You Can’t Always Get What You Want

In Ramit Sethi’s book, “I Will Teach You To Be Rich,” he compares frugal people to cheap people. He has a post on his site showing some of the differences. Some of the comparisons include:

Cheap people try to get the lowest price on everything.

Frugal people try to get the lowest price on most things, but spend a lot on items they really care about.

The one that applies here is:

Cheap people are unreasonable and cannot understand why they can’t get something for free. Sometimes this is an act, but sometimes it’s not.

Frugal people will try as hard as cheap people to get a deal, but they understand that it’s a dance and, in the end, they don’t intrinsically deserve a special deal.

About 3 months ago I purchased a pair of pants from Gap. They looked good in the store, but after wearing them a few times, they just weren’t for me. I knew that it was too late to return them, so I went into the store to ask what they could do to help me. I explained my situation, but unfortunately the sales clerk said that they don’t accept returns past 30 days. I asked for store credit. No. I asked to just choose a different size of the same style. Nope.

So, I asked for the manager. I’ve been getting more and more experience negotiating, and at this point, I have a pretty good idea of what it takes to get what you want. Unfortunately, the manager wasn’t willing to help me, either. I didn’t yell at him, I didn’t argue for an hour, and I’m certainly not bashing the store now. They have policies and I’m no exception. So now I’m left with a pair of pants that don’t fit perfectly.

The point is that just because we don’t like the way something is, doesn’t mean we have a right to change it. Sure, it would have been nice to get a new pair of pants, but I completely understand why I was denied. Had I come in a week or two earlier, things might have been different.

When negotiating, take a step back and think about what you’re negotiating for and whether you have a better argument that the other guy. “Because I don’t like paying full price” works sometimes, but other times it’s best to move on and learn from your experience. The lesson I learned is to read the return policy carefully.

One Response to You Can’t Always Get What You Want

  1. The strongest negotiator is the one who doesn’t care and walks away. Always walk away!

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