Whether it is an extended warranty, a street vendor, or Girl Scout; People are always trying to sell you stuff. It is pretty difficult to walk around town with out being bombarded with various forms of advertising, or enter a store without a clerk trying to sell you something. Distinguishing between a good deal, and a sales pitch is an underdeveloped skill that we sometimes take for granted. I have found the following tips to work well for me, but only you can decide whether or not to buy:
- The Decision - People can persuade and influence you, but the decision whether to buy something, is ultimately up to you. You cannot hold others accountable for your wise or poor decisions.
- The Source - If you find out about a great new car wax from a friend who is not employed by the car wax company, odds are that is it a good product. If someone, you don't know, rings your doorbell to notify you of a great vacuum deal, it is probably a sales pitch.
- The Intensity - Beware of a salesman who is overly excited in telling you about a limited time offer, asking you to act now. A store clerk might be telling the truth, if he calmly tells you that there are only a few items left in stock, and does not encourage the sale.
- Your Gut - Your gut is almost always right. if you think something sound to good to be true, it probably is. If you have second thought about buying something don't.
- Fishing - If the vendor asks for your name, where you live, and introduces themself, they may be trying to pry information out of you to help them sell their item.
- Commission - Learn to know what stores pay their employees on commission, because they may try to sell you on things you don't necessarily need. Best buy employees are not on commission, but circuit city employees are. If you are unsure just ask. Tell the sales associate that you are "going to look around, and ask if you decide to buy should, you fine them or just any associate." If they give you a card or tell you to find them, they are on commission.
- Popularity - take caution if you are unfamiliar with a brand name, and someone tells you that it is the equivalent of a Sony, Panasonic, or Samsung. They might just trying to make a sale.
- Pyramid schemes - Don't listen to people who say they can make you rich. Most programs are based on open ended results. Instead of explaining how they program works, they just sell you on pipe dreams of being rich. Another clue is whether they are rich, or they are "planning" on becoming rich. Ask yourself why they are wasting their time trying to sell you on the idea, if they are already rich.
- Extended Warranties - I believe that any third party extended warranty is a rip off. These companies would not be in business selling the warranties if the odds where in you favor. Salesmen try to get you to believe in bumper to bumper coverage, I promise no such coverage exists. Every extended warranty is riddled with exceptions, deductibles, clauses and fine print establishing reason to not pay. The base warranty for most products is usually far more comprehensible than any extended warranty anyway.
- Stretching Your Dollar - If you don't think you can afford something, you are probably correct. A store may try to offer you some magical Financing options that may make the purchase seem plausible. These will get you into far more trouble then they are worth.
The holiday shopping season is upon us, so commence shopping but be carefull out there.