Editorials Choosing Clients 101 November 26, 1997 Share 1 -- Insider recently met a travel agent friend for cocktails at a pub in New York's Gramercy Park section. We were deep in conversation about (what else?) the airline industry when an annoying man on the agent's right interrupted. Annoying Man: You are in the travel business? Travel Agent: I am. I own a travel agency. AM: Can you get me a good fare to Istanbul for Thursday? TA: Sure. Give me your credit card number. AM: Huh? TA: Yeah, I charge a fee to do the research. If you buy the ticket, I apply the fee to the price. AM: Why do you do it that way? I thought travel agents were free. TA: Because I don't work for nothing. If I do the research and you don't buy the ticket, I've done the work for nothing. . Which serves as a lesson for us all in how to ask for what we want. And in how to get rid of an annoying man.