Walking Away from a Deal
Having downsized to a condo a few months ago, I was in search of a decor pillow for our built in bench. I had been searching for a while but hadn't found anything that sparked joy. I also wanted to buy a curtain to match our current set. I had been waiting for this particular curtain to go on sale and stopped in to buy it this past weekend.
I entered the store with a clear vision of what I actually needed to buy. As I was looking at the pillows on display, I noticed multiple large signs notifying me of a Buy One, Get One (BOGO) sale. My first thought was, "Well, that's convenient." Because BOGO sales are not inherently bad, but it is the manner in which we use them to our advantage or disadvantage that impacts us. Advantage meaning that you were going to buy two anyways so you save money whereas taking it just because it's free can quickly become overwhelming and a disadvantage.
I spent time looking at all of the pillows on display, quickly ruling out large sections based on the shape and color of the fabric. I narrowed it down to the one I wanted and was happy to find a perfect pillow for my bench. Being aware that this purchase qualified me to receive a pillow for free, I visualized my home to see if I had a space that would benefit from another pillow. I determined it wasn't needed. I took my one pillow for the bench and made my way over to the curtain section.
The curtain I wanted was not in stock, so I asked an associate if she had any in the back or if she could order one at the sale price. She found out that there were more curtains coming in the following week and she kindly offered to honor the sale price. I was so pleased with the great customer service. She even noticed that I was only carrying one pillow and asked if I was aware of the BOGO sale. I replied, "Yes I did see the sale, thank you, but I didn't see any other pillows that I needed." Her response caught me off guard when she replied with, "Well, go take another look, there are so many to choose from."
The reason it took me aback was because I was very confident in my choice to decline the offer. I said I was aware of the promotion and yet I made the conscious decision that I didn't want or need a bonus pillow. And after all that, she still thought I should just check one more time, just in case. This line of thinking is what can get us into trouble, planting seeds of doubt and causing us to question our decisions. Nonetheless, I brushed it off and went to the check out. I set the single pillow down on the counter and I had the following conversation with the associate at the register.
Associate: "Hello. Do you know that you get a free pillow with this purchase?"
Me: "Yes, thank you, I am aware but I don't need any other pillows."
Associate: "Really?! Are you sure there wasn't one that you liked?"
Me: I calmly replied, "No, nothing else matched my decor and this one is all I really need. Thanks."
Associate: "You don't have a friend or family member you could give a pillow to?"
Me: "No, I don't." At this point, I started to feel uncomfortable and awkward.
Associate: "Okaayyy," as she proceeds to hand me my pillow. Then in a last ditch effort she catches a glimpse of the seasonal holiday decor in her peripheral vision and excitedly says to me: "Oh what about a Christmas pillow? Did you see those? You could have one of those!"
Me: I let out a deep "ha" sound followed by, "Absolutely not, I do not buy seasonal pillows."
I took my pillow, smiled, thanked her and walked out the door before she could come up with any more creative ideas to take advantage of this incredible offer. I know she was doing her job by reminding me of the sale. I could tell she desperately wanted me to get the most value for my money. And I know her heart was in the right place by wanting me to take advantage of this deal.
However, there was a major divide in how we viewed material items and we were both struggling to make our point with each other. I wanted to teach her about the KonMari Method™ and how this free pillow would not spark joy for me but it wasn't the appropriate time for this discussion given the line forming behind me.
When you are clear about what you want and why you want it, you are able to confidently walk away from deals that are not in alignment with your vision, no matter how lucrative they are. It could be as simple as not taking a free promotional t-shirt in the wrong size or as difficult as walking away from deeply discounted designer shoes. You are also able to withstand multiple inquiries from well meaning associates who try to convince you that you just can't pass up 'free.' Taking advantage of a situation without being conscious stems from a place of lack and a mindset of never having enough.
"Listening to the siren song of more, we are deaf to the still small voice waiting in our soul to whisper, 'You're enough.'"
The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron
What I found interesting is how perplexed this woman was by my decision and was determined to convince me otherwise. Free stuff comes with a hidden price tag, clutter that turns to burden if it never sparked joy in the first place. It's items like these that contribute to the relentless Clutter-Purge Cycle. It also discourages you from knowing that deep down you know you have enough and that you are enough.
Pre-KonMari, I would take freebies so I wouldn't have to explain why I really didn't want or need these items. It was much easier to smile, take the item and then donate it to charity later on. Post-KonMari, I realized that I wasn't being authentic, I was creating more work for myself by having to continously drop items off at the thrift store and I was contributing to the thoughtless consumption that is commonplace in our culture. I now find it's best to decline and walk away.
I challenge you to have confidence in your decisions when people are pressuring you to take things you don't want or need. Be firm in your 'no.' It can be awkward and uncomfortable most of the time. And they can appear upset when you don't agree. But I urge you to stand strong in the discomfort of the situation and stick to your values.
My hope is that if enough of us make joy the deciding factor on whether to buy/receive an item instead of making the bargain the priority, we will create a shift in how our culture views consumption and consumerism. I encourage you to remain unyielding in your resolve to only choose and bring what truly sparks joy into your home and into your life.