While the world and national economies are signicantly worse than words like "sluggish" or "struggling" seem to be able to adequately express or convey, nations such as Greece and state capitals (as of yesterday in Harrisburg, PA) are either contemplating or filing bankruptcy, and the national unemployment rate in our nation remained high at 9.1% as of the end of August, 2011 (with North Dakota ranked lowest at 3.5%, Nevada ranked 51 at 13.1%, California ranked 50 at 12.2% and Washington D.C. and South Carolina tied at position # 47 at 11.1%), I found this morning that the price of a typically "fixed price" breakfast sandwhich at a top fast-food restaurant can be significantly discounted by simply asking and exercising some fairly basic negiation skills.
Maybe it was fluke (or the presence of 3 cars behind me and 1 in front of me with one person working around 6 am), but this is how it "went down"...I happen to know that one of my favorite places sells a ham, cheese and egg sandwich for $.99. I also remembered that while I didn't know the exact price for a substition of bacon or possibly sausage, this was an option, but (of course) for an extra charge...which if over ten or twenty cents, I was unwilling to spend. I also was fully prepared, if necessary, to purchase a biscuit and sausage sandwich for $.99 at a place I would pass enroute to my final destination, should my first choice choose not to negotiate their "fixed" price menu item.
So as I pulled up at the drive thru, I said, "I KNOW I want your ham, cheese and egg sandwich for $.99, but how much would it be if I wanted sausage instead of ham on my second sandwich?" The answer I got was $1.79 plus tax for the second sandwich. I then said, "Well here is the deal...I know I can get a sausage and biscuit sandwich for $1.00 at such and such, so can you match their price if I don't get the egg (forgetting to request the removal of the cheese as well)?" After some apparent fumbling on a calculator or the register, she said, "You know what? Between you and I, we can make it (a sandwich WITH sausage, AND egg and cheese too) work for about $2.00." When she rang me up at the window I received an added surprise when the total (with tax) was discounted to $2.01, meaning I only paid 67% of what I should have...receiving the equivilant of a 33% discount.
I (and I have heard and read of others doing the same thing) have been able to negotiate discounts on things like medical and phone bills, amounts clearly impacted by service and quality issues, and autos and boats, but this was a first for me on an established menu item at a chain fast food restaurant.
So my advice for saving money on just about everything is really quite simple...1. Don't be afraid to ASK for a lower price. 2. Be polite and courteous 3. Be clear, (precise and concise) on what (and possibly why) you are asking and attempting to negotiate 4. If necessary, be prepared to walk (or drive) away if you don't get an acceptable answer, because you can always go somewhere else or even try again at the same place (and probably a different person) tomorrow 5. Be flexible, adaptable and ever-learning like our friend Forest Gump (and I learned today) who likened life to a box of chocalates..."cause you never do know what you're gonna get"...and I would add that a box of chocolates contains mostlly chocolate, and chocolate is pretty good stuff by most people's standards.
For more information on Dan Getz or Dance4One, please visit www.Dance4One.blogspot.com or www.Dance4One.com.