Thanks, everyone, for your comments - even you, Doug, for your attempt to 'politicize' my thread - although it was FUNNY INDEED. :)
I just checked into my hotel here in Esfahan - Iran's top tourist magnet and my last stop before heading on to the various Arabian Gulf States. There are many more tourists here, and the first two hotels I inquired were fully booked! Third time's the charm - luckily for me.
I asked for the room rate and it was pretty reasonable. I handed over my HK passport (the one that contained my Iran entry visa) - got a welcoming smile - and a 10% discount.
I then noticed one of the clocks on the wall showed LA time - and remarked that was my city. "You live in America", the receptionist asked? Yes. OK, I give you 25% discount!
Hey... even if locals and truly hard-bargaining tourists can actually get even more -- I thought that was a pretty nice gesture. :)