Watched a report on TV a few days ago about a lady who refuses to pay full price for anything. The lesson of the report was that you should never accept the offered price, because most times, you can get a bargain. Today, I tested the theory.
On my way to Albany, I was heading to Penn Station and realized I was without an iPhone charger. Not because I forgot it, but because my charger has been acting crazy, charging sometimes, at other times I can’t get a charge if it’s plugged into the wall but I can if it’s connected to my computer, at other times, neither works. So at home, I can get creative and use any of a few other emergency type cords that I take hiking (a solar battery hook-up, etc) but I wouldn’t have access to these on the trip.
So, I was at 34th Street and decided to try to get a cheap charger for the road. I stepped into an electronics store, one of those stores where every square inch of the display window has a sticker and they all end with 99cents. I figured if I could get a cheap charger, this might be the place.
When I asked for the price of the iPhone charger, the two men behind the counter, both of them, hesitated. They looked at me. They had already noticed the luggage that I was wheeling around, so they assessed my clothes, my coat, I guess to determine if I was a tourist or a New Yorker, and to quote me a price based on my appearance.I didn’t know if I should be grateful or offended, but the spokesperson, the seller, perhaps the more aggressive of the two, he finally said “It’s $30.”
I said, “No thanks” and started to walk away. As I was leaving, they started to reduce the price. “It’s $30 but if you want it, you can give me $25.”
What does that mean If I want it? I am here because I want to buy a charger. Do they think this is an exercise in futility, some research I am doing for a sociology paper. Regardless, I wasn’t about to pay $25 for something my friend calls a disposable charger – it charges once and then you have to throw it away. So I repeated, “No, thank you”, and opened the door to leave.”
“Okay, give me $20,” he shouted as I wheeled my bag through the door. I was already outside so he probably didn’t hear my response because I was facing the noisy traffic going down Seventh Avenue but I could hear him.
As the door was closing, I turned back to look at him, and he was hanging over the counter and shouting, “Do you have $15?”
At that point, I thought about going back to get it, but it’s the principle of the thing.
I went across the street. The man in the kiosk on that corner quoted me”$8″ for an identical item. So of course, testing my theory (didn’t I just say this was’t a test?) I asked, “Can you give me a better price?”
He responded, “Regular price is $10 and I’m giving you for $8”
I said, “But you never said $10. You said $8. So can I get a better price?”
“Regular price, $10. If you want it, you give me $8.”( More of that “If i want it” language. What is up with these salesmen?)
I looked at him. He looked at me. I opened my wallet and gave him the $8.
While I waited to start my trip, I charged my phone. I don’t know if it will charge tomorrow. That’s the thing with these disposable chargers. No guarantees. But then there are so few guarantees in life – death, taxes and a new movie every Saturday night on HBO. But I am happier to pay $8 than $15 or $30 or anything between for the same item.
So sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it never hurts to try. Wonder what I can get a better price on tomorrow? Maybe I can ask the hotel if they can knock a couple bucks off if I don’t drink the complimentary tea they’ve arranged so nicely in my room. Or maybe if I make up my own bed, they’ll shave off a few dollars each day. I mean, it never hurts to ask, right?
So, are you a bargain hunter? How is that working out for you?