Money To Live

February 18, 2013

Santa or the Grinch?

Filed under: defining moments,negotiation — by moneyconsciously @ 11:53 am

Shortly before Christmas I listed an item on an online sales board. I priced it reasonably, albeit near the top of the market range because I thought that this amount more accurately reflected its value (I don’t believe in ultra-disposable consumerism).

Most of the responses I received were for offers less than half the asking price. I was unwilling to sell at those prices, so I declined those offers and waited.

On Christmas Eve one person, J, asked: What was the lowest price with which I would be happy? I thought this was a great, fair question because she would get a lower price than listed and I would still be happy. I answered honestly; J accepted my price gladly and with appreciation.

However J could only pick it up on Christmas Day. This was a risk for us both: a) if this stranger didn’t show up, then I would lose a chance to sell before Christmas and would then be in a saturated market; b) if I didn’t honour my word, then J would not have a Christmas present to give. Yet I agreed to hold it for her.

Later that day, I received another offer. Although it was again too low, this person was willing to pick it up on the same day. Although I explained that I was holding the item for someone else for Christmas, this second person tried many times to convince me to change my mind. I could have had cash in hand with no risk to myself.

I waited. I chose to honour my agreement; and I trusted that J was equally honorable.

The result: J got the Christmas present she wanted at a price she was happy with. I received an amount that I was happy with. We were both thrilled with the positive interaction. We both wanted, successfully negotiated, and behaved according to our values to have more money to live.

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