In some of the finance blog I read regularly, they've talked about asking for discounts or waived fees -- often, apparently, companies actually will if you just ask. My mom also taught me to ask for things -- "You never know unless you try" and "What's the worst that could happen? You'll be right where you are now" were common phrases from her.
I had those lessons in mind when I got back a graded programming assignment today in my algorithms class. I'd missed 3 points because I hadn't followed the algorithm in the textbook explicily, but rather done a (correct, but alternative) version found on Wikipedia. I'd ordered the textbook online and didn't have it when I needed to finish this programming assignment, so I had hoped Wikipedia's version would be close enough. But no.
Figuring the professor wouldn't take off more points just for talking to him, I told him why I'd implemented my algorithm as I had. He was sympathetic, so I asked if I could redo it for partial credit. He immediately agreed! No harm in asking, indeed.