The way I figure, there are two ways to ask if a place is hiring:
First, you can go in and ask. I like this more since it gives a personal touch that the phone cannot. However, I wonder if this would seem like a high-pressure sales tactic (selling yourself) to someone who may not appreciate it. Either way, if the answer’s no, you’ve got to do a walk of shame out the door with just a little bit of awkwardness.
Second, you can call. To me this seems a bit informal, but it may relieve some of that pressure on the employer since they can hang up, after saying one way or another, and both of you can move about your days like nothing happened.
So, which is better? Going in or calling? I especially would like to hear from those of you who have hired people in the past.