23 March 2008

Are we a nation of negotiators?

A couple of weeks ago I was driving to work and heard an interesting dialogue occurring on one of the local radio talk shows (these days it seems many of my topics stem from morning radio). One of the DJs was saying his mother is a "negotiator": no matter where she goes or what she's doing she's always trying to negotiate a better price. I scoffed at first--I can't identify with this type of behavior because I'm not a "negotiator"--but then I started thinking about how many people I know that are "negotiators."

According to Dictionary.com:

ne·go·ti·ate /nɪˈgoʊʃiˌeɪt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ni-goh-shee-eyt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation verb, -at·ed, -at·ing.
–verb (used without object)
1. to deal or bargain with another or others, as in the preparation of a treaty or contract or in preliminaries to a business deal.
–verb (used with object)
2. to arrange for or bring about by discussion and settlement of terms: to negotiate a loan.
3. to manage; transact; conduct: He negotiated an important business deal.
4. to move through, around, or over in a satisfactory manner: to negotiate a difficult dance step without tripping: to negotiate sharp curves.
5. to transfer (a draft, promissory note, etc.) to a new owner by endorsement and delivery or by delivery.

Now, I certainly won't name those individuals in this forum as I think that's an abuse of this medium. But it does make me wonder if being a negotiator has become the American way -- as Americans we tend to want everything for a bargain...and that we deserve it to be that way.

Of course bargaining and negotiating certainly have a time-and-place. Say, for instance, a garage sale or a flea market, but trying to negotiate the price of a blouse or pair of pants, or the special at your local neighborhood bistro just seems--to me--like being cheap.

What do you think about "negotiating"? Am I alone in my thinking that this action is cheapskate-like? Or am I in the minority? I don't live my life giving while expecting to get something for nothing. But has the rest of the country become a nation of negotiating...feeling something is owed to them?

It should make you think....


Anonymous said...

Was your shock and appalled comment directed towards me or the original blogger?

Social Citizen said...


Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I'm a bit confused about your statement though -- I got this concept from a local radio DJ.