Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I am not good at getting stuff for free.

My uncle, who is a lawyer, is very good at getting stuff for free. Too good. If he's at a restaurant and someone looks at him wrong, he gets the meal for free. On one occasion, I was having dinner with him at an expensive restaurant, and he got them to not charge him for an expensive dish he had finished because he didn't like it. At hotels, he almost always manages to get one night for free.

I dated a guy a long while ago who was a law student and told me that he was always writing to companies, complaining about whatever, and then they'd give him free stuff.

This must be a lawyer thing because I am absolutely terrible at it. I don't know what their secret is.

For example, my husband recently bought me Cake of the Month club. Our first order arrived great, but the second sat around too long in a warehouse or something, because all the dry ice had long melted and the cake (which was a cheesecake) arrived spoiled.

I called to complain, obviously. But they couldn't send a new cake because they all came in a single shipment, and now they were gone. They offered to send me something else from a non-perishable "month club" but I was annoyed that I didn't get the thing I wanted, and they weren't offering me something extra to compensate.

I asked to talk to the manager and we literally talked for like twenty minutes and she absolutely refused to give me even any token offer to make me feel better and, like, use their company again. Isn't it cheaper for them to offer me something free rather than lose my business forever? I'm fairly sure these month clubs are a big rip-off.

Meanwhile, I'm 100% sure that my uncle would have gotten like ten free cakes.


  1. I am awful at negotiating. I won't even go to a garage sale unless prices are listed on the items. I am that bad.

  2. ha ha... that reminds me of dr grumpy's dad :D

  3. i am totally like you. i let my husband do the car-buying. i refuse to go to flea markets/garage sales or buy anything from street markets in a foreign country because i can't haggle and therefore will definitely get ripped off.

  4. My finest hour.
    We were at the auto dealership with a very small Stubble ensconced with a burger and soda (it was right next door!) while The Bearded One negotiated...we had come in because they advertised 0% interest...
    When the salesman returned from "talking to his Manager" and said, "We can go a couple of thousand lower, but the interest rate? The best he will offer is 2%."
    I put my checkbook and pen back into my purse. Told Stubble to pack it up, we were leaving. The salesman appealed to The Bearded One who just shrugged.
    Me: "We came here only because of the interest rate. If we don't get then I'm not buying."
    We began to walk out.
    We wound up with BOTH the money off AND 0% interest....

  5. Replies
    1. I should add that after I wrote this, my husband called the company and had the exact same conversation with them. Finally, he told them he was canceling our order and they still didn't care.

      A week later, somebody from the company called us and said they had changed their mind and wanted to give us a free cake if we resubscribed. Too late.

  6. My father is the same way. I am terrible at it. My solution: call daddy and ask him to call and complain for me!

    1. I used to think my uncle would do that for me, but he won't. He's only motivated to complain when it involves himself.

  7. My son is a waiter, and he is fairly convinced that there is a large portion of the population who routinely complain, knowing that they are likely to get something free if they act miserable enough. I guess I am too honest - I don't feel it is right to complain unless something is legitimately wrong.

    1. I actually hate to complain. The only times I've ever gotten anything free in restaurants was when the dish was so bad, I couldn't even eat it, a manager noticed, and came over to me to ask what was wrong.

      But when I buy an expensive cake and it arrives spoiled, there's no way I'm not going to complain.

    2. http://www.customerssuck.com

      Chronicles of those dealing with large portion of the population who DO routinely complain...

    3. Back when I worked as a waitress I had this couple that would come in every Friday and sit in my section. They always ordered steaks, medium rare, and they always complained. Always. The steak wasn't cooked correctly, the salad didn't come out promptly enough/look right/taste right, and it was always my fault. They always needed to speak to a manager, and nearly always got one meal free, even though they slam-nommed both meals. Typically, they through me under the bus to get what they wanted.

      I rarely complain. Typically, I just won't shop or eat there again.

    4. I am especially hesitant to complain about food in a restaurant because I'm worried that my food will get spit in. Like you said, Cat, I just wouldn't go there again. Or if it's really, really bad, I might say something as I'm leaving, just because I'm too pissed off not to.

    5. You don't know what their secret is? Your uncle and that guy you dated? Simply put, they are assholes. They have no shame in acting like an ass in public in order to scam undeserved free food. And the rest of us pay for it with increasing prices and decreasing public civility. In retail outlets and eateries that are part of a corporate chain the manager will get an automatic black mark for any customer complaint that reaches the ear of corporate no matter how ridiculous and unjustified. So to avoid the corporate hammerdown, she doles out the free stuff to assholes like your uncle.