A few weeks ago I wrote about saving $50 because I took a chance and negotiated, even though I’m not that kind of girl. (I once bought a car at full sticker price because the salesman told me no negotiations were allowed on that model. For the love of God, how stupid can you be? But I got even with the dealership. I married the owner, and he took the car back.)
Anyway, I challenged you to start negotiating. Look for opportunities to improve your life, I said. Just ask for a sweetener. You might be surprised.
But then I did the exact opposite of what I told you.
Last Tuesday I went to my local gym to see how much it would cost to get a trainer. My workout routine is as old as I am, and I need something I can do at home, because in a few months I’m doing a deep dive into fulltime babysitting.
The sales person told me it would cost $150 to sign up for the training (on top of the gym membership that I already paid for), and $60 a week for one session. Holy crap! Are you kidding me? Pleading poverty, I rose to leave.
But she was a nice young woman, and persistent, so I stayed. I kept thinking of that darned book called Ask for It, and the authors, Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, pleading with us women to believe them. To paraphrase: “women get taken all the time because they don’t ask! Men are richer because they ask!” So I asked her to waive the signup fee. My heart was pounding and I felt awkward (as in, cheap, weak, low-class), but I had this weird feeling that Sara and Linda were hovering over me, arms crossed, and ready to hit me with an imaginary rolling pin. So I stuck to my guns. Well, half my guns – I still thought $60 per session was too high, but I didn’t have any more courage.
The girl went to ask her manager. He came back. We talked. Then he dropped the price! I walked away with NO signup fee and $45 a session, good for as long as I want. No, I am not kidding. I felt like crying and hugging these people. I love them, and I love my gym (only fair to say, it’s LA Fitness).
So here’s what I learned, for future negotiations:
- Before you arrive at the negotiating table, decide what your bottom line is (I failed to do this and it left me sputtering at a time when it was important to appear confident.) My bottom line was $45, a fact I only realized when I walked out of the gym thinking, “I feel good about this price. For this price, I will stick with the program.”
- Remind yourself, once you’re at the table, that women don’t tend to bargain. This leaves more money for the men. So be a man. Bargain.
Since women usually do not bargain (a documented fact), they have less money later in life (also a documented fact). We need to preserve our cash, girls. And, at our age, after all we’ve been through, we should have the cajones to do it.
We might be wrinkly, but what comes with old age? Power!
The power of knowing you’re worth it, whatever it is. Of knowing you’d rather go without, than feel sick about going along. Next time you’re about to spend money, ask yourself if you feel good about it. Ask the seller if there’s any wiggle room. Ask if they can do any better. Ask to step away to make a phone call. Ask for time to think. Ask for anything, but for the sake of your own well-being, learn to ask.