In Which Dr. J. Employs the Jedi Mind Trick

The Autumn Fairy turns fallen leaves into Advent Calendars for Good
Lil Residents and Medstudents…

It’s Christmas time holiday shoppers, and while Mrs. Dr. J., the Lil Resident and Lil Medstudent were at the nearby big box pet-store attending puppy school with Lady J., Dr. J. was at the nearby Toys-R-Us picking up a 2012 Lego Star-Wars Advent Calendar for the Lil Medstudent, on behalf of the Turkey Fairy™, who is the bringer of Advent Calendars to the good lil house officers in the J. household.

Dr. J. saw one at Target a few weeks ago but they sold out before he could get there without Lil Medstudent in tow, so as to provide plausible deniability for the Turkey Fairy. So Dr. J. figured he could hit Toys-R-Us under the aegis of parking the car.

When he gets to Toys-R-Us, he made a beeline for the Lego section and found what he was looking for, and it was listed at $59.99. That’s $10 more than retail, and $20 more than Target, Walmart, and Everything else, as best he could tell, were on sale or at worst, listed at retail price. But an effective 50% markup? Really? No frickin’ way.

Darth Santa and Frosty the Astromech droid?!? How awesome!

Dr. J. had a few options:

  1. Pay up
  2. Order on Amazon and suck it up regarding the two-day shipping.
  3. Hit a Target and figure out which nearby one has them in stock. 
Given that all of them sucked and Dr. J. was pressed for time, he said, let’s try haggling, and then walking away if that didn’t work. 
Dr. J. was polite, and kind, but firm. He told the cashier that he had three different stores listing the price at $39.99, and he showed her the Amazon, Walmart and Target prices loaded on his iPhone and informed her that for Target that was also the in-store price. One Target was sold out, but he was going to ferret it out if need be, and also mentioned that the inconsistent price variability on Legos at Toys-R-Us was insane (some things 25% off, others marked up 50%). She summoned her manager who was already five minutes late trying to leave. She looked at the prices I pulled, mentioned something about not having anything to do with Corporate pricing policy, and knocked $20 off the price. Frankly, Dr. J. would have settled on the $49.99 retail. He is fair-minded that way. He would have burnt $10 in gas driving around looking for the darned thing, or paid that much in shipping from Amazon.

The lesson is, you can always haggle, if you are nice about it (Dr. J. was the nicest customer all day according to the cashier), and have your facts lined up, even if they’re on your iPhone. 

About Dr. J.

Dr. J. was born the son of a New Atlantean sharecropper who cornered the market on notoriously delicious seaweed Himanthalia elongata (popularly known as Thongweed). With his newly minted seaweed fortune, Mr. J. the Elder sent his son to attend the Academy of Sorcery, Alchemy and Surgery where the good doctor apprenticed with the finest sorcerer surgeons in New Atlantis. Dr. J.'s areas of expertise grew to include bleeding, cutting for stone, trephination, medical divination with outstanding spatial and temporal resolution, cybernetic sorcery and medicinal alchemy. When King Orin of Atlantis fell ill with the Ick, Dr. J. stepped in with an elixir he devised from a combination of minerals, herbs and saps. Curing the king, Dr. J. gained significant notoriety which afforded him the luxury of time to devote himself to his side hobbies which include porpoise racing, the study of supply-side economics, cooking and raising his lovely merchildren alongside his lovely bride the archconservative Mrs. Dr. J.