The Age of No Negotiation

Back in the day when I worked in a department store, we had this one manager that was extremely passionate about making sure that the customer was take care of. I even remember one occasion where a customer brought in a 10 year old item that stopped working. The customer was upset (I would not be if something lasted me that long) and the manager made sure they were taken care of. The customer left with a smile on their face and a brand new item in the hand. Now that is what customer satisfaction is all about.

I told you that story to get to something that happened to me in a store the other day. I went to a local department store, let’s call it BullsEye, to look at a hybrid bike that they had in their ad. It was $199 down from the regular price of $220, about a 10% discount. I had my wallet in my hand and the money was practically in their cash register. Of course when I got their, they were sold out and offered me a rain check. The spontaneous person that I am, I noticed another bike that was rather similar and it was regular price for $249. I asked the salesperson to speak to a manager and they arrived shortly thereafter. I told them that I was looking to take home a bike today and reminded them that the one in the ad was sold out. I told the manager that if they were willing to knock 10% off the price of the $249 bike, then I would give them my money and be on my way. She quickly said no and then walked away! Are you kidding me? Since when doesn’t a store want money?!?

Needless to say, I left the store without buying anything and I really don’t know if I ever want to go back. Are we now living in a age where nothing is negotiable? I have been reading You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen (which you can find in my recommended reading section), and I am beginning to wonder if he was wrong. It didn’t seem to work for me!

This post was more of a rant than anything, but I want to see what other people have been experiencing. Have we now become a world where customer service doesn’t matter or are the store managers just improperly trained? If I was in that managers position, I would have given the customer the discount. I would rather lose $25 on one sale then lose hundreds later because they never came back to shop at my store.

Has anyone else experiened anything like this lately? Has anyone had great customer service to the point where it is the only place you shop now?

photo by: gak

6 thoughts on “The Age of No Negotiation

  1. Kimberly

    That’s why I prefer to shop at local places for big-ticket items. A lot of the time, you’ll be dealing with the owner themselves, and they’re much more likely to negotiate than a drone at a big corporate place. Recently, I helped a friend shop for a new mattress. We went to a big chain store first, and they wouldn’t budge on the price. Then we looked at a local store. After negotiating, they agreed to give her the queen-size mattress for the price of the full, plus free delivery. Add to that the good karma that comes along with helping out a local business, and it was a great deal.

  2. Philip

    I am impressed you took the effort to ask. When I am in a big box store I just assume that even the managers could care less, their paycheck is not dependant on the few customers that come to them with questions.

    In smaller stores where there is some bearing on the person you are talking to the stores success I try sometimes.

  3. CashCrate Guide

    That sucks man. I wish we could negotiate things more. I think Kimberly has a point though……try and stick with local stores.

  4. Line

    A couple of weeks ago I went to esprit to return a pair of jeans that completely had lost their form after 3 washings. I had the receipt and was asking for store credit. Of course, since they were bought a month and a week ago rather than a month ago they said that they couldn’t do anything for me and wouldn’t even look at the jeans. I told them that they would lose a long time faithful customer and they actually said “that’s ok” really arrogantly. I certainly won’t set my foot in another Esprit store again knowing that they don’t take responsibility for the quality of their clothes.

  5. Pete

    That’s pretty sad that they wouldn’t take 10% off for you, even though they regularly ask if you want to save 10% off at the register just for signing up for their credit cards.. Go figure. You probably just got a manager that didn’t care. better luck next time!

  6. Smitty

    I guess I’m an old fart but I’m rather amazed that a “20 something” even gets the concept of customer service.That they remember a time when it existed as the norm rather than the exception is even more amazing.
    As I’ve watched generation Y join the job market I get the feeling I’m seeing the decline of western civilization.
    I don’t intend to be insulting but rather offer an observation.
    It is now just fine to piss off customers .It is ok and funny to destroy your employers property and steal from him.It doesn’t matter if customers and coworkers get injured because of laziness or lying about a job being done.Hey it’s funny and like maybe you can film it with your Iphone and put it on youTube.
    It is just fine to slack off and make your coworkers work extra hard to do your share as well.They are just uncool and stupid for not slacking off too.
    Don’t expect things to get better until you expect and demand better.Don’t put up with slacker Bullshit anymore.Even if the slacker is your buddy.They bring us all down.

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