Has saving money ever caused you embarrassment? I unwittingly shamed two friends one night after we walked into a cupcake store, hungry for sugar. We greeted the cashier and surveyed the sweets, almost a dozen on the shelf. I smelled a discount.
“How late are you open? I asked.
Until ten, he said. It was eight-thirty.
“You have a lot of cupcakes left. Do you think you’ll be able to sell them all?”
He laughed nervously. “Maybe.”
“We’d like to buy some of your cupcakes. How about a discount, say 10-20% off?
I grinned at my friends. “What kind do you want?”
We kept it simple: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. As the cashier was boxing the cupcakes up, he made me a counter offer.
“How about instead of a 10% discount I give you an extra cupcake?”
We picked green tea. On a bench outside we gobbled down our frosted treats. I headed back into the store for a cup of water and on my way back out I caught the end of my friends’ conversation.
“Does that embarrass you – the discount?”
“What?” I said.
“Yes, I am embarrassed when she asks for a discount,” my friend said to the other.
“What?” I repeated. “Why are you embarrassed when I ask for a discount?”
My friend turned to me. “It’s like you’re saying he’s charging too much.”
“But he doesn’t have to give it to us – and we still would have bought the cupcakes!”
I couldn’t understand why they were embarrassed and they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t embarrassed.
Days later, I’m still trying to figure it out. Am I so comfortable asking for a discount that I don’t realize when haggling is inappropriate? I mean, is haggling ever inappropriate???
Should I haggle in front of my friends more often so they get used to it? Or should I respect their comfort zone and keep quiet?
I care about my friends and am not about to drop them because of their fiscal folly (as I see it). Instead, I’m going to take this opportunity to explain why I negotiate. Maybe if they understand me better, I’ll make two bargain babes out of them.
I negotiate because it works almost half the time.
I negotiate because I’m not scared to get turned down.
I negotiate because I’ve learned how to do it in a way that is respectful and non-confrontational.
I negotiate because it’s fun.
I negotiate because it saves me money. (Duh!)
I negotiate because then I have more money for other things.
I negotiate because I can.
Why do you ask for a discount? Why do you not? Are there psychological reasons why you do or don’t haggle?