I’ve never loved bartering. Maybe I’ve never loved it because I’ve never been good at it. Even on EBay, I never enjoy the auction aspect. I usually just “Buy now” because I can’t take the stress. I also just started parking in the back of parking lots because I have eternally given up on ever finding good spots.
My stepdad, Carl, on the other hand is a master of getting deals. Whenever anyone in the family needs a deal, we go to Carl. He knows his stuff about cars, houses, boats, and a ton of other areas that I know squat about.
When it came time to buy my car this past December, I of course went to Carl. I sat there like an idiot while he pretty much handled every single part of it all. Every once in a while they’d look at me and ask me a question, and I’d end up just looking at him like I was speaking for the Godfather or something. But we got a great deal on a great car.
When I hear about people that get great deals, I usually hear about how rude and mean you have to be to get what they wanted. While that type of method may be true in some scenarios, my mom and I have watched Carl in countless other scenarios handle people with respect and kindness. And he still gets amazing deals. He finds a way to connect with people, and even sympathizes with whom he’s dealing with. Because the truth is, the majority of time the person you’re talking to about an issue is not the person responsible for it, and they’re just trying to do their job.
I had a few issues I had come up this week, so I tried the Carl approach.
One was that I wanted a different parking spot in my building. They have me on the top floor of six levels, and I wanted to see if I could get a lower one. So I wrote a nice email to the staff and said that I would really appreciate it if they had any open lower that I could have. Yesterday, they gave me one on the bottom floor, which literally couldn’t be a better spot.
I also had an issue with a bookshelf we had ordered that came in completely smashed up and broken. The refund details online said that they would only refund a certain amount of what was paid. So I called the company who sent it and a lady answered. I explained to her what had happened and that I felt I should get an entire refund. I went on to say that I wanted to keep ordering from their website but that this was an issue. I never got angry or berated her, and I even ended up getting her to laugh. We got a full refund.
Now clearly these are two examples of times when this sort of ordeal went really well, and sometimes it won’t be so easy and we will deal with worse people. But you have to remember that some people deal with angry customers for a living, and by the time you get to them they have no nerves left. They also may be looking for someone to treat them like a person.
There’s no reason to not at least start out with the Carl approach. You might find you get some great deals while keeping your integrity in tact.