I like to flip between talking about matters of finance and travel. Life is a bitch, and we have to figure out how to get through it. In the past I have talked about ‘game everything’. The idea is to move beyond the world of ‘points and miles’ to expand the philosophy into all aspects of what we do. When you strip away the nonsense, points and miles are just rebates, and there are many different types of rebate.
However, I’ve been feeling a bit ‘awkward’ recently. I guess it is hard to avoid in a group of people who follows the mindset of gaming things, but there have to be limits. I guess this is a comfort zone thing, but there is a lot to be said for integrity of a deal and relationships.
Drawing from my past, one prime example of this was a guy we worked with on the Cruise ship. He was out there saving as much money as possible to send home. Admirable cause. However, he would always accept drinks from others when bought in a round, but when it was his turn, he would only ever buy himself a beer. He gamed us. You could see the same thing happening if you had a get together of MSers, imagine that happening there. At the end of the night he ‘won’ and gamed the system, but he’s never going to be invited back.
I personally get this feeling when someone +1s my negotiation. I hate it. When I carve out a deal that already cuts prices significantly, and give my word on something I really don’t like people coming along to game it further. After all, everything is game-able, but what happens to the relationship if you press it too hard? I actually see it happening at times with our upcoming DO in Firesky.
Sometimes, you just can’t get what you want, such as an upgrade every time, and sometimes you need to leave a little something on the table.
I’m trying to figure out the root of this, and I think it harks back to the days of good faith. Something that we forget about because of the behavior of corporations. As they constantly seek to screw the consumer, the consumer toughens up so as to not be exploited. But there are times when even the biggest corporation can connect on a personal level.
Going back to Firesky, I think we got a great deal, and I think we are going to make a big splash there. However I think we need to keep an eye on how we are perceived in the process. Are they going to look at us as a great group of people who do cool things and have fun, or are we a headache that is always complaining to get the the upgrades and free comps? Would they want us back?
I guess it doesn’t matter what they think if all you have is a transaction orientated ‘win’ mind, but sometimes it’s better to think about the big picture, and buy a round, even though you don’t ‘have to’. An example of me doing this is that I missed out on the fact that beer wasn’t included in our social hour pricing. I was left with a few options:
- Screw the beer drinkers!
- Make it a Cash Bar for beer
- Make it a Cash Bar for beer and pick up the tab
I missed it, I’m not going to make Firesky feel bad about my mistake, they have already been great in dropping prices and accommodating us. I am not going to add on to the ticket price (weird?) and in the end, I am not going to make the beer drinkers pay. Though you might see me drinking the wine and commenting on how delicious it is in order to game people into trying it, since it is included in the price 🙂
marathon man says
I agree there’s a big differnce between gaming THINGS over people. But sadly some think it’s the same thing and it’s not. I don’t game PEOPLE.
I have noticed on FT, a lot of folks there do. They will sell ya out and send ya down the river to save themselves or save face. They don’t care about saving a deal or anything, just as long as online, you look bad.
But aside from them jokers, the point is that yeah, it is not cool to game SOMEONE. It’s one thing if a gig has a promo and you can make it work. But if you are talking about putting together an event for a few people and one of them tries to hose you, well, I say refund that person’s ticket and tell them: You are not using this in the spirit of the program and “we think” there’s been fraud lol.
Funny how some people are people and some people are corporations, or non-humans. If you take out the human element that is one of the key steps towards facilitating all sorts of harm on your fellow man, including genocide. All the same idea…
I wonder if blog readers are to be considered human? Or are they just revenue waiting to be converted?
+1 on the wine drinking; woops, I forgot that I am not even going to this DO, but will be drinking Italian wine instead. Hope the event goes as well as the one in Charlotte!
Thanks! Hoping it is even better 🙂 Lots of wine, delicious wine… and no warm beer for me.
But of course you wouldn’t object if Firesky somehow got a copy of this post and generously offered to include the beer. After all, you’ve shown what a fair fine caliber individual you are … surely that’s the least they could do.
Ha! – no I wouldn’t, but that wasn’t the intention. I had to soften some of the examples so as to not cause offense to people 🙂
Sadly, I won’t be there…but I will be drinking wine with you in spirit. I’m not a beer drinker, although I was in the past.
I think that what is happening in the forum is that, at least for some of us, we are getting to know each other, and when you know someone, it’s harder to game them. Which, to my mind, is an excellent thing!
I hope so- that would be a great achievement from it.
There are things I will not game. Not just people, but huge corporations that I happen to know how to game but consider it either unethical or job limiting.
