I should introduce myself a little better, my name is Josh Smith and while I think of myself as frugal, pretty much everyone else, including my wife, settles on cheap. Normally this is a good thing, although on several occasions I have pushed my luck with incentives at retailers ending in either the completion of a killer bargain or the embarrassment of my wife...heck...sometimes I even accomplished both!
To this day I still have several friends who utilize the "WWJD" method of dealing with companies they feel have done them wrong. That isn't, "What Would Jesus Do" but the much more menacing "What Would Josh Do." While I don't claim to be a deity, I do consider myself to be a master of retail strategy often using the promotions and tactics of retailers to exact the best price or exact compensation for being wronged.
Sometimes the combinations of coupons, sales, price matching and luck aligned and I could walk away with a set of $150 speakers for $14.99. Other times you get asked to leave the store. Several years ago while I was still an undergrad with plenty of free time, I happened across a deal for recordable DVDs at my local office supply store. This particular deal involved a trifecta of savings: including a price error, a 50% off web coupon and an additional in-store coupon. This is the type of deal I live for, multiple points of savings and no rebates involved. The only way this deal could have been better is if it involved a price match as part of the deal. Here I go drowning you in details when the real fun comes when I go to the store to pick up 300 DVDs.When I arrived in the store I was told i had to speak to the manager before I could finish the transaction. For the next 10-15 minutes I had to listen to the manager complain about the purchase I was trying to make. After her attempt to guilt trip me into not making the purchase failed she grudgingly rang up my order. A friend and I had planned to check out some other deals in the store but as soon as our order was bagged she informed us that we now needed to leave the store. She delivered this information with a look that would have made Donald Trump himself shudder. The manager walked us out of the store as my friend and I exchanged puzzled looks. While it may not have been the most dramatic exit the store has ever seen, being escorted out of the store by the manager drew odd looks from our fellow shoppers and a tinge of embarrassment for me. Thankfully, the thrill of the deal we just got nicely mitigated that feeling.
Experiences like these aren't out of the ordinary for me, in fact many managers I have dealt with over the years have left the transaction red-faced and angry. Store managers shouldn't feel like they can kick shoppers out just because they are getting too good of a deal. I understand that as store managers they are often graded on numbers, but is it really worth the trouble and heartburn just because a savvy shopper used all the rules and policies your store put in place to get a killer deal? Don't hate the shopper, hate the game!
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