18 // Ask Less, Offer More

I got a couple copies of a key made today.

At the first brand-name hardware store I went to, the only place I could find to make a key was a self-serve kiosk with a screen that said “Get started!” in big letters. Another sign announced, in much smaller letters, “cash only.” And in even smaller letters, a third decal explained, “exact change only.”

Yet nowhere on the display did it tell me the price of making a key. I’m sure it would have, had I started the process. But I walked away without even tapping on the screen, and drove 0.2 miles up the street to the other big-name hardware store.

At that store, an employee gladly made the copies for me. As I walked over to the self-checkout area, another employee recognized me from when I’d been there a couple days ago and greeted me. I paid cash and left.

So why did I walk away from the first store?

Because the machine asked for too much and offered too little. Cash only is fine. But I would have had to start the process to find out what the cost was—and then figure out if I had exact change.

Ask less, offer more.