Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Haggler

"Coming to CBS next Spring: A middle aged Jewish man WILL get the price he wants. No businessman is too tough. No female executive can withstand his charms. He is...THE HAGGLER!"

Becky seems to think I have greater haggling skills than she does. She claims that people can walk all over her, but that I have some superhuman ability to get what I want the way I want it. And this is all because of her current internet connection.

It's crap. We used to have voice AND video chat daily. Now we don't dare turn on video until we say goodnight, as that will throw all Skype settings into the red, and the video will be a colorful smudge, if that. She needs a solid connection. And because all utilities are included with her rent, she needs to approach the landlord about getting cable internet or the like. as we discussed this, she said that she would offer to pay more if it was necessary, to which I replied, "No! Never offer to pay more unless he asks for it. Because once you offer, that's all he'll think about."

Little things like that in our conversations seem to make her feel that I have some great power that I, thankfully, only use for the benefit of mankind. If put toward evil purposes, mankind would suffer...or something.

While chatting earlier today, I explained that my "powers" were nothing compared to that of the master, my father. And so I told her the story of how he took me to buy a car.

What happened is that I'd driven my personal vehicle to pick up some parts for the family business. On the return, someone ran a red light and we collided at about 30 MPH. The front end of my car was ruined. It had to be towed from the accident site. Because this happened while I performing a task for the business, Dad offered to buy me another used car.

We drove to Langhorn, Pennsylvania, which I believe is a town made of nothing but used car dealerships. No one actually LIVES there. We went to several lots, and were at one where I'd finally found a car I liked that was within Dad's price range. We sat down with a salesman, and it was then that my blood sugar decided to drop. So all we wanted to do was run out for some lunch, and we'd come back to make our purchase.

Oddly, the salesman didn't see it that way. He thought we were making excuses to leave and not come back. Thus, he started trying to strong-arm us into making a deal, right then and there. "If you don't take this deal right now, it won't be here when you get back."

That's when Dad spoke up. "We're not coming back. My son is a diabetic. He needs food. Instead of offering to be patient, you tried sales tactics. For that, you lose the sale entirely." (Or something like that.)

And then we left.

The next dealership we went to had a 1987 Chevy Camaro with a V6 engine. It was priced around $5,200. Well, I'd never owned a phallic symbol on wheels, and this was my chance. So we sat down with yet another salesman, and the haggling began. Of course, when one hears "haggling," one assumes both sides keep adjusting their price until a deal is made. Not so when it came to my father.

Salesman: Okay...So we have a price of $5,200...
Dad: Yeah, I'm not paying that much. I have $4,000 cash to spend right now.
Salesman: Well, I suppose I could bring it down to about $4,900, but -
Dad: You're not listening. I have $4,000 in cash to spend right now.
Salesman: Okay...I'll go talk with my manager.

Off he goes in what is a common trick. The salesperson will walk off, out of sight of his customers, talk to no one, and return with another offer. I'm almost positive that's what this guy did.

Salesman: My manager says we could probably come as low as $4.500 -
Dad: You're still not listening. I have $4,000 to spend right now. If you won't take it, I'm sure someone else will.
Salesman: Okay...Let me get my manager.

This time he really did talk to a manager, because they both came back to talk to us.

Manager: Sir, I believe reducing the price by $700 is adequate enough. And $4,500 for that car is practically a steal.
Dad: Okay. (To me) Come on, Rob. These guys don't want our money that badly.
Manager: What if we cut another $200?
Dad: Make it $4,000 and you have your sale. Otherwise, we take our business elsewhere.

Well, that's how I ended up with an '87 Camaro at just $4,000. Dad named his price and simply refused to budge. And while Becky believes I'm some kind of haggling god, I pale in comparison to the man who taught me how to seek a bargain. So...

"Next week on THE HAGGLER! The master becomes a student once more when he has to face his father. Will our hero be able to learn the secret of 'The Golden Coupon'? Find out next week!" =P

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