A friend of mine was laughing at how his father negotiates the price of practically everything. Recently, they had gone to a hardware store, where my friend watched in bemused horror as a negotiation commenced over the price of a few nails and screws.
“You have to realize,” my friend said, laughing, “these cost like fifteen cents each. Yet my dad wanted a better deal!”
To most people, this doesn’t even seem worth the time. And maybe it isn’t.
But after giving it some thought, my friend acknowledged a few things.
First, his father does shop at this store on a frequent basis, where he purchases both small and big-ticket items, alike. And this sort of banter is just part of the routine. It’s how he and his buddies interact. It’s a function of their relationship, and they have fun with it.
More important is this: for some people, there’s no cost-benefit analysis with this sort of thing. For them, this approach ─ where everything is negotiable ─ is simply a way of life. It’s the sort of thing one just does automatically, like holding the door for the person behind you or putting your blinker on when you go to make a turn.
A couple other points…
If you’re preparing for a large transaction, it can help to consult with a person like this ahead of time. They’ll often see angles you’d fail to notice, approaches you wouldn’t have considered.
And if you find yourself on the other side of a transaction with this type of individual, consider treating it as an opportunity to sharpen your own negotiation skills.
Just make sure their way of life doesn’t control yours. I’ve said this before: there’s a hierarchy to every negotiation. And if you’re not prepared when dealing with people who enjoy hammering out every last detail, you could find yourself hammered down like a fifteen-cent nail.