Thursday, November 12, 2009

10% off is just an icebreaker

My husband and I needed new cabinets for our kitchen.  Internet sleuthing revealed that a certain European big box store would soon offer a 10% discount on all kitchens.  On the first day of the sale, we boarded the free shuttle from New York City to GloboSwede.

The shuttle bus disgorged us at the lobby.  It was go time!  We popped some aspirin, emptied our bladders (in the restrooms), and headed to the kitchen section.  There, gleaming under soft halogen lighting, was the model kitchen we had admired in the catalog.  The natural wood grain swirled and glowed beneath our fingertips.  This was our kitchen!

We retreated to the store cafeteria to strategize.  The cabinets were expensive, and we were cheap.  How could we make this work?  All around us, exhausted shoppers with dead eyes gnawed at mass-produced meatballs.  We needed to tread carefully or we could end up like them:  They were paying retail!

We returned to the kitchen section and requested to speak with the manager.  Tony appeared, a balding, middle-aged man who greeted us cheerfully and asked what we needed.  I carefully explained our situation:  We liked the Snörk kitchen and needed about $5000 worth of cabinets.  Our problem was the sale wasn't that exciting.  Was there any chance he could increase the discount? 

Tony looked at us, and we smiled back.  "Uh," he said, "I want to say yes."  He paused for a minute.  "How about I give you another $300 off?"

"Hmmm," I pondered, furrowing my brow.  "It would really make our decision a lot easier if you could increase the discount to 20%."  My husband jumped in like an infomercial:  "We're ready to buy today!"

"Let me think," Tony replied.  Another minute passed.  "Okay, it's a deal."  He led us to an employee and had her place our order.  He wrote out a voucher for $954 - double the advertised discount.  

Overcome with joy, we raced to the checkout and paid for our order.  "Wow, you saved a lot!" the cashier admired.  We beamed with pride and savings.

Rule #1 when dealing with corporations:  
The advertised price is just a suggestion.  There is always room for negotiation, and it costs nothing to try.  You don't even need a sale, just your cajones.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Oh my god! You are good! No, you are god! I am going to use this in my negotiations class!!