December 2007
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…and Ye Shall Receive…

So, this weekend we had a family emergency, and I had to get my wife up to New York City to tend to her ailing mother. (I had to pay through the nose for a last-minute airline ticket…arrrgh!). In the meantime, I am spending the week between work (and a very important project) and being Mr. Mom at home, this in addition to finalizing everything so I can close on my investment property by December 14th.

Now, I have two daughters, 13 & 17, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, my eldest now has a driver’s license. To make my life easier, it sure would be nice for the older one to chauffeur the younger one back from her after school activities, and in fact, to drive herself to and from school and her own activities. This way, I don’t have to leave work early or get in late. (By the way, props to my wife for making the whole scheduling thing seem effortless, because I’m stressing…)

The only problem is this, my daughter got her driver’s license well into the school year so she never got a parking pass. Now I could buy a parking pass, but it costs $50 a semester, and of course, the semester is ending in a couple of weeks. Oh, and they don’t prorate. So me, being the cheap SOB that I am, dropped my eldest at school this morning and went to the school office to see if they can issue me some sort of temporary pass until Wednesday, when my wife gets back.

Of course, the front office was closed…Great.

Now, I could have turned around and headed for home to get my other daughter ready for school. However, I saw a Sheriff hanging out by one of the doors at the other end of the hallway, so I thought, what the heck, I’ll ask him about the temporary passes.

I walked up to him and asked him where the staff was, and when would they be back; he told me they were in some sort of conference and they’d be back in another 45 minutes…Great.

I then asked him if he knew if they issued temporary parking passes, and if so, how can I get one? He asked me why. I explained the situation with my wife and my scheduling nightmare. He asked me for the license number of the car my daughter drives. I gave it to him, he wrote it down, and he said…no problem…just like that. Apparently he is also the one who patrols the parking area looking for violators. I thanked him profusely, and left.

Here’s the moral kids…If you want and/or need something…ask for it! Overcome any initial fear and do it.

This is such a basic lesson, but few people ever learn it; admittedly, I still have reservations sometimes…but 8-9 times out of 10, I usually get what I need. This is especially true when you are negotiating prices. Always ask, “Is this the best you can do?”, usually they will come down from their initial position. Then ask again, “Is this the best you can do?” Again, they may come down even further…or not, but you never know unless you ask.

What is the absolute worst that can happen when you ask for something…you get a “No” for an answer. Cool…at least you tried.

When I get home from work tonight, I will recount this experience to my kids, and make sure this lesson sticks.


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