Can You Do A Little Better?

Nothing is more daunting than Secret Santa, especially if you don’t know your drawn-from-a-hat giftee at all.
We’re doing that tonight at the Laughing Lotus Holiday Party, but I am thrilled to report that I not only have a rather sensational gift to give, I also experienced a personal triumph I feel extremely ecstatic about.
Two or three weeks ago at the end of a beach walk, Susan, Belle and I stopped into the Warming Hut (which is actually a rather charming little cafe and gift shop at the other end of the walk.)  Anyone who’s met me know how much I love cupcakes, so when I saw the cute mini-cupcake I asked the clerk how much it was.  $2 was the reply.
I was so shocked by the exorbitant pricing that I blurted out, “I’ll give you $2 for 2 mini-cupcakes!”
The guy looked stunned, then glanced at his co-worker, and then shrugged and said, “OK, I guess.”
Sweetest cupcakes that Susan and I have ever shared.
Then at Acre I decided I needed a new wallet to celebrate my new finances and I asked the lovely owner Jenny, “Can you do a little better?” re: the deluxe wallet I was buying….And she did!  (FYI, I was their very first SF customer.)
Alas, when I asked my month long office space rental the same question, there was no success (sigh) but even at Wells Fargo when I inquired of the banker if they could do any better on my accounts, he thought for a second and asked if I was a student.  I said I was a yoga teacher and he pretty much shrugged and said, “Close enough, teacher/student,” and gave me an awesome two accounts designed for college kids.
But today, Dear Reader, I have to report my greatest Victory with “Can you do a little better?”
At Whole Foods, I was moseying around for my Secret Santa secondary gift (the first is a magic eight ball since my giftee is transitioning and could use guidance).  I wanted something in the wine accessories vein since she is a sommelier and found a lovely Moleskin wine notebook.  The price was out of budget for the Secret Santa guidelines, so I asked the guys helping me, “Can you do a little better?”
Of course, the Whole Foods clerks were initially stunned, but then said, “well, these aren’t really moving” and went to the head of that area and … She knocked 1/3 off the price.  Just try to imagine my ecstasy;  bargaining at Whole Foods of all places actually worked!
There is so much about this I love.
Obviously,  it’s always great and fun to save a few bucks, but far more importantly, I love that it shakes up the status quo.
Most of my successes have come because no one else thinks to question the “Natural Order” of marked prices.  (All the Whole Foods manager had to do was put on another sticker on top and voila, it’s re-priced.)
It also called into question the entire notion of pricing.  So much of it feels carved in stone, but it’s really often so much more arbitrary than we think.  I know when I set prices for things it’s always funky (a combination of “what do other people charge” “is this too much?” “I don’t want to under-price myself” and lots of other quirky conversations about value.)
And I must say that I love the phrase “Can You Do A Little Better?” because it starts from the premise that thinks are already GOOD –– I would just like BETTER!  And who doesn’t want BETTER, after all.
I think if I were running for office that phrase might even be my motivational slogan/question to the country.
I can see myself speaking from the podium, asking every American if we could each do a little better.  [If you encounter that phrase in a 2012 campaign, you heard it here first!]
And of course, I love the IT GETS BETTER project.  [It takes 2 seconds to sign up and support them on their site –– why don’t you?]
And speaking of the good/great spectrum:
This morning my yoga client’s quicksilver cancellation allowed Susan and me and Belle to attend Jonah’s Friends and Family Holiday Event at his school … SO MUCH FUN!
Those kids were awesome;  frankly, they are on the short list of things in the world that really can’t get a little better.

2 Responses

    1. First, it was VERY global (we saw dramatizations of Greek myths), and Second, honestly not a single performance wasn’t Tony-Worthy.

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