September 04, 2012

Blowing the Dust Off this Thing

Yes, I'm a bad blogger. More accurately, I'm an absent blogger. I don't drop by this place very much any more. I used to apologize for this, but it's become so commonplace that apologizing is just an empty gesture, a waste of digital effort.

So, I don't apologize for not blogging. In fact, you know what? Poop on you. I do this for free, so blah, blah, blah.

I try to think about why, exactly, I don't blog as much. . . or at all, for that matter, any more, and then I look around the store my wife and I have opened, and then I glance at the picture of my two-year-old boy and one-year-old girl, and then I realize why, exactly, I don't blog as much, or at all, any more.

Which is a shame, really. Because there are so many stories that I could be, and should be, sharing about opening a store and about raising my kids, and about not being able to afford daycare WHILE attempting to open and run a store with two kids. There are honestly hundreds of little daily stories about on-the-fly logistical considerations that get lost in the neural cacophony of day-to-day existence.

And I really want to remember some of this craziness 50 years from now when I'm drooling into a pillow while a nurse inserts my daily suppository--which won't be a medical necessity, mind you; I just think it would be pretty hot to have a young female nurse digging in my butt when I'm 87-years-old. But then, if you've read this blog at all over the years, you probably already knew that.

Anyhoo. . .

My point is, I want to try to resurrect this blog--sorry, THUNDERJOURNAL--a bit, time and ambition willing, because there really is a lot I'd like to relate, both for myself and for the one or two of you out there who actually still haunt this dilapidated excuse for an online journal.

So, today, I'd like to talk about "haggling."

One of the reasons my wife really wanted to open a store was so she could put actual price tags on stuff, thereby heading off any attempt at tiresome negotiation. You see, prior to opening the store, my wife sold a several items out of our home via Craigslist. And everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, attempted to haggle a lower price.

We're not gypsies. We don't enjoy haggling. Some people are great at haggling. I, on the other hand, consider haggling to be too similar to arguing, and my wife and I argue enough about money as it is without having to extend the argument to countless third parties.

Thus, we opted to open a store, so we could post prices which would ideally preempt any haggling considerations. Much to our surprise, posted price tags actually seems to have had exactly the opposite intended effect. If anything, we've had even more people attempting to haggle. It's almost as if price tags are seen as more like suggestions than hard and fast, you know, PRICES. I'm tempted to extend the same philosophy to traffic signs. I wonder how that would play out:

OFFICER: Are you aware you just ran through three STOP signs?

ME: But, were they really stop signs?

OFFICER: Huh? Yes. Yes, they clearly are "STOP" signs.

ME: Are you sure they aren't "GO AHEAD IF NO ONE'S VISIBLE" signs?

OFFICER: Of course I'm sure! What are you trying to pull here? You know what, never mind; just blow into this. . .

I suppose, in many ways, haggling is a manifestation of the current ongoing economic woes. Everyone is looking to save money, which is understandable, but when you're trying to get by as a small store with a shoestring budget and crushing overhead expenses, haggling becomes a debilitating ritual that simply takes up more time and effort than I'd like to expend. Actually, I don't like expending time and effort on pretty much anything, so haggling is just another thing I have to throw on the pile of things I don't want to expend time and effort upon. Of course, throwing haggling on the pile is just ANOTHER thing I don't want to expend time and effort on. Honestly, it's all a self-perpetuating and vicious cycle.

But, I suppose haggling is here to stay, because there are just way too many people who enjoy the activity. But, perhaps I can make a suggestion? For all you would-be hagglers out there, could you maybe just do your haggling entirely within your head?

I know it sounds weird, but I'm just asking you to try it. I'm haggling with you about it, if you will. The next time you see a price tag, ask yourself "Do I think they'll negotiate a lower price?" and then answer yourself "Possibly. Do I think they'll go down 25 percent?" and then say "25 percent seems like quite a bit. What about 15 percent?" From there, say to yourself "Well, 15 percent isn't very much; maybe only a few bucks at the most. Do I really think it's worth it?" And then, finally, resolve within your own mind "No, it's really not worth it. These people are trying to make a living, after all. They probably even have two kids to feed. Who am I to negotiate a piece of bread from a child's mouth?"

YOU: Hi, I'd like to buy this lamp.

ME: Sure! Thank you so much, and have a great day!

Posted by Ryan at September 4, 2012 10:06 AM | TrackBack
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