How to lose a sale

I joined several of my colleagues for lunch at Chili’s this afternoon. Afterwards, I stopped in Cost Plus along with a fellow Prius owner who was going to ride back with me to admire my Prius XM installation.

We were going to buy a couple of things and got into line. The cashier finished with the person at the front of the line, or so we thought. The next person wasn’t actually there to buy anything — she had left her wallet at the store earlier and hoped it had been found (at least that’s what I think had happened; she wasn’t very clear). But then it was our turn — except that the cashier said that he had to help the first person pick up her merchandise and he vanished.

There were two other cashiers open, but while we were waiting patiently for the first guy, they’d built up long lines. So we put our merchandise down on a nearby counter and left empty-handed.

Later in the afternoon, I called the Sheraton in Tucson, where I already had a reservation for a forthcoming weekend. I wanted to extend our stay a couple of days, and I was hoping to get the same rate ($79/night). The reservation agent first quoted me $300/night, then offered to check for special rates and found a mere $200/night (or $119 for a smaller room). In the meantime, I’d checked the hotel’s website and found a $99/night offer for the two nights I wanted; the agent claimed that that was a non-refundable rate and kept pressuring me to take the rate she was offering. I decided against taking her kind offer; instead, I checked the Embassy Suites and found a $69 rate offered to IBMers. Guess which one I took?

I thought about moving the entire stay to the Embassy Suites, but there will be a party at the Sheraton, and I’d rather not have to drive afterwards. But I came close….