being assertive really pays off

September 24th, 2007

Being Assertive Really Pays Off

I went to Babies R Us this weekend to buy diapers for my kids because they were having a sale on their store brand, which is what I generally use. As I was walking in, I saw a sign on the door advertising a “Buy 1 get 1 50% off” special on Carter’s clothing. It was the fine print that caught my attention though – “Including clearance items“. My big failing when going into that store is their clearance racks – I love the clothes there and I generally cannot resist looking through the clearance racks and end up buying things that the kids don’t really need.

I went in, went to the back of the store and got the diapers, and then headed to the checkout, but was, of course, sidetracked by the clearance racks. But I had a plan in mind. My daughter does not need any clothes right now, but my son actually does need one or two more pairs of pants and some fall PJs since he has outgrown most of last spring’s PJs. So my plan was to just look at the boy’s rack and if they had anything at a really good price I could consider it.

I did have to walk past the girl’s rack to get to the boy’s one, and I was almost derailed by a very cute fall shirt. But I was strong! I picked it up and looked at it for a few minutes, but ultimately I walked on, leaving it behind. When I got to the boy’s rack, I found three potential items. One was a pair of pants that were only $3 but they were kind of ugly (to me). My son does need more pants and these were a good price but you can’t buy something just because it is cheap if it is ugly. There’s a reason that made it to the clearance rack, after all. But the other two options…. two pairs of adorable Carter’s fall PJs. So not only was I getting PJs at clearance prices but one would be 50% off!

But there’s more, and where the assertive part comes in. One of the two pairs of PJs, the rack itself had been rolled over onto the leg of the pants. I had to physically move the rack to rescue the pants. The wheel of the rack left scuff marks on the leg and a little bit of the fabric was disturbed – not ripped, but definitely damaged. It was hardly noticeable, and they were PJs after all, but I thought to myself, I can at least ask someone about a discount. So I brought the PJs up to the customer service counter, took a deep breath, and explained how the PJs had been caught under the rack and asked if they were willing to discount the PJs any further. The salesperson took the PJs to her manager and I waited, pretending to be busy with something in my cart because I’m not really good at this asking thing yet and I didn’t want to make eye contact, and the salesperson came back and said they would discount it 20%. Yay!

So, just for speaking up a little bit, I saved even more on two totally cute pairs of PJs for my son, which I actually needed. The money off the price was good, but even better, I’m starting to speak up and ask for things. That’s a mindset that will serve me well in the future. I am generally an assertive person in other aspects of my life, but not when it comes to money. But I’m learning. And saving some money in the process. Every discount matters. :)


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9 Responses to “Being Assertive Really Pays Off”

  1. Way to speak up! :-)

    Yesterday I noticed some dented cans in the store and thought about asking for a discount for them. But then I remembered we live in the ghetto where other Giants send their dented or about-to-be expired stuff (seriously! We’ve learned to check dates so we don’t buy expired bread or chocolate, for instance). So I doubted the manager would care. Somebody was going to buy it, after all.

  2. The worst possible thing that could happen is they say no.

    I always look for dented, previously opened, slightly damaged products and try to get discounts. In most every case they’ll give you 10-20% off.

    Good for you…make eye contact though, it tells them you are serious…key point in successful negotiating.

    Also, if they ask you how much you think they should take off, don’t tell them. Always make them through out the first number. If it’s not what you think it should be, counter. If they force you to throw out a number, throw out something ridiculous like 50%.

    Make it a game, that’s what I do. I love to negotiate.

  3. I think the best part of your story is avoiding the cute girl clothing that you didn’t need! :)

  4. Wow! That took courage to ask–I don’t know if I’d be able to!

  5. Thanks!

    @Mrs Micah – you never know… they might give you a discount just to get rid of you. lol

    @glblguy… I am not a shrewd negotiator hee hee. baby steps :)

    @SavingDiva – that is true! I did not buy that shirt :) . Why am I still thinking about the shirt….

    @thisisbeth… you can do it too! I think it becomes easier. that is my theory at least.


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