Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Virgin pinches a pretty penny

#34 Never Have I Ever: Haggled (in North America)

Foreplay: I'm horribly shy when talking to strangers, and even worse when I'm demanding something from them.

However, last year I spent 18 days in China where I skipped around the entire country, never staying in one city for more than 3 days. It was an amazing adventure where I ate tons of food (and will never want hot & sour sauce ever again), learned a few key phrases in Mandarin (bu, bu shi wo nanpengyou, shi wo gege = no, he is not my boyfriend, he is my older brother), and haggled for the first time in my life.

Since I was almost positive that Barnes & Noble wouldn't appreciate my mad bargaining skills, they dropped by the wayside.

The Down and Dirty: The sales team asked that I research and book a limo for their trip to the MI6 Awards in San Francisco 2 days from then. The west coast rep, although a fabulous man with a snotty but cute Schnauzer, is very neurotic and particular with his specific requests. I had to do a fair amount of Yelping and calling around for oh about 4 hours before I managed to find one company who fit the requirements: a white Lincoln stretch limo that can seat 12 and was available in 2 days.

When I called him with this news, the rep enthusiastically said great! -- and can I talk the price down?

Um. What? I spent 4 hours with the phone glued to my ear, calling half of San Francisco, and you want me to ask the dude to knock a few dollars off the only vehicle in the Bay Area that fits your requests? Yes. Yes, he did.

And so back on the phone I went with the limo guy.

Daily Virgin: Hi, I just called about the stretch limo. What did you say the price was again? (because playing dumb totally works?)
Limo Guy: It's $110 each hour. Tax and tip are not included. (he had actually knocked down the price from $135 without my having to ask earlier)
Daily Virgin: OK. Well, see... my company is looking to contract a limo service in San Francisco in the upcoming months since we are starting to get clients there. Is there any discount?
Limo Guy: -silence for a few moments- I can give it to you for $110 out the door.
Daily Virgin: (because I am dumb, not playing anymore) Out the door?
Limo Guy: Yes, $110 tax and tip included in that price.

After further conversation, I was somehow able to talk him into giving me a discount on a 16-seater party bus for $135/hour. And then got a 18-seater party bus for that price as well.

When I called the rep back with the news, there was stunned silence on the other line and then, "Wow. You are amazing." I heard him murmur to his assistant, "Can we get her to come up here and work with us?"

High fiiiiive!

The Afterglow: Apparently after my haggling session, there's now some talk about moving me into the marketing department. I was already going to change positions due to my promotion, but I'm not really sure where I am ending up now.

Maybe I do have a way with words that can do more than criticize bad-dressers and tell inappropriate jokes. Woot!

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