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Price Shopping

Motivational speaker Bill Gove tells a story about Harry, who ran a small appliance store in Phoenix, Arizona. Harry was used to price-shopping by young couples. The would ask detailed questions about features, prices, and model numbers, and one of them always took notes. Harry knew that as soon as they left the store they were going to head for one of the discount appliance dealers to make comparisons. Nevertheless, Harry would patiently answer all their questions, even though it took more than a half hour at times. But when the couple would announce that they were going to look around at some other places, Harry had a standard spiel to deliver. “I know that you’re looking for the best deal you can find,” he would say. “I understand that, because I do the same thing myself. I know you’ll probably go down to Discount Dan’s to compare prices. I know I would. But after you’ve done that, I want you to think of one thing. When you buy from Discount Dan’s, you get an appliance—a good one, I know, because he sells the same appliances we do. But when you buy here, you get one thing you don’t get at Dan’s. You get me. I come with the deal. I stand behind what I sell. I want you to be happy with what you buy. I’ve been here 30 years. I learned the business from my Dad, and I hope to be able to give the business over to my daughter and son-in-law in a few years. So you know one thing for sure—when you buy an appliance from me, you get me with the deal. That means I’ll do everything I can to be sure you never regret doing business with me. That’s a guarantee.” Harry would then wish the couple well and give them a quart of ice cream in appreciation of their stopping at his store.

This is how Bill Gove finishes the story: “Now,” he says, “how far do you think that couple is going to get, with Harry’s speech ringing in their ears and a quart of ice cream on their hands in Phoenix, when it’s 110 degrees in the shade?”

Bits and Pieces, November 1991, From G. Collins, The Magnificent Mind, p. 193

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