Saturday, September 26, 2009

Everything's For Sale. Sometimes for Just $20

There is almost nothing on earth that cannot be had for a price. The question is, what is that price? And the answer is twenty dollars.

I've always wanted to test myself, to establish the weight and worth of a twenty in the world. So last month I took two grand in twenties, rolled them up, and left for New York. I was going to spend three days greasing palms from gate to gate and see what it got me. This is about as much Zen as I can muster: Stuff your pockets full of twenties and doors will open by themselves.

From the article "
The $20 Theory of the Universe," published in Esquire in 2003.


At 9/26/2009 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good look at NYC shows the folly of reckless tax policies. I lived there for 18 months around 2000 and it seems like everybody kept two sets of books. Their official income and their cash income. One of the first things I was told was that when making a reservation at a restaurant, ask if they were a cash only establishment. I would think that most people living in NYC have to engage in tax evasion.

I lived around the country as a free lance consultant. I used an online wage and cost of living calculator and took my income and expenses from the cities I lived in and converted them to NYC and every time the numbers put me in the red. The Greatest City in the World sure does treat it's people like crap.

At 9/26/2009 8:31 PM, Anonymous Jiver said...

Published 6 years ago and you're touting this now?

I'll tell you some stories.

I asked the hostess for a half city, half lake view at the Signature Room in the John Hancock tower. I got it. Cost: $0

I asked for extra legroom on Virgin America, telling them I'm disabled. They gave it to me. Cost: $0. Proof: 0

I asked to test drive a Masserati, not because I planned to buy one, but because I wanted to. I drove it for half an hour with the salesman. Cost: $0.

This guy wasted $2000. Most favors in life are free for the asking, just for being a nice person.

At 9/26/2009 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if asking for favors would work with women?

At 9/26/2009 10:46 PM, Anonymous Cromagnum said...

Most people dont know how to ask for a favor.

And because of that, they feel embarrased to even try.

At 9/27/2009 2:06 AM, Anonymous Jiver said...

Yes Michael it does work. It doesn't work with every woman, but I can tell you that if you don't tell a woman what you want, you're likely not to get it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say if you're trying to buy her favors with flowers, trips, jewelry, dinners, you're wasting your money and setting up expectations you can't or don't want to maintain.

In general, I've gotten a lot just for the asking. I've gotten more by demanding. I've gotten more from justified complaining. People become rich in a capitalist society by serving the needs and wants of others. You have to tell people what you need and want in a pleasant way. Even when you're complaining, you should be explaining why you deserve better than what you got in a respectful manner.

Most goods and services are intentionally overpriced. How do you suppose businesses survive with 50% off sales?

70% of car buyers pay the MSRP which is a ridiculous profit margin. Home and car stereos are marked up 70-100%. Negotiations should start from their invoice price at which they still make money.

I'm not saying you should or can haggle on everything. Most goods are sold by people without the power to issue discounts or grant favors, but if you want a larger pour on your wine, a better table, extended checkout in your hotel, a drink refill, or a lower interest rate on your credit card, just ask.

I have never paid a late fee on any bill. I simply call the company, explain it was an honest and rare mistake, and even if it was my fault, magically they waive the fee!


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