It all started with an alligator. Not an actual alligator but rather the logo for the Alligator Alley Express, a bus service in south Florida. Online they advertise themselves as the cheapest way to get from Naples to Southwest International Airport in Ft. Myers, which is exactly what I needed to do. I was leaving my Grandparent’s house in Naples on Tuesday morning, headed to Ft. Myers, then home to LA via Chicago O’hare, and the alligator promised to get me through the first leg of my journey for the affordable price of $29.
As I found out when I called, this was not to be. “That’ll be $54,” said Joyce the cheerful receptionist on the other end of the line. “But…the website says $29.”
“That’s based on double occupancy hun,” she replied. I paused for thought. This is a ridiculous increase in price. $35, $40 maybe was reasonable but from $29 to $54! Outrageous. False advertisement. Daylight robbery.
“OK, my credit card number is…”
I have a problem: I am terrified to ask for a better price, even when I know that I am being swindled. It’s uncomfortable, my palms sweat, my face flushes, and then I generally settle for the asking price. Negotiaphobia is a form of social anxiety that is driven by a fear of looking cheap and a fear of confrontation or conflict. Those who are polite and/or shy are far more likely to suffer from negotiaphobia, a disorder that can cost individuals thousands of dollars in potential savings annually.
At this stage in my disorder it’s not even about being good or bad at the actual process of negotiation. Instead it is simply working up the courage to ask for a better price in the first place. I must conquer my fear of opening negotiations before I deal with anything else. Stay tuned for an ongoing saga of my attempts to tackle by negotiaphobia and go on to become a skilled dealmaker.