Just today I made a “Steal This Book” reference, actually I told my son I was part of the ‘Steal This Book’ generation (and I am, no comment on how I came by my copy of the book) and then made my son google it. I might need to dig up a copy, I’m sure I can find a .pdf 😉
About the reception. I disagree, I’d ask for it. As long as you ask respectfully and accept no gracefully, it never hurts to ask. Beer has a lower host price than house wine, they might be willing to add it in.
marathon man says
Haley I was only but a small child when that book came out but am somewhat familiar with the scene on that one. Others can see here what it is about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steal_This_Book
But I am confused when you said, “There are things I will not game. Not just people, but huge corporations that I happen to know how to game but consider it either unethical or job limiting.”
Does this mean you WOULD game a huge corp or not? And what is “job limiting?”
As for ethics, well I have learned over the years that companies think everything they do is ethical until someone finds out it isnt. I dunno, racial policies in the 50s or 60s, discrimination against women, the use of asbestos, etc.
As for promos and deals, I have learned that many companies do not think through what it is they are doing. We arent trying to take advantage of that, rather, we are mostly trying to take advantage of whatever deal or offer or promo they put forth. But when they do so, we go out and maximize it because that’s what we do, and we therefore ‘game’ it. But I find when we do, and only then, the company suddenly perks up and says, “Ohhh no, you cant do that! It’s wrong! We didn’t intenddddd for that to happen. You are scamming us!” And they pull back on their own badly made offer only because people like us happened along to try it out. This I find very wrong and all too common in the miles, points and cash back world. There are some people I know who are so angry at this that they DO in fact seek out more ways to go after such companies and so they think very much like some of the content of the book.
I am someone who has no oroblem gaming a corporation but would never take or game an individual. I am a landlord in NYC and believe my eord is my bond and at times to my disadvantage. But then I think to myself corporations are made up of individual stockholders. Therefore, would taking advantage of a corporation the same as taking advantage of individuals? So are we telling ourselves that taking advantage of corportations Is different to feel better? And to use a 60’s expression getting ” over on the man” just feels better or justified.
I agree with Marathon Man about never gaming an individual but am wondering if anyone has had the same thoughs or feelings about the corporation being make of of the same individuals we would never game.
Just something that rattles around in my brain…
marathon man says
John I had been bothered by this one too… But then I was thinking of this marketing guy I know from a ski area we go to. His name is Mike. He totally stinks when dealing with any offers or deals or promos at the mountain. Nothing works and he thinks things like coupons and discounts are for the low class set or something. But when you see him in a bar after skiing he’s a nice guy and loves to talk about sports or skiing or home improvement or something, A regular guy (for some). Point is, he has a business Mike and a personal Mike. We all would rather the personal Mike but some people “switch” and that bugs the hell out of me. So I figure when he is business Mike, well then, it’s game on.
Yes, +1,000,000 MM!
For me, that point comes all to close to the “Corporations are People” meme that I detest. But it’s a valid and good question, especially since it makes honest folks think and reflect upon their behavior.
People can break the mold of corporations. It is a case of having a big picture view and empathy with the customer.
We had one guest with us who was charged $25 for phoning home, he went to the pursers desk to complain that all he had got was a ring tone and disconnected on several occasions and after waiting in line for 30 minutes was told he couldn’t have his money back.
Told me the story in the casino, so I took $25 out of the dice table and gave it to him, apologized for the delay, and told him we appreciated his business.
Pretty sure that made a lasting impact.
Marathon man says
The prob w corporations though is they are often all about policy. They will do or not do something based on the policy and sometimes it is wrong but they always adhere to it.
A minor example that always bugs me is when I get a frozen latte from Starbucks and tell them I dont need the cover. But they have to put it on there out of policy. But I just take it off the moment I get the drink and toss the cover thereby letting it go to waste.
There are many other examples of when a person working at a company will stick to protocol for the sake of it and not dileviate. I am a man of principle not policy. I am a corporate missfit which is why I dont currently work for one
As a beer drinker, I very much appreciate what you did. I don’t know the liquor laws in AZ, but I can get my hands on some very fine 3 Caballos tequila and bring that to the social hour if the hotel lets us. It is so good, they don’t even sell it outside of Texas.
That sounds great – I think if you smuggled some in we’d love it, I’ll ask.
I hear that the Tequila should be OK – they said nothing in the bar or pool, but private areas are OK, so since we have a ballroom/patio we should be good.
I definitely distinguish between people and businesses. To me, though, the thing that makes the difference is the equity of the relationship. When I’m dealing with a person we are both acting in our own best interest to find an agreement that works for both of us. With companies, they get to set all of the rules (terms and conditions) and I just get to decide whether to business with them or not. Because they’ve set the system up (presumably in their own best interest), I feel no guilt for gaming that system to my own advantage.