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Respect for free
Would you like me as a customer if you were a storekeeper?
I have a habit of asking, “How much does this cost?” after receiving services like pumping up a scooter tire or adjusting my glasses, which are usually free in Taiwan.
And the answer I usually get was, “No charge, don’t worry about it.”
As I see it, asking such a question is a win-win. I get a (though expected) free service and satisfaction from someone’s kindness, while the storekeeper receives my gratitude and respect, as I, the customer, consider their service valuable.
However, the premise of asking this question is that if I “dare to” ask for quotes, as long as the price is reasonable, I will pay it with the mindset that “I should pay fairly in exchange for any service since everyone is making a living.”
If I would ask for it, there’s no reason to decline.
Although I’d consider the gesture polite, the storekeeper may not necessarily feel the same.
“You used my services and time, knowing that it’s supposed to be free. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to ask ‘how much?’”
What I really wanted to say is, “Please, don’t take free services for granted.” After having your scooter tire pumped or glasses fixed, don’t forget to say “thank you” before you leave, but don’t say something inappropriate like “Hey, it takes you only seconds; you can’t charge me for that!” (and even take a free sample on your way out.)
On the other hand, if you are someone providing these services, would you prefer customers who politely ask about the charge but don’t spend a dime after all or big spenders who haggle over prices and asks for freebies?
It’s actually a tough question for me. How about you?
(By the way, I have another habit — I always save the best part for the last.)
Read also: Thank you, and thank you too.
As an experiment, this first version post was translated from the original by ChatGPT-4. However, I’ve rewritten about 40% of the translated piece, which took longer than translating it myself.