It all started when my washing machine spluttered: "thumpa thumpa thump....thumpa thumpa thump..." like the beating of the Zulu tribal drums, instead of whirring smoothly. I just bought the machine only 20 years ago and its already giving me this racket. My wife warned me if her eardrum continue to take a beating from this horrendous din, I'd have to buy her a hearing aid pretty soon. I quickly grabbed a calculator and with a few frantic jabs at the keyboard, concluded that it would be more economically viable to invest in a new machine rather than buying a little thingy that you wear on the ear. Besides, my wife, if you knew her, has this inclination to dispense unsolicited advices, and often in a patronising manner; on the merits of au naturel, like eating natural food (as if there is unnatural food), natural herbs rather than drugs and medicine, not wearing glasses and so on ...(oops)
Day two at the electrical store. As soon as the niceties were done, the sales person, a twenty something dude launched into what seemed like Operation Desert Storm, bombarding us with terms like nano silver technology, tornado cleaning, turbo drum and the like. But my wife, bless her, stood her ground and retaliated with even more mumbo jumbos. Whew! I stepped aside and let them talk. God knew what transpired between the two. My role would come later, and sure enough, it came. The Haggle. This is my department and I'm not going to let any smooth talking slickers take me for a turbo spin. I have got the 20 Rules of Sun Tzu Art of Negotiation written on a piece of paper and tucked under my palm.
Finally, my wife standing at a new machine, curled her index finger at me and directed my gaze towards the price tag.
I saundered casually over and looked at the cover of the machine with pursed lips.
"What's the damaged?" I inquired nonchalantly. Rule No. 1, act cool, act uninterested.
When I looked at the price tag, my spectacle nearly drop. "T-two t-thousand four hundred..." i gasped. Rule No/ 14, when ambushed, dont panic. "..but the hearing aid cost only two thousand!!!" I shrieked hysterically.
"Don't be ridiculous, hearing aid cant do laundry"
"I suppose so but can you pick a lesser...umm... cheaper model?" I whimpered "there one over there that cost only RM250 and its qite big too and has got two drums" Rule no. 7, always counter offer.
"Thats a semi automatic model, the extra drum is for spinning dry, its a phased out model and we dont guarantee it anymore" Spiky looked amused.
"So what if its semi auto" I snorted loudly "dont tell me it doesnt wash as clean as the fully automatic ones, right darling? Darling?" Rule no 6, state your position and dont move away from it.
She was already at the sales desk.
"Sign here dear, and do hurry up, we need to pick Ah Boy from tuition" she pushed the credit card slip under my nose with a ball pen hovering nearby. That's it! It was a fiat accompli. I lost the battle no thanks to my loyal wife who jumped ship at the critical moment. Dejected I signed without even looking at the figure.
Fifteen minutes later inside the car, I couldnt understand my wife who usually take eons to choose clothes, breezed through rows of washing machines and was able to pick one up so fast.
"How did you know that RM2,400 is the right machine"
"RM2,400? Dont be silly, I just told them the brand I want and get a smaller model which was not in the showroom, they'll send from their store"
"And the price is?" My spirit soared
"RM1,200. Didnt you look when you sign the slip?"
"But how come you took only 5 minutes to decide on that model?"
"I was already there yesterday with Gladys, my tai chi buddy. Her husband is the boss there. By the way Gladys promised me a free DVD players, for me only, not every customers!"
Hey, who need Sun Tzu Art of War or Negotiation? When it comes to business deals, bring the old girl. She may be dumb, but she's smart!!!!