Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bargain Hunter!

Well, kind of. (And how could you not end that last sentence in a preposition? Not possible.) It turns out that if I want a really good deal on something, all I have to do is refuse to pay for it. I never remember to do this if I'm actually bargaining, though. It only happens when I really don't want to pay for something.

I have Sprint. Most people I know have Verizon, so it would be cheaper to get that, but I like the idea that I've been with the same company the whole time. Plus, I've never really had any problems with Sprint. My evenings, though, have been starting at 8 p.m. This was a great deal when everyone else's evenings started at 9 p.m., but now that everyone seems to start at 7 p.m., I feel like I have a raw deal. After being mildly annoyed by this for awhile (a year? less? more?), I finally got around to calling them.

What I wanted them to do was just change the hour, no hassle. What they offered to do was change it for $5. Now I know this is minimal, but five dollars here and five dollar there and it adds up. I'm trying to be responsible. They made the offer and I said, "Well, it seems like everyone just starts at seven and it would only be a change of an hour." Then the woman on the phone said, "None of our plans start at eight. This is just a courtesy hour that we are giving you."

Uh-uh. No way was I letting that pass. "Actually, when I signed up in 2001, the normal hour for evenings to start *was* 8 o'clock."


Now I tried to do the quick calculation in my head, but I must have been tired. It is clearly a much better deal to get the extra hour a day for $5 then to go over my minutes by even 13 minutes and if I am going to be over, it might be during the seven o'clock hour. I didn't want to keep her on the phone while doing the calculations in a piece of paper.

"Well, let me think about it and get back to you." Perhaps you know me well enough by now that that was never going to happen. Or rather, it would have happened, but it probably wouldn't have been for another couple of months. Or years.

Perhaps she sensed this, because she then said, "Can I put you on hold, please?"


Then she came back on the line and said, "I've talked to my supervisor and how about if we change the hours for two dollars and fifty cents."

Just like that. I couldn't believe it. Just lowered the price. I wasn't even trying a tactic, I really just wanted to do the math by myself. This time, I assumed the math was good and said I could split the difference. It seemed fair. I don't have the fanciest of plans, but my rate has barely gone up in the seven years I've had the phone.

Looking back on it, perhaps I should have tried to get her to go lower, but I was so taken aback that it didn't occur to me. I just don't have a head for business like that. For her, it was probably a win if I gave them anything. Still, I'm going to look on the bright side.


  1. "Well, kind of." isn't actually a sentence. It doesn't have a subject. Come to think of it, there's no verb either. I suppose to make it into a real sentence you'd have to say, "I am kind of a bargain hunter."

    Anyway, I hate when charges feel totally arbitrary. I'm always certain I'm getting a worse deal than everyone else.