Thursday, September 20, 2012

The "Free" Benefits of Nice

It's no secret that I'm a nice person. I enjoy small conversation with people I don't know, I like giving my neighbors and friends baked treats, and I think I excel at finding that "perfect little gift" for my family and/or friends that they didn't expect. I consider myself thoughtful, and yes, NICE. Once I overheard someone talking about me, who I thought was a friend. I didn't want to eavesdrop, but I was curious as to what this person was going to say about me. She mentioned that I was a nice person (this is what friends are for). Then she went on to say that by being nice she did not consider me to be a confident person, she considered me to be WEAK (OKAY, not a friend after all). I was quite surprised because 1) I thought she was a friend, and 2) she thought that being nice was a BAD thing. More recently someone told me that I was a nice person (I smiled), which made me BORING (no more smiling). Hmmm...I thought this person was my friend as well. I need to be more selective in who I classify as "friend." You know, the funny thing is that neither of these comments bothered me (too much) because I knew that they were wrong. I am going to guess that these two women have not reaped the great benefits that come with being nice (maybe because they are NOT NICE). I decided to put my "nice" to the test, and I began jotting down things that I received FREE by being nice. Here's a small list that I began about 2 months ago(there's more stuff like free parking passes and $5 coupons for groceries, but I had to stop somewhere). Almost daily I receive FREE stuff, and I think it's because I'm nice and I have a good attitude about people (we're all human and mistakes are made). Here's a small list: 1)I stopped into a boutique where the owner recognized me, as I have frequented her shop in the past. I was commenting that I liked some of her new wall hangings. I decided to purchase a piece of jewelry, and she asked if I wanted to purchase a wall hanging as well. I said, yes, but they were a little out of my price range- maybe next time. Then she told me to wait a minute. She went to the back of the store and returned with a wall hanging that was new, but slightly damaged (very slight, like undetectable as the damage was on the back of the wall hanging). She went on to tell me that I could have it, if I wanted it because she wasn't going to sell it. I was so surprised and pleased. The wall hanging is proudly displayed on my dining room wall. 2) I asked how the day was going to a drive-thru employee at Taco Bell. He wasn't busy, so we chatted for a few minutes before I pulled up to retrieve my oh-so-delicious-tacos. When I got home I realized that the employee had given me an extra taco. 3) I always smile and chat with Dunkin Donuts staff (who wouldn't? Their donuts and coffee always put a smile on my face). I almost ALWAYS get a free donut or a handful of munchkins with my purchase. 4) I ordered a Domino's pizza over the phone for pick up. I had a nice chat with the staff member. When I went to pick up my pizza, the gentleman told me he had given me an extra topping (there was no apparent reason why, but it was a topping I mentioned that I was considering, but chose not to purchase in order to say $1.50). 5)I was chatting with another local boutique staff member. I wanted to purchase a jacket that cost over $100. I really wanted it, but it was expensive. I joked that I would love a discount. She kindly declined. I kept talking with her while I looked around the store, asking her about different trinkets and about the merchandise they carried. In the end, I decided that I just had to have the jacket. When I went to pay for it, she whispered that she was going to give me a 10% discount. She didn't want other shoppers to hear her, so she couldn't tell me until I was standing right in front of her at the register...what a wonderful, unexpected surprise. I saved $12! 6) I ordered a series of photos on disks (700 pictures between two disks and I ordered 6 sets of disks). The order required several hours (the Walgreens employee told me that I wouldn't qualify for the one hour printing, which I fully understood). The next day I picked up the 12 disks and brought them home. 6 of the disks were fine, but the other 6 disks were blank. I went back into Walgreens with the disks. The same employee verified that the disks were in fact blank. Then she asked me if I could give her 2 hours to correct the mistake. I was a little frustrated, but I wasn't mad. When I returned to get the disks, three were still blank. She corrected them while I was there, which took another 20 minutes. She felt really bad about all of the trips I had made to Walgreens, so she gave me the 6 disks FREE and then she gave me a coupon for an extra 50 FREE photos (coupon with no expiration). This was more than a $50 discount! That's what I call a good deal. So, what do you think? Is being nice a weakness or a strength? Personally, I think I do pretty well as a nice person. :-)

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