Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dicker Or Dictate?

I loved the story my aunt told when I was a boy. She had been in Juarez, Mexico and bought a purse. The price started exorbitantly high and kept going down each time she walked away. She finally paid a small fraction of the original price.

A similar incident took place many years ago with a pastor I knew. He had his eye on a particular leather briefcase in a local office supply store. He knew that the owner of the store was Jewish and that the man believed it essential to sell something to his first customer of the week for business to be good during the rest of the week. He waited patiently at the door as the store opened on Monday morning. He said he wanted the briefcase, but it was too expensive for him. The owner kept lowering the price until my friend could buy it.

Both of these people loved to dicker. They enjoyed the game of cat and mouse with sellers.

My dad, on the other hand, didn't want to dicker. Not at all. I'll never forget the last car he purchased for him and mom. It was unusual because dad had spent years in the car business. He knew it well and had a very short string with the typical ploys salesmen make to close a deal.

Dad went to a car dealer in a nearby town and found a car he was interested in. Here is what he told the salesman...

"I spent my life in the car business and I know the book value of this car. I also know that your company has to make some money just to keep the doors open and I have no problem with that. Here is the way I will deal with you. You tell me the best price you can afford to sell this car for. If it's a good price, I will buy it and won't dicker with you. If your price is high, I will turn you down and walk away. If you try to lower the price, I will know you didn't give me your lowest price in the first place. That will mean you weren't honest and I won't do business with you."

They looked at their records and gave dad the price.

He bought the car.

What about you? Do you dicker or dictate?


Eternal Lizdom said...

I need a third option. :)

I tend to choose where I shop based on my trust in that company's pricing and business practices.

I bought my car from a company that I knew had fair prices and that didn't do the bargaining thing.

I work in procurement and am skilled in negotiations so you would think that I'd be eager to apply my skills elsewhere. But I guess I figure that there are "me's" throughout the industries that are working to get the best pricing so they can offer reasonable prices while still bringing in a profit.


I don't dicker well so seldom even try. I know I've gotten "bad" deals because of it. But, at least I know someone ate a good meal that night. And when I'm the seller, I always loose... I pretty much just give things away.
Think I'll try your Dad's method next time. He sounds like a pretty smart man.

Scott said...

I don't like to dicker. The last car I bought from a dealership I told the man what I would do for him and what he could do for me. Both sides very fair. If he could make the deal we were good, if he didn't make the deal I was walking. He came back to try and negotiate, I was furious and we got up and walked out. They sent another salesman out to stop us and he made the deal I wanted. I was not proud of my behaviour, but I hate negotiating, especially for cars.

Isabella said...

I don't like to dicker (I had no idea this was what it was called until this post). This is why I would never shop at marketplaces in other countries where this is a mandatory activity to buy something.

administration said...

While visiting Jerusalem I was told by the locals that the Jewish shopkeepers would be insulted if you try to dicker, but the Arab shopkeeper would be insulted if you did not try to dicker. I dicker on cars and houses. It's part of the game.