I'd like to tell the world that I did something uncharacteristically bold today, something I've never done before. I bargained on the price of an item in a store and got a better than advertised deal. I went to the mall looking for a few presents, among them a multitool for my brother (don't tell him) and on the way to Eddie Bauer I stopped in Restoration Hardware, which has tables of neat looking little gadgets very similar to those at EB. I continued to EB and found the multitool I was looking for and was about to check out when the salesperson asked if I'd noticed their buy-one-gadget-get-one-gadget-half-off sale.
I said I'd check it out. There were a few things I considered maybe getting in addition to the multitool, perhaps as a gift for someone else, among them a little multitool in the shape of a key that can be carried on a key ring, but it was $16.50 at EB. I decided to check the gadgets at RH again. There I found the same key-shaped multitool, same brand, marked at $12.00, and RH's gadget sale was 30% off all gadgets, so it was really only $8.00. That still seemed like a bit much for this simple little tool, and I still wanted the original multitool at EB. So I returned to EB, explained RH's price on the key tool, and made them the following proposition: If I would buy the multitool there, would they give me RH's price on the key multitool, making it $12.00, and, as the lesser of the two gadgets I was buying, apply their sale to RH's price, allowing me to purchase the key tool for $6.00? The woman behind the counter handed the problem over to the other salesperson, and I explained the proposition again to him. He looked at the items for about two seconds and then said, "Sure."
For the utili-key, marked at $16.50, I paid $6.00, a discount of 64% and for no other reason than that I asked for it.
I guess it goes to show that it's a buyer's market this year -- everything in the stores is on sale, and they're so desperate to move merchandise that if you ask for a better price you just might get it. The guy agreed to the discount so quickly that afterward I thought I should have gone lower. But the real story is that I asked at all. In between discovering the price and sale difference and actually asking about it I spent a good hour and a half... maybe two... wandering the mall aimlessly, running over the hypothetical scenario in my mind, planning out everything I might say and how they might respond and what I might say in return, and even how I would tell people about it afterward. But I didn't expect to do it, not really. At any given point, the most likely outcome was just buying the single multitool and leaving. After all, I didn't really need the utili-key and wasn't really sure what I'd do with it, and I don't advocate buying for the sake of buying. If I spent no money I'd be getting a better deal than if I spent six dollars on something I didn't really need. But it became a personal challenge in my mind, to see if I could do it. And in spite of my general anxiety about interacting with humans any more than absolutely necessary, I did, and got rewarded for it, and that feels pretty good. I should definitely be brave enough to ask about things like that in the future.