Frugal does not translate into mean. In fact, it is the opposite. It does not mean you should not negotiate, sometime furiously, but you should also be nice to your vendors.
Case in point, I am always nice to the girl who rings up my purchases at the local grocery outlet store. Always. We chat, I ask after her puppy and her progress in school. I encourage her to continue her education. First I do this because I am basically a nice person but also because she clearly needs a little encouragement now and then. The result? A few weeks ago, I was piling my purchased on the conveyor belt to be rung up and she waved me off, telling me to go back, they were in the middle of marking down some of things I always buy. I didn’t even have most of those items in my cart but knowing they were being marked down, I went back and picked them up. She saved me quite a bit of money. Because I am kind, she is kind in return. And she saves me money.
A couple of years ago, I bought thousands of dollars in new flooring to redo all the floors in my house. I ended up halting the renovation after the downstairs was done due to switching jobs. I resumed recently and my master suite was completed. My contactor, whom I have known for decades, knew he was coming back in six weeks to finish off the upstairs, the guest suite. I could have done it all at once but I hate spending all that money at once and I have issues with all the disruption. So, I scheduled him to come back. As he wrapped up my master suite, he took a hard look at the remaining flooring, did the math and said it was going to be too close, I should buy two more boxes. Well, it’s been two long years so we both feared that what I’d bought would no longer be available.
Luckily for me, the flooring vendor remembered me. Why? Because I gave them the best yelp review they had ever had. I was like a legend of a customer as a result. When I called, the new manager searched and actually found two boxes, on sale no less. On top of that, she had two old beat up boxes that she said my contractor could use for short cuts. Those she gave me for free. Oh, would I mind giving them another Yelp review? Would I mind? Heck no! They had gone out of their way yet again to accommodate me. I gave them a resounding endorsement of a new Yelp review. It took me all of three minutes to write and post it but I know it will go a long way in getting me good deals in the future, should I have any flooring needs.
When I had AC installed and my heating system replaced, the vendor told me that if I wrote a good review, he’d give me a better deal. Done. My review was so good, he ended up extending my warranty.
So the moral of this blog entry is, be NICE. Reward your good vendors. Post positive reviews, praise them. Talk to the people you see at the grocery store, make friends. The butcher over at the local grocery store? Ask her opinion about something you just bought, thank her for her help and maybe she will give you as head’s up about deals before they are posted. Same goes for your favorite clothing store or other shop.
Being nice is good not only for the soul but for your pocketbook. Practice it daily.