WWYD x2: When To Bargain; An Uber Driver’s Special Request

Here are two fun WWYDs? for us to ponder this afternoon.

#1) An Uber “Special Service”

This comes from a friend of mine we’ll call Ann. She recently and ignominiously found herself stripped of her driver’s license because of a DMV mistake someone made over two years ago, confusing her in the system with someone else of the same name. The frustration will cost her $75 to resolve, and, however unfair that may be, she’s willing to pay the fee to put this behind her, and that’s not what’s at issue right now.

What’s at issue is this: because she couldn’t drive the other night, she took an Uber, and the driver had a particular request for her. “When we get to your destination, will you stay in the car?” he asked. “Just for a minute?”

“Um,” she said, “why?”

“I have a special service.”

Being stuck on the road with him at the time, Ann made a noncommittal noise, and the driver was content enough with that to continue. When they arrived at her destination, though, the driver repeated his request: “Please, stay in the car for a minute for special service!”

“What is it?” she asked, stalling, as she discreetly unlocked the door.

“Nothing bad,” he said. “Something that will bring peace to us both.”

“No, thanks!” she said, and she fled.

She did not give him five stars.

She did wonder afterwards, though, if she had been unfair. Should she have hung around? Was she too quick to perceive him as a threat? Would you have been interested enough in the “special service” — or, perhaps, in being polite — to stay in your seat and see what happened?

#2) When do you bargain?

Twice recently I’ve been offered new, exciting, and relatively well-paid projects. Being sought after instead of having to go pitching is a thrill by itself, but it’s not such a thrill that I assent to whatever is offered.

In these two recent cases, though, because I liked both ideas, I did assent, and I assented without haggling over dollars. My thought-process at the time was that the quoted price was reasonable and, once I had proved my worth to these new employers, I could bargain my rate up for the next assignment.

Now I wonder whether I’m being naive, if these potential employers expected me to haggle. After all, “bargaining” comes before “acceptance” in the Kubler-Ross model. Would a guy in my position have haggled? Should I have at least tried? Does the fact that I didn’t mean I’m part of the reason men’s earnings are growing far more rapidly than women’s? AM I THE PROBLEM?

Speaking of problems, feel free to send me your thought questions for the Rambling Man! He’s been running low on high-quality fuel and needs a refill. Put “Rambling Man” in the subject line and email ester@thebillfold.com.

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