How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The ChangingMinds Blog!
A diamond negotiation
I've been happily married for 30 years now and decided to buy my wife a ring for an anniversary present. Here is the story of how I found and negotiated a great deal on a beautiful ring. (Note: rather than give the game away on what it actually cost, the prices below are scaled down).
I started off looking at antique rings in an upscale arcade near where I work, but they seemed expensive and were largely old-cut and lacked sparkle. It also didn't help that the antique dealers were unwilling to negotiate. Yet I still nearly fell into the trap of buying the first ring I liked. The sales patter and diamond twinkles under the bright lights sent me into a kind of lust where I decided I wanted that ring without thought of alternatives or value. Fortunately I didn't buy it then and when I looked at it again another day it didn't seem as attractive. What this experience did do, however, was to fix my mind on a price range of $20-$30 as I realized I was prepared to fork out this amount for the woman I love.
I eventually found my way out to Hatton Garden, a London street full of diamond merchants and jewellers. After browsing for a while, I found myself at the end of the street in a shop run by traditional Jews, complete with the hats, hair and deadpan expression. I randomly asked after a solitaire ring in the window that had caught my eye. It was priced at $70, way above my comfort range, but the nice young man who served me brought the price down to $65 and then $60. I shook my head and left, but remembered the negotiation potential.
After much looking around, a friend dragged me back out Hatton Garden and got me thinking in more detail. My target now was a full-band channel-set eternity ring. Learning more about diamonds and the 'four Cs', I sought VS clarity, brilliant cut, around G colour and a total of about 2.5 carats. He introduced me to people who would make the ring and were more flexible on price. I then went up and down the street, asking for quotes and found a range of $23-$28. Wandering past the the Jewish jeweller, I saw an older person serving and thought I'd try asking about that solitaire ring. I didn't think I could afford it, but was curious as to whether what looked like the owner would come down further, and he did, to $55.
After even more browsing, I ended up about a week later in the same shop where we had a good conversation about eternity rings at around $24. This showed them my real spend level and I talked about bringing my wife in on Saturday. They looked a bit crestfallen and explained they were closed on Saturday. Of course -- this is the Jewish holy day. I shrugged and turned to go, but then asked to see the diamond solitaire ring again. I asked, casually, about a 'good price'. Now the price became $48. I sighed, explaining that this was way above my ceiling (which I had just demonstrated was in the region of $20 to $30) but offered to buy it there and then for $40. There was much talk in Hebrew between the owner and his son and the price came down to $44, but I just looked at the door and repeated that I could hardly afford the $40. We looked at each other for a while in silence, but I held my tongue and just raised my eyebrows. And eventually my offer was accepted! It was more than I had intended to pay, but from my research I knew I had gotten a bargain. Indeed, the insurance value is $89.
The real value, however, was in the shock and delight in my wife's eyes when I gave her the ring at a romantic dinner for two. 30 years on and she is still my real treasure.
I don't understand the relevance of the Jewish
background of this story. On first reading I considered it was at best a poor
attempt to use an old stereo-type. At worst it is anti-semitic. I am off to
Thailand for a holiday. My kids tell me that the haggling there is very similar
to that you outlined here. Markets all around the world are the same. I enjoy
this site. It is about 'Changing Minds". I don't care if you are Jewish or any
other minority - or majority. Don't use negative stereo-types.
And the big