Here’s a little story…
A man walks into a busy restaurant on a Friday night and requests a table for himself and his wife who isn’t with him. He is shown to a table and handed a couple of menus. Before the waitress can ask what he’d like to drink, he asks “Is there anything you can do with these prices?”
The waitress looks at him a little confused; “I’m sorry sir?”
He points to the menu in his hand, “These prices, they’re a bit more than I wanted to pay. Can you do anything with them?”
“But these are the prices of our food sir”, the waitress replies, a little taken aback.
“It’s just that I didn’t want to pay more than £20 per person and I’ve seen cheaper prices at other restaurants. Can you do anything?”
“What do you mean sir?”
“I just want to know what your best possible price is”, persists the man.
“I’m sorry sir, but we can’t reduce the prices; these are our prices.”
The man pauses for a moment before continuing, “Ok, it’s just that I’ve had the price of £20 per person at another restaurant and if you can beat their price then my wife and I will eat here.”
The waitress, who relies heavily on tips, starts to get anxious because she has a lot of other tables to wait on and a very long queue of customers outside waiting to get in.
“What other restaurants have you had these prices with sir?” she asks, not that it matters.
“I’d rather not say” says the man, defensively.
“We would need to see a copy of their menus to make sure the dishes they’re offering are like for like.”
“They are” the man insists, “but I’d rather eat with you, so if there’s anything you can do on the price we’d seriously look at eating here”.
The waitress thinks about it for a second. “If you don’t have dessert after your meal it will reduce the price to £19 per person, how about that?” she asks.
The man thinks about it for a minute before he replies “No, we want to have dessert at the end of our meal. What if my wife and I choose not to have one of the sides, like chips or coleslaw; will that bring the price down any further?”
“I’m afraid not sir, they come as part of the meal”, replies the waitress, “but let me speak to my manager and see what we can do. Are you ok to wait for a couple of minutes?”
The man nods and she promptly disappears into the kitchen.
After a few minutes she returns, “I can offer to discount your meal by 10% if you eat with us right now”, she says triumphantly.
The man pauses again, “Ok, let me think about it. If I take your name I’ll go and speak to my wife and we’ll come back to you later on.”
The waitress, not wanting to lose a tipping customer, says “We are very busy tonight and this is the last table we have free. I can’t guarantee this table will be available later when you come back. Why don’t you give her a call now?”
“I can’t”, says the man, “she’s driving”.
“Ok”, replies the waitress “Tell you what; I’ll hold the table for you”
The waitress suddenly seems oblivious to the ever growing queue of hungry tipping diners eager to get a table.
The man smiles, “Thanks, I really appreciate that. If we decide to eat here we’ll come back later”
“Great” replies the waitress, “My name is Darcy. I look forward to seeing you later”
The man leaves the restaurant unfed.
This seems a bit unlikely, right?
Yet somehow it seems to be completely acceptable to do this when buying other things like cars, houses and heroin…HOLIDAYS, I meant holidays.
I work in travel and believe me; customers try this on all the time.
What they’re essentially saying to the sales agent is “I don’t believe you. I think you’re trying to rob me with overly inflated prices. You sound nice but we all know, deep down, you’re a thieving bastard; give me more free shit now!”
We wouldn’t do this when buying clothing, or getting a haircut, or at the supermarket checkout, or with a pimp.
I would love the waitress to say something like: “If you’ve had such a great price elsewhere, then please feel free to fuck completely off to some shitpit and do that. Clearly there’s something about the other restaurant that’s stopping you because you’re sat here, in front of me, giving me shit about our prices.
“So no, you can’t have a discount. This is the price of our food; deal with it.
“Look at the queue at the door.
“Check out the lack of empty tables.
“If you want to eat here and find out what good food is really all about, pay the price we’ve printed on the menu and shut the fuck up.
“Now, what would you like to drink, sir?”
It doesn’t work in the travel industry.