How do you get what you want?

I am a pansy when it comes to getting what I want, especially when I think it’s black and white. Whether I can attribute it to my quiet nature and my let’s-follow-the-rules philosophy.

In the last seven years, Chris has taught me this lesson: everything is negotiable. Legally.

Such as:

  • A (free) bag from a conference that you’re not attending
  • Tickets to a sold out concert at face value purchased one hour before the show starts (e.g. to watch Foster the People
  • Getting a laptop fixed within 24 hours when the usual estimated time is 72 hours
  • Getting credit card fees waived
  • Getting other fees for rentals, hotels, cars, cellphone bills, etc. waived
  • Fighting parking tickets
  • Exchanging an unused movie ticket
  • And most importantly…getting onto a sold-out flight
  • I have mastered the art of negotiating my salary, but everyday requests are difficult. But I have learned that we are all human and people’s egos just want to be stroked. A little bit. Most of the time, I stand in the background as Chris works his magic (sometimes I don’t want to know or overcome with the embarrassment). But now I can call it the kindly brontosaurus posture. Granted, there’s more that he does than this posture. (Not to mention, he already looks unthreatening with a general baby face and extroverted relatable nature.)

    Several years ago, before the Clipper Card, I regularly purchased the 8-ride ticket for Caltrain. This kind of ticket requires a validation prior to a ride on the Caltrain as proof of payment to the conductor. On a spare-the-air-day (when all transit in the Bay Area is free), I accidentally validated a ticket, thereby paying for a free ride. Upset, I moaned about my mistake. Calming me, Chris said that his friend was able to use the accidental validation for the next ride on a regular day. The following day, I promptly rode the Caltrain without validating my ticket, certain that my spare-the-air-day validation would work. As the train zoomed south from the city, the conductor came by. I looked at the conductor and sincerely explained the situation, ending with “my friend said that it was how it worked!”

    He looked at me and shook his head. “No, it doesn’t.”

    I blinked. “Oh?” I mumbled. “I thought that’s how it worked.”

    He lectured me more and continued on without fining me. Later, I found out that Chris tricked me, knowing that if I knew the truth, I would have never done it. Did I have the kindly brontosaurus posture? I hope so. I still don’t like that conductor.

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