed in IT (networking specifically); if you must name me then please call me Kit since its a nickname I use online with my friends. I have no story to share about my own work hell, but rather to query the community about something I did about 2 months ago.
I'm a consummate geek. Games specifically- I play board, card, roleplaying, and video games. My Pathfinder group was talking about running a one-off game while our DM was out of the country and I wanted to try a new character for it. Off to the local B&N for the book I need! (The Ultimate Magic book if you're curious).
They had one copy on the shelf. Said copy is damaged, slightly. Not merely cosmetic damage however. The front cover is slightly warped and this is pulling the binding a bit. Real damage that can affect the longevity of the book. But not so severe that I can't get some good use from it. Cover price for the book is $39.99 not counting county, city, and state sales taxes (yes we have all three here).
I hemmed and hawed and finally my roommate said, "Just ask for a discount."
That, quite literally, made me pause. I worked Walmart. Cashier and layaway (before it vanished). I had to deal with price matchers, discount rats, and hagglers. I know that it can suck to be asked for a price reduction that isn't marked. But I wasn't comfortable paying full price for a legitimately damaged book. Neither was I interested in waiting for shipping (even with Amazon Prime I might not get the book in time for the game). Finally, I decided it couldn't hurt to ask, right? I had reason!
So up to the cashier I went. I put the items down, this book separate from the others I was undeniably purchasing. And before the cashier could ring it up I brought up the subject of the damage and asked if a discount could be arranged. I felt bad. Her face and tone of voice went from friendly to a mix of stony and frightened.
I was unsurprised when she had to call the manager and they exchanged words, her recounting the damage and my concerns and then providing the ISBN. Presumably the manager checked their stock (I'd already looked; no other copies).
Finally, she hung up and turned to me, steeling her spine and said "My manager authorized me to offer you 10% off."
I smiled graciously and simply said "I'm not unreasonable and that is wonderful, thank you." And we finished the transaction. I paid the $140 total for 4 books, she bagged all of my items, and I left. Content that I got the book I needed, feeling well that I got a decent discount on the last copy that was damaged.
But... was I wrong to ask? Should I have forgone the purchase and left it to another customer to bring up or an employee to take notice of and damage the book out? Or is it ok to (politely) ask for a discount on legitimate damage knowing you may or may not receive the discount and being reasonable on what it may be? (In truth I had expected that IF a discount would be available it would be 5-10%).