If You Don’t Ask

Hi, I’m Jim, and I’m a Scorpio. A November baby, but if you’re thinking of getting me a present next year then (1) I’d prefer cash and (2) I’d like to combine it with your Christmas present (also cash) so I can buy myself something decent.

The “something decent” I’d planned to allocate cash on this year was a new golf bag. Exciting, eh? I’d been pondering this for some time, as my old one is beginning to look a bit shabby, ripped in places and suffering the results of a few brutal rounds in Scottish weather. In a way, I quite like this, because the golfing fraternity can be often be stuck-up, money orientated and dress conscious (I’ve been asked twice this year to tuck my shirt in!)  that this has been a small rebellion. There comes a time though – such as when your balls are dropping through holes in your pockets – that you have to bite the bullet.

I did my usual research – checked bags in a few of the shops, searched them out  on the internet, read reviews and pondered my choice. Finally I decided on the bag I wanted weekend, and was very close to buying it on Sunday…. but I imposed my 24 hour rule. Sleep on it. Did I really, absolutely need this? Of course not, but come on, it’s my birthday. Treat myself.

Having gone through the requisite mental financial hoops, I found myself in the American Golf store on Monday morning. I was the only person in the shop and the assistant was soon by my side. Normally, I don’t much welcome such attention – I know what I’m there for – but this time I was glad of his presence because I couldn’t see the bag I was after. Their website had said it was in stock. Was it hiding through the back?

“Don’t think so sir. I think it’s somewhere stacked in here”, said the assistant as he dug through the display. Sure enough, he found it. “Here you are…..”

We went through the motions of checking the bag out, but this was the one I was after. I checked the price and it was what I expected too. The only thing was, I’d seen it on a rival online store for about a tenner cheaper.  But what if it turned up damaged, or the wrong design, or with a broken zip, or a missing cover? What a pain that would be to return it. Or what if they were out of stock until after Christmas? I didn’t want to “risk” it. Was all that potential hassle worth a tenner?

I pondered this and suddenly surprised myself by asking the assistant, “Ehrm, I saw this bag online for ten pounds cheaper. Would you match that price?”

The assistant pretended to think for a few seconds and said, “If it’s an exact match, then I think we can do that. Where did you see it?”

“I can’t remember”, I said. “I actually thought it was on your site!” This was a bit of a white lie, but I wasn’t 100% sure where I’d seen it. We were now at the checkout, where an ipad was produced. “Try Online Golf”, I suggested, but he was already ahead of me on Google Shopping.

“Ah yes”, he said, “Here it is, on Golfdeals.com”. (or something)

“That’s right”, I said.  I’d never actually been near that site, but I’m not daft.

“Okay, no problem, we can match that.”

Ya beauty. A tenner saved just for asking the question! I could buy a dozen golf balls with that. Which I don’t need, so give it 24 hours…

I walked out the shop with a spring in my step. I almost never ask for discounts in shops. I don’t know why. British reserve? A sense of embarrassment at being seen as “cheap”? A feeling that it’s pointless? The risk of rejection? Sympathy for the sales guy? All of the above? Possibly. Or maybe I’m just out of practice – because practice is really all takes to get over yourself on something like this.

I seem to recall, years ago, I would have asked for discount on any “big” purchase. Maybe earning decent money for too many years had made me less thrifty? Or more stupid. 

11 thoughts on “If You Don’t Ask

  1. Having recently been stuck behind someone for 10 minutes in the queue at TK Maxx while they were trying to haggle on a price because something was “worn” I can see there is a fine line between being thrifty and being cheap…

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  2. I’ve discovered a new trend on line when you go to cancel some subscription or other. Online in the cancellation process they will often make some attractive offer to make you stay, some of these offers are amazing. For example I cancelled a subscription to a genealogy site and if I stayed the offer was 3 months membership fo only the price I was paying for a single month. So the lesson is to go through the motions of cancelling some subscription, you never know what offer the some up with.

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  3. Bravo! My kids were mortified when I first started my personal trend of asking for better prices (or upgrades) but I think I’ve got the older one (now in university) to do this herself!

    You are so right: if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

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  4. This reminds of the “good guy” discount which is apparently a thing here in America. It’s where you tell the cashier, “How about a good guy discount? You know, I’m a good guy, you’re a good guy…” And maybe the employee uses their employee discount or something. I was vaguely aware of it, and apparently it’s popular enough to get on This American Life. I don’t think I’d ever try it myself.

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/515/good-guys

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  5. Congrats on asking for a price match! I never do it either, I find it embarrassing (for no good reason) but my wife is great at it.
    She also saves us dozens of dollars every months on groceries, by double-checking the total and complaining when a specific discount has not been properly applied (which happens, apparently, a lot more than you’d think at stores like Safeway)

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  6. Well done!

    Websites sometimes have the ‘leave it in the basket for 24hrs or more’ and then you get an email offering you a discount! This is another reason why it is good to wait a few days.
    With the increasing march of technology, plenty of stores will now price match if you ask. I remember buying some stuff from “PC rip off” – buy online it was cheaper than the instore price and just go pick it up!

    I also received a discount when I went to collect my car from the garage after a service and almost gagged at the price they wanted to charge me. They offered me a discount straightaway!

    I helped my sister out the other day too, she had car troubles – a flat battery. The car needed a new one and the guy tried to charged us a stupid price , I immediately said can’t you do a cheaper price. We also rang another garage up while we were there to get another price and haggle! It worked, 30% knocked off the price and fully fitted with a good guarantee period too.

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