Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sales People Beware -- Avoid "the pressure" when trying to close a sale with a Frugalista

Eagerly I awaited this past Wednesday!  A consultant from JC Penney was scheduled to come to the house and help me select window shades for the three first-floor bedrooms.  Not one for home decor, I was eager for the consultant's input and expertise.  She arrived right on time and in a matter of minutes we'd selected colors (any surprise I opted for Cafe) and the measurements were underway.  This was going well, and I was proud of myself for opting for decent quality -- not too cheap, not over-the-top.

The consumer road began to hit some bumps when her Ipad would not provide the pricing and specifications for the brand I had selected.  What to do?  Okay, let's look at colors in a brand that would work on her Ipad.....but the colors just weren't the same.  And my euphoria began to fade a bit.  But I told myself "be flexible, they are blinds -- so what if this color is not quite as nice as the one you selected".  While she ran the numbers I packed my brown bag lunch for the office, running numbers in my head.  It's a great frugal trick I've picked up from my husband -- always, always have a number in mind first.  Without it they are setting the tone.

What number did I have?  There were seven windows, for which I guestimated $100 each, plus some for installation.  The number in my head was $1,000 give or take $200.  Just as I finished filling my thermos of coffee she called out that she had the total.  And that is when the fast talking began.  At first I thought the total was $525. Then I realized the $525 on the paper was for one window, not seven.  In fact, the total was $1852.  What!  I had gone with a few low-end options, non-room darkening for one.

A bit shocked she should have just let the number settle in, instead she went into sales overdrive and lost my business in an instant.  I grew up on a used car lot -- literally growing up among wheelers and dealers, and the fastest way to shut down my consumption is to throw it into fast talk and high pressure.  She explained, at rapid fire speed (at I am often told I talk fast) that the price included a 30% sale.  Technically it expired over the weekend, but I'll give it to you today if you sign the contract was her spiel.  Instantly I could hear my husband's voice in my head, "yeah right, like she wouldn't take our money a week from now if we called and said we sign up if the 30% were part of the deal!"  I was polite and said I had to think it over, and that I would not sign a contract today -- I need to think about it and discuss it with my husband.  I know I'd want him to do the same before spending two grand.  And she walked out the door, samples in hand, leaving our windows in a state of inadequate covering.

Options -- I know I have options.  There are talented and crafty friends who can offer frugal ideas.  There are do-it-yourself web sites, which in fact we havee used in the past.  And there is the fact I will simply not spend that kind of money to cover windows.  I will pay for quality, I did just today, buy a classic black dress from a high-end store at Hilldale Mall.  It was $157 and not on sale.  Yet I brought it home with me  -- high quality, perfect for the office or fancier events, and a salesperson who was helpful, not high pressured.  Keep that in mind if you are trying to close a deal with a self-declared frugalista.

Thanks for reading, and if you have window covering ideas -- please, let me know!


  1. hi melinda- saw your blog for the first time today. clicked on it from a link at midwest potato. we have JCP blinds. have learned that about twice a year they put blinds on 70% off. That's HUGE. One time near xmas they were 70% off plus an additional 10. I have done nearly the whole house a little at a time just waiting for that big discount. If you can wait-- and sounds like you can, maybe-- watch the JCP flyers in the sunday paper or call regularly to ask (sale usually runs 9-10 days, so you have to stay on top of it.). Another reason to wait and still get the JCP blinds- great warranty from the companies. We have a big front window - 3 feet across. after a couple of years the strings (cordless blind) on one side broke. JCP gave me the number to call (bali)- i got a free replacement blind with free shipping and literally no hassle at all- because they are meant to last and last. kinda shocking in this day and age. (and no, i don't work for JCP- i'm a librarian!) - liz a.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write. I did not know about the 70 percent off, and it is quite tempting. The sales style, so pressured, really turned me off of the company. They did the blinds for our large bay window, but for simple bedroom windows we've decided to measure them ourselves, go to Menards (a local hardware chain) and have a handyperson (seems wrong to say handyman) install them. It would take us 1/2 a day, him 20 minutes. Again, glad you found the blog and hope you'll come back!