The Squeaky Wheel Gets a New Car: 3 Ways to Flex Your Consumer Power

The Squeaky Wheel…

One of the first things that people notice about me when they first meet me is that I have a squeaky, high-pitched voice like Michel’le from back in the 90s. lol. And for a curvy black woman with long locs, it can be a bit of a head-trip for many strangers. Some people love my voice; some  people hate it. But one thing is certain: my voice is certainly memorable.

And that is exactly how you have to be when you spent your money for a good or service and you are not satisfied.

Squeaky and Memorable.

Each  of us, as consumers, has power. And while it may go by different names like buying power,consumer power, and purchasing power, what’s more important is that we know how to wield it.  Over the course of my consumer lifetime, I have had to flex my money muscles on several occasions when I felt I was being overlooked, taken advantage of, or felt completely unsatisfied with a consumer experience.

…Gets A New Car

Strategically and respectfully using any of the following will empower you and improve the consumer satisfaction of those that follow.

1.Write Letters

Despite what they might want you to think, stores, restaurants, universities, and other profit-generating entities need you. Your money, your referrals, and your support for them to thrive.  Not the other way around. If you find that you are unsatisfied with how you were treated or product, let them know in writing. When you take the time to write a letter, which many do not do, they know that you are serious your position and will compensate you for your inconvenience. My letter writing campaigns have rewarded me with scholarships, complementary tickets, vouchers, and coupons when I have expressed my unhappiness as a consumer.

2. Ask to Speak to A Manager

Whether you want to negotiate a better price, lodge a complaint, or ask for a modification, you will need to speak to someone who has the authority honor your inquiry. Sometimes that may mean speaking to an immediate manager or someone higher up the ladder of authority. If you feel that your requests are reasonable and you are respectful, you will be surprised at how prices and policies, at even large companies, can be shifted to accomodate you . Speaking to store managers at some of my favorite clothing stores have allowed me to return items way passed their exchange dates for store credit and receive deep discounts on items with slight imperfections.

3. Remember That You Have Options

If you plan to buy something in bulk or have a history of spending money or patronizing at a particular place, do not be afraid to use this as fodder for negotiation. Companies, whether they be large or fledgling businesses, prefer repeat customers and the referrals that they bring to their financial bottom line over having to solicit new customers. I have definitely used this strategy when lowering my interest rates with my credit card company, asking that fees be waived at my bank, or negotiating the prices for my wedding pictures.

Which of these strategies have worked for you?

If this posts inspires you to get your finances in order, don’t let the work stop here.  Consider enrolling in one of my online courses. I have one on budgeting and one on saving.

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