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July 05, 2008

Hello awkwardness. Pay $40 extra, friends?

July 5: Day 5.

Mr. A had managed to reserve a cabin in late June -- a coup, since it's typically very hard to find anything in Sequoia around the Fourth of July, not to mention a long weekend. He talked to his friends, a pair of academics from Stanford, and I talked to mine, a pair of academics from Berkeley, and all four agreed to join us.

Here's the problem: I told my friends it would cost roughly $100 per couple per night, i.e. slightly more than $300, divided by three. I called the hotel and found out they have a AAA discount, so that dropped the price further.

What I found out once we got there: The AAA discount doesn't apply for holiday weekends. (Is this even legit?) And the base price was $360, not $300!!

Dilemma: Do I bring it up? Do I shut up and pay the difference?

Thoughts: If the situation were reversed, I'd wouldn't want my friend to have to pay extra for a mistake, as long as the difference between what she quoted and the actual price wasn't very big. I'd want to pay the same rate as the other people in the group.

But that's a cop out. Because the situation isn't reversed. I should have clarified before they got there, so they didn't feel obligated after the fact. And I should keep my word.


I thought about it, and at the end of the day, I decided I'd try sort-of asking. I explained I had misunderstood the price, and that the AAA discount doesn't apply, so the cost is actually $120 per night. Then, I told them to give Mr. A the check for whatever amount makes sense to them, and to please not feel at all obligated to pay the higher rate. I just wanted to let them know.

They graciously agreed to pay the difference. And I still feel guilty about the mixup and, honestly, about asking.

Gained: $40 (not $60, since they only stayed two nights). More crucial: learned to be sure about a price before quoting it.

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