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 canâ€t get something for free. Sometimes this is an act, but sometimes itâ€s not.

Frugal people will try as hard as cheap people to get a deal, but they understand that itâ€s a dance and, in the end, they donâ€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.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Sweating the Big Stuff

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