When I was hired as a sales clerk in a record store, my boss said something to me that I'll never forget. "Nobody has ever been fired from this company for being too lenient with a customer." Not every manager has the wisdom to tell his employees that fact, but it's generally true throughout the retail industry. Hence, the controlling principle of customer service: The squeaking wheel gets the grease.
If you want something, ask. I'm not suggesting that you haggle over a gallon of milk, but you can almost always convince a company to acquiesce to any reasonable request if you remember two words: "polite pest."
You'd be surprised how many fees can be waived simply for the asking. For example, most credit card companies have a policy that allows their representatives to waive one late fee per account per year. Late fees are a coup for credit card companies, and they won't waive one automatically; but if you pick up the telephone and ask, you can save yourself $35.