I don’t. Not really. Oh, I’ve had a few small victories along the way, but generally lose interest and run out of steam early in the process. Ya know? I go into it vowing to hold my own, and at some point just say fukkit and start signing papers. Life is too short to waste an entire Saturday afternoon doing battle with a mustachioed 4-weddings asshole at Vic Tayback Subaru or whatever.
That is, of course, unless the guy truly rubs me the wrong way. If he’s halfway decent, and friendly, I’m open to compromise. But if I sense there are shenanigans afoot, and my intelligence is being insulted, I’ll walk. I’ve done it many times, and it feels good. I’ve had shocked and panicked salesmen chase me across parking lots, and that feels REALLY good.
But, generally speaking, I suspect I get bent over the proverbial divan.
On Saturday, for instance, I had to buy new tires. Toney and I called around to several places, trying to get the best possible price for a mid-range set. We zeroed in on what felt like the best deal. But… when I went to the shop to actually buy them, everything had changed.
The dude gave me a big song and dance about how he didn’t realize this, and was out of stock on that, etc. Bottom line: the price was $150 more than what we’d discussed.
I bid the gentleman a good day, with a jaunty tip o’ the cap, and left his place of business. My shenanigans meter was spiking. And as I was folding my bulk into the little gray car, I saw him walking toward me at an accelerated clip. Huh, I thought. Wonder what flavor of bullshit he’s going to serve up, now?
“I think I can do something for you,” he said. “It’s against the rules, and I could get into trouble, but I’d like to help you out.”
“Something suddenly occurred to you, as I’m getting ready to leave? That’s interesting,” I answered.
He supposedly matched the internet price, or some such lie, and threw in a gold-plated warranty that gives me 100% replacement rights for 50,000 miles. Final price: $70 more than we’d originally discussed, but $80 less than what he’d quoted earlier in the day.
So, does that count as good negotiating? I don’t think so. He gave me a price over the phone, to get me into the shop, and ended up squeezing an extra $70 out of the deal. It feels like I was taken to the divan again.
My greatest success — in my mind, anyway — was when I took the job that moved us from California to Pennsylvania. I had many spies inside that company, and knew they were under immense pressure to get a person in place, here in Scranhattan. They’d dragged their feet, like all big companies do, and the executives were barking.
Through my vast network of liars and backstabbers, I also knew I was the only person they’d interviewed. They were going to offer it to me, if for no other reason than they didn’t have time to go back into the interview process.
So, when the offer came across… I asked for a lot more. Not only in salary, but unusual stuff too — like a copy of every DVD the company releases while I’m employed there. It translated into hundreds of discs, including expensive box sets, and the like.
I also wanted a team of people to come to our house in California, box up all our shit, load it onto a truck, and do the opposite on the other end.
It only took them an hour to agree to every one of my demands. I know I could’ve gotten a lot more, but didn’t want to be completely unfair about it. I still had to work for those people, after all. But it pays to have insider information, it really does.
What about you? Are you a good negotiator? I’d give myself a 6 out of 10. Maybe a 5. I’m not a complete pushover, but not exactly Donald Trump, either. How would you assess your negotiating skills? And what were your greatest victories, and/or worst defeats? Tell us about ’em in the comments section.
And I’ll see you guys again soon.
Have a great day!
Buy yourself something cool at Amazon! It’s the American way.