alpaca princess (renniekins) wrote,
alpaca princess

Not Much of a Negotiator

I sold my old couch today, the one from the basement -- I'd listed it on Craig's List. A guy emailed me about it, asking if he could come look at it. I scheduled him for a time when M would be around also, since I'm not thrilled about letting strangers in my house when I'm alone.

I emailed him back, asking how interested in buying it he was. He said he'd take it, if he liked it. Then he asked if the price was negotiable, since he's a student without much money.

In my original listing, I said it was $90 but I'd listen to reasonable offers. However I didn't respond to his question by email, because I didn't want to just automatically start lowering the price when he didn't even know if he'd like it.

When he showed up today, he arrived with a trailer and two buddies. That was a good sign. I showed them the couch, they all sat on it, and agreed they liked it.

He hadn't mentioned the price. "Is $90 still okay?" I asked him, to allow the bargaining to begin.

"Yes, it seems a little steep, but if you're firm on the price...."

I didn't know quite what to say to that. I was prepared to come down a little bit if he asked, but he didn't even make a counter-offer. I wasn't going to just randomly pick a lower number, if he was willing to pay the full price! It was so weird -- somebody needs to teach this boy how to haggle.

"Okay, cool," was what I ended up saying.

In fact it's a large three piece L-shaped sofa. It was originally purchased for well over $1000. It's just that it's over 10 years old, and has sat in my basement for a few years. Although it's been loved by cats for awhile, it's still a solid and comfortable piece of furniture. I used it almost daily. I felt $90 was a bargain myself, but had expected to negotiate anyway.

The guys started maneuvering the pieces up my stairs and out to their trailer. I kept waiting for the kid to talk about the price. I figured he should mention the work of carrying it up the stairs, or the fact that I was clearly wanting to be rid of it (he could see that the carpet in the basement had been removed from everywhere but the floor the couch was sitting on). But he said nothing.

I was casting about in my head for some reason to knock a little bit off, even without him asking. The whole thing seemed quite silly. All he had to say was "How about $80" and I would have agreed, but without him making the first move I didn't know what to do.

I finally decided in my head that when he paid me, I'd just hand him $10 back. After all they seemed like good enough kids, and it wouldn't do me any harm. Here's the clincher though. Instead of handing me 4 $20's and a $10, liked I'd expected him to do, he gave me 2 $20's and a $50! I couldn't hand him $10 back without actually going inside and digging through my wallet for a ten dollar bill!

Before he paid me, after they got everything loaded up, the guys stood next to the trailer debating about something. I don't know what they were talking about. I figure the other two guys were asking him if it was really going to cost that much, and he was shrugging innocently saying, "Well, she seemed firm...."

Any bartender knows that you should always give a person change in small bills in case they want to give some of it back. When this guy handed me the inconveniently large bills, I just had to shrug and laugh to myself a bit. He had sealed his fate! I thanked him, wished him luck at school, and M made some joke about beer. The guys chuckled, waved, and drove away.

I hope they like their couch. It should be a perfect frat couch, as it easily fits five guys and it's no longer fancy enough to worry about spilled beer. I feel a little bad that I didn't give them more of a deal, but really they made it very difficult! I'm sure eventually they'll figure out how to negotiate. In the meantime, at least they got a comfy couch -- and my house is a little bit less cluttered than it used to be.
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