Tag Archives: negotiation

bong buy

 

CAM00700Went bong shopping on a whim with Hil yesterday and she spotted this beaut on the top shelf of the head shop.  Meet Augustus Clarc Gus for short.  At 9 millimeters thick, Gus is one durable, bitchy, glass-on-glass queen.  He’s a sturdy, flamboyant, fat, flat bottom.  Dontcha just love rainbows?CAM00701Beyond mere aesthetics and charm, practical considerations influence the purchase of a bong.  First and foremost, the glass must be thick.  Pay more for a substantial piece that can survive life’s hard knocks.  The tube to base ratio matters.  If the tube is too short relative to the size of the base, water pulls up the tube resulting in that unpleasant toilet splashback sensation.  I prefer a bong that fits comfortably from lap to mouth enabling the user to balance the instrument hands-free. CAM00702Don’t be seduced by the megahuge gimmick hamster wheel bongs.  While fun to look at in the store, they’re impossible to clean and difficult to pass in a communal circle.  Some of those devices almost require you to mount them to get a good hit.  Trust me when I say they aren’t worth the trouble.  Besides, you’ll be sad you paid so much when one of your clumsy friends breaks it. CAM00703

When you find your perfect glass slipper, upgrade the slide as the standard issue bowls are almost always shitty.  Negotiate.  At many headshops, clerks have wide discretion with pricing and steep discounts are not uncommon.

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Cunty Contractors

CONTRACTORS BEWARE

Many fervent and observant daily devoted readers (I love you forever) know I am amidst a remodel.  DC ain’t This Old House so I didn’t want to bore you with an excessive discussion of decorating details.  We are almost at the end of the project.  Now my contractors are all fussy because they are behind and I won’t pay them until the job is 100% complete to my satisfaction per the contract (I wrote) we all signed.

CONTRACTOR AGREEMENT

Whether you fancy porcelain plank or not is irrelevant to what I am about to share.  When dealing with “professionals” who promise the world for the lowest bid up-front and then fail to deliver, here is a little of what I’ve learned and hope can benefit you.

Write a contract. 

Structure the work in phases. 

Pay when the work is complete.

Be specific about what you want, but remain flexible.

Supervise to make sure the work is done to your specifications.

Don’t let them up-charge you on materials; source supplies yourself.

No matter how much the crew complain, bitch, or beg, don’t deviate from the contract.  Hold your employees accountable. 

Pay on time. 

Don’t unnecessarily impede progress. 

Assume delay.

Don’t unfairly withhold final approval. 

Praise and thank generously.  PLUMBESS

when there’s none, make some

I’m looking for a place to move temporarily while I work on a project.  The rent inventory is low and the selections are overpriced and abysmal. The area where I’m looking has a dearth of rentals and a plethora of homes on the market.After looking at a filthy rental that exceeds my current monthly payments by several hundred dollars, I felt defeated and relinquished to sub-optimal rental living hell. Rather than take this defeat, I decided to contact the listing agent of a vacant house for sale in the neighborhood where I want to move.  I proposed renting the property.  This updated house is way better than the dump I looked at just a few doors down.The agent spoke to his clients and they were open to the idea of renting.  I have an appointment Sunday morning to check out the place.The advantages of this approach are many.  Homes on the market tend to be cleaner and have updates ordinary rentals don’t.  The fact the house isn’t listed as a rental means there isn’t any competition from other renters.  Since I proposed the idea, I have more power in the negotiations. Really, it works out for everyone.  The sellers get a super clean light-treading renter with no pets and no kids.  They get their mortgage paid and benefit from having the house staged for possible buyers. Can’t get ahead of myself, the deal hasn’t been done.  I’ll let you know how the scheme worked out either way, and you can decide if it’s a tactic you want to employ to upgrade your living situation. 

Listing with Craig

The invention of Craigslist has been both a blessing and a curse.  It’s convenient and easy, but also totally unregulated.  Here are five tips for success when using the free online classified.

1)      Describe the item accurately.  When listing an item on Craigslist include all relevant characteristics in your description.  Provide as much detail as possible.  Include the age and origin of the item if known.  Be honest about flaws or damage.2)      Provide recent photos.  As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words, so be sure to include several photos from different angles.  The photos should be recent and well lit.  Be sure to keep any personally identifying clues out of the background of the shot.  The more attractively you display the item, the more interest you will receive.3)      Price realistically.  It is Craigslist people, so don’t be thinking you are going to get retail value out of your item.  If you want to move the item, price it competitively while leaving yourself room to negotiate.  Be prepared to haggle, and don’t take it personally if folks offer you less.  Remember, you can always reject any unreasonable offer.4)      Don’t agree to sell an item on the phone or over email.  The item is not sold until you have cash in hand.  That touches on another important point: only accept cash.  You may feel obligated to accept a check, money order, or Paypal on big ticket items – Don’t.  The scammers will get you with fake cashier’s checks and all kinds of fraudulent bullshit.  Don’t risk it.  If folks want the item, they’ll figure out how to get the cash.  That isn’t your problem.  Ask naive Farrah from Teen Mom; she learned this lesson the hard way.5)      Don’t be a dumbass.  Always speak to the buyer over the phone first to get a feel for how they sound.  Use your intuition.  Whenever possible, meet the buyer away from your residence in a public place.  If you feel sketched, don’t risk it.  Better to be safe than dead.

Negotiation, Mattie Ross-Style

The remake of True Grit deservingly pocketed a few gold pieces at the box office this weekend, which indirectly means most of you avoided Country Strong like the plague….didn’t need my tarot deck to predict that outcome.True Grit is enjoyable and surprisingly restrained for a Coen picture, but the Oscars have already honored this film back in ’70.  Nominating a remake of an academy award-winning film is redundant as fuck, and hardly encouraging for an already creatively stagnant industry.Wanna know the most valuable lesson of True Grit?  The movie provides brilliant instruction on how to negotiate – specifically the scene with Col. Stonehill (aka Headmaster Charleston) and Mattie.  Here are the top five best negotiation skillz as demonstrated by the badass Mz. Ross.Lesson #1 Don’t take it personally, even if it’s personal.  People are self-interested; we can’t help it.  It is the nature of man.  Don’t confuse selfishness with an insult toward you or the subject of the negotiation.  Assume your opponents will do everything within their power to protect their assets, just as you will do everything within your power to protect yours.Lesson #2 Establish credibility, but learn to bluff.  Everyday thousands of folks threaten to sue each other.  Very few actually file suit, and even fewer make it in front of a judge.  Know the law and use it appropriately to strengthen your negotiating position.  Empty, uneducated threats only undermine your credibility and ultimately destroy your bargaining power.Lesson #3 Bundle.  Determine the interests of the other party and then bundle an offer that meets both parties’ agendas.  Try this technique at antique or thrift stores.  Group several items together and offer one amount for everything.Lesson #4 Start high/low.  Never begin the negotiation where you would like it to end.  Go back and forth as many times as it takes.  Control your emotions and use polite persistence to wear them down.  Balance a propensity for cheapness by recognizing that some will interpret a low-ball offer as an insult (see #1).  Gauge your first offer accordingly.Lesson #5 There is no such thing as a final offer.  Whenever the phrase, “This is my final offer…” is uttered you know you have ‘em exactly where you want them.  This signals your opponent is tired, confused, and wants the negotiation to be over.  Time to go in for the kill.