Have you ever challenged yourself to do something physically scary?
Well, in Macau, I planned to do the Macau Tower Skywalk.
The rim is 233 meters high (about 61 floors) and it’s possible to walk around the outside. Let’s be clear, there’s no guard rail. It’s just you and the birds and the breeze. Oh, there is a safety harness around your chest though.
The pay off for strolling around the rim are the views. Gorgeous ones of the ocean, the landscape, and the city below. I didn’t want to miss out on that.
The problem was that the weather didn’t cooperate. I waited all day for a break in the rain and then raced to the tower. When I arrived there, it was drizzly outside, but it didn’t matter. I love drizzly rain actually.
But after paying $75 US and taking the elevator ALL the way up to the top, it started raining hard. What’s worse, the clouds descended all around and there was very little visibility.
So, I flaked.
I just couldn’t do it, and not because I was scared. It was the overall value of the experience I thought about. I wanted to walk around the rim and see buildings in the distance and feel in awe of the space and air around me. Without all that, all of the sudden it seemed like a contrived EXPENSIVE cheesy tourist trap experience.
Then, I did the unthinkable in China. I asked for a refund.
I knew that it would be a hard negotiation. In the States, we’re so culturally conditioned to think a refund is our right. Other cultures operate more on a once-it-leaves-your-hands-wave-goodbye-forever-to-that-money kind of principle.
I approached the manager carefully.
ME: “I was wondering if I could have a refund for the skywalk?”
ME: “But it’s raining hard.”
MANAGER: “You knew it was raining when you got here, and you still paid the money to do it.”
ME: “yes, but it’s raining really hard now.”
MANAGER: “That’s not our fault. ”
ME: “And there’s lots of clouds. You can’t see anything.”
ME: “So, aren’t we supposed to enjoy the views? Isn’t that why people do it?”
MANAGER: “We don’t give refunds.”
MANAGER: “No refunds.”
I planned to say more, but he seemed stern. I walked away and plotted my next move. I decided to let the negotiations rest and then try again. I thought all the way back to debate team in high school searching for logical tactics I could use.
I walked away and stood staring out the window, facing the prospect that maybe I’d have to walk around the tower a lame girl in the rain, as I wasn’t going to just throw away $75.
A few minutes later, a girl approached me, and said, “Okay, we give you refund.”
Have you ever asked for a refund in another country? How did that work out? What would you have done in this situation? Have you ever flaked out at the last minute from doing something you challenged yourself to do?