It’s been a little quiet around here lately because Mr. Everyday Dollar was on a sun, sand, and camping vacation in California. Feeling recharged, I’m back in the grind now ready to help you guys with minimalism, investing, frugalism, and retirement.
After my girlfriend and I touched down in San Francisco, we headed to the car rental desks – a separate room packed with travelers, excessive lines, and the smell of potatoes – to pick up our rental car for the week. After waiting a solid 15 minutes in line we get our turn with the counter agent.
I hand over my license and credit card to the cheery agent and we chat about our upcoming trip driving the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to LA. Of course, Mr. Everyday Dollar had reserved the cheapest car, a subcompact.
“Oh, you don’t want a subcompact for your trip,” the agent tells me. He goes on to explain that I will be issued a coffin-on-wheels like a Chevy Aveo or Toyota Yaris, and that if I cared at all about our lives I should upgrade for only $20 more per day.
“No,” I tell him. “I’m perfectly okay risking my life in the subcompact.”
He then issues me a very comfortable mid-size 4-door Chevy Sonic. Turns out he was bluffing and didn’t have any subcompacts in stock, so I was upgraded to a larger car at no cost.
On to the next up-sell, insurance. The agent hands me a laminated paper that displays three types of car insurance: Primary for $12.99/day, supplemental for $11.99/day, and personal for $7.99/day.
He says, “You have three choices for insurance, which one do you want?”
Notice that he doesn’t tell Mr. Everyday Dollar that this insurance is completely optional, and his wording of the question is sly enough to make an unsuspecting consumer respond with one of the choices.
“No,” I tell him. “I won’t be adding insurance today.”
He tells me I must be loco (insane), but Mr. Everyday Dollar knows that by adding the optional insurance it invalidates the free auto rental insurance most credit cards offer.
I consider myself fairly comfortable in saying “no” in these types of situations, but I felt a little bad shooting down the up-sells from this guy. I mean, here’s a funny and good-natured guy, and the people pleaser in me wants to say, “Sure! That sounds good. Hell, give me the convertible!”
However, the realistic situation is that this guy’s job is to extract as many everyday dollars as possible from consumers through his charming personality and scare tactics. Our job is to have the ability to say “no.”
How to say no
Saying “no” doesn’t come easy for many of us. We might have feelings of guilt when we say it, we might be scared that we’ll upset people, we might have been taught it was rude, or we might think people will view us as incapable.
The consequence of saying “no” is that you will occasionally upset, annoy, or disappoint people. You may have to deal with that outcome, especially if it’s someone like a significant other, a parent, or a boss.
However, saying “no” is really part of being an authentic person. The ability to say it creates boundaries, frees up precious time for us to work on the big wins in our life, and creates trust and respect with the people in our lives, which all leads to a healthier and happier self.
I’m going to give you guys four scripts you can use to say “no”:
Boss: “I need you to work on this new project.”
You: “I appreciate you thinking of me to work on that project, however my time is already spoken for by projects X, Y, and Z. I’d recommend you check with the other staff to find someone who has more time. Bob might be a good choice. He has both an interest in, and knowledge of, that area already.”
Why this works: You communicate that your plate is full, you share what you’re working on so your boss has a better understanding, and you point to alternative resources.
Friend: “Let’s go out for dinner and drinks tonight at that ridiculously cool new restaurant. You have to come, don’t be lame!”
You: “I’d love to but I was planning on relaxing at home tonight. Let’s go tomorrow night!”
Why this works: You communicate that you like the idea but the sudden request interferes with a previous plan. You show your desire to go by suggesting another time that’s more convenient for you.
Sales person: “This right here is the newest and most advanced technology right now. It has so many features you’ll want to take advantage of. Should I ring it up for you?”
You: “It doesn’t quite meet my needs right now. If that changes I’ll get in touch with you.”
Why this works: You communicate that the product isn’t what you’re looking for or doesn’t meet your requirements. If it might, you buy some time to think about it first before committing to the purchase. You also indicate that you’re open to working with the sales person in the future.
You: “No, I can’t.”
Why this works: It’s simple and direct.
My challenge to you guys is to get out there and start working “no” into your everyday lives. Consider it one aspect of facing your fears by always challenging yourself and growing!