Tales of a Cashier relates my experiences at my part time job in a retail store.
In my store, as I'm sure holds true for many stores, we have an official policy and then we have the policy we actually follow. A lot of this revolves around trying to get the customers to return to our store. There's a lot of competition out there and we do everything we can to keep the customers happy and telling their friends how happy they are.
Our store sells household products and frequently sends out coupons to use for a discount on most items in the store. Officially, if a customer forgets their coupon, we offer to them the chance to bring back the coupon with the receipt and we will adjust the price. Unofficially, any customer who asks for, forgets, or "forgets" their coupon will get the discount anyway, on the spot, no returning required. All they have to do is ask.
Now will we give them a discount on 5 items for each of the 5 coupons they forgot on the kitchen counter? No, we do our best to keep it reasonable. But the main thing to remember is that the stores want you to leave happy and want you to return. Customer loyalty over the course of years is much more important than one sale. Similar to the coupon issue, we will also discount items is they are visibly damaged or have been used as a display. Usually all you have to do is ask.
So how can you benefit and save using this theory? Don't be afraid to speak up. The worst that could happen is that you're in the same position you started off in. Be polite, slightly apologetic, and be sure to thank them. That's all we really want. When people start getting rude or witchy, we're actually less likely to help them out than if they are polite. There's a lot of money you could keep in your wallet just by asking the simple question. I used to be shy about it until I was on the other side of the cash register. Now I don't care. Anybody have a good story of asking for a discount and saving some money?