I recently needed a memory card for my camera, so I did a little research about what was available and then checked on a store’s website to find that it was going to be just under $20. I could even order it online and have it shipped to the store for no additional charge.
Since I was in a hurry, I just headed out to run my other errands, and figured I would just stop by the store and pick up the card.
When I arrived at the store, I was shocked to see that the card was $25, not the $20 listed on the site. That is a 25% increase!
I made sure I had my “I’m curious” attitude in place, and spoke with the young man working there. I explained what I had found online versus what I was seeing on the shelf, and he stated that the price in the store was correct, but offered to check online for me.
He did, and discovered that, indeed, the card was quite a bit less, and could be ordered for same day pickup in the store.
I asked how that worked, and he said that when an order was placed, he would take the card from the shelf to the counter for pickup.
(Hmmm, my inner self wonders in complete puzzlement, isn’t that what he would do if I wanted to buy it now? . . .)
Waiting a few moments for the absurdity of the situation to sink in for us both, with my friendly and bemused attitude in place, and curiosity driving my question, I asked that if I went home to order the card, and then returned, at that point would I be able to purchase it for the $20?
He thought for a few moments, and answered “yes”, but added after a beat or two of silence, “But that would be silly. If you would like to buy it, I can override the price and give it to you for what you would have paid online.”
I thanked him, and happily bought my card.
What lessons can we take from this, dear readers?
Prioritize your time better. If I had done so, I could have ordered the card online. As shown in this case and generally speaking, better deals are available when you are not rushed.
Practice being curious. It will take you much farther than being angry. This is applicable in every aspect of your life, especially in dealing with your family.
Remember to be friendly and respectful. Folks in retail take a lot of guff from customers, much of it undeserved, and they appreciate being treated well, just as we all do.
Get over your fear of asking about a lower price or bargaining. If done respectfully and with a win-win attitude, it is completely appropriate, whether at a yard sale or a retail outlet.
How and where I spend my money matters. I want great value when I make a purchase, and, yes, that does not always mean buying an item for the lowest price. Also, please look beyond the “Geez, it’s only $5” to the bigger picture, to the practice of building your wise money management muscles. Although $5 may not seem like much by itself, being informed and intentional when I part with my cash helps me move forward slowly but surely towards my financial goals, and it will help you as well.
Share with us how you have been successful at your intersection of frugality, time management, fear and curiosity.