Last month I finally got round to sorting out some blinds for the two rooms currently without any form of window dressing. My friend Anna had recommended somewhere, so I called to arrange a visit from one of their sales team. Before they arrived, Anna advised me on how to play The Blind Game.
‘Don’t order there and then,’ she said. ‘They’ll offer you a discount, but refuse that too. Wait till they call to see if you want to go ahead, and say no. They’ll take loads off for you.’
Piece of cake, I thought.
The fitter came round to measure up, chatting amicably about this and that. As he measured my office window, he asked what I did for a living. I hesitated. It’s not easy to sum up: I write, I blog, I run social media accounts… People ask questions, they don’t understand how someone can blog for a living…
‘I’m a teacher,’ I said. Well, it’s just easier, sometimes, isn’t it?
‘Up at the school in town?’ he asked. Gulp. I hadn’t really thought this through.
‘I know a couple of teachers there.’
Oh please don’t ask me if I know them…
‘What do you teach?’
I panicked. ‘Physics.’ I don’t know what came over me. I was always useless at science and would no more teach physics than I would fly to the moon.
‘Bet you can’t wait for the holidays,’ said the fitter, dropping his measuring tape into his bag. I started to sweat a little. It was Monday morning – why wasn’t I in school? Why were my two whiteboards covered in things like ‘sort out sponsor for Green Room,’ and ‘finish piece on kids in pubs,’ instead of formulae squiggles and complicated questions about gravity?
Fortunately he left it there, instead whipping out a little machine to give me a quote for the blinds.
That sounded quite reasonable, actually.
‘I’m afraid that’s a bit steep. Could you bring it down a bit?’
I reluctantly declined, and the fitter left.
I followed Anna’s advice and waited. And waited. It was two weeks before Head Office called me to see if I wanted to place the order.
‘I’m afraid not,’ I said. ‘I loved the blinds, but they’re just a little too expensive for me.’ Ha! I sat back and waited for my discount, feeling every inch the experienced negotiator.
‘No problem, thanks anyway.’
‘What?’ I squawked, before he could put the phone down. ‘Aren’t you going to offer me a discount?’
There was an awkward pause.
‘Did the fitter not offer you a discount on the day?’
‘Well, yes,’ I said in a small voice, ‘but I thought perhaps you might give me another one…’
‘The blinds are £240,’ he said. ‘Would you like to place an order?’
I don’t think I’m very good at The Blind Game.