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Spending Under Pressure

This past weekend Husband, Friend and I visited the “grassy knoll” where JFK was shot.  My nerdy camera around my neck, I stopped to read a historical plaque.  As I read, behind me Husband and Friend were approached by a man in a fanny pack (I should realized right then and there that something was amiss, my mother taught me never to trust men with fanny packs).

Fanny Pack Man (FPM from here on out) pointed out the window where Oswald shot from and told me mumbled to me that the view was better for picture-taking across the street.  Clearly it was, so us three adults, oddly plus one FPM, crossed to get a better look.  

Once across, FPM’s intentions became apparent as he gave us a mini-lecture about the scene in front of us.  He pointed out the marks that indicated where the gun shots hit.  He relayed the different conspiracy theories.  He wanted money

At the end of his half-mumbled, semi-informative speech, FPM delivered a time-perfected line that in effect told us we owed him $5 a pop for the presentation.  I like to say we got “Mariachi Banded” (common where we used to live in south Texas) – we received a service we didn’t ask for and were then told to pay up.  

Much to my dismay Friend and Husband reached for their wallets.  Gasp.  The rest happened in slow motion. 

*Re-reading that last sentence, I realize I might have given the impression that we were in danger.  No, we were not being robbed, at least not literally.*


I don’t blame them, I’ve forgiven them.  Pressure will make you do funny things with your money.  It’ll make you give $20 to a fanny-pack-wearing-man in the park who only asked for $15 and who deserved about $0.  I don’t blame them, I’ve forgiven them, I don’t blame them, I’ve forgiven them…

This blatant type of pressure probably doesn’t come up in your usual day-to-day activities (I think I get approached by the Crazies more than average), or does itA FPM can come in the form of your close friend or the car salesman at the dealership.  Sure, they might be better dressed, but they can still make you squirm when money is involved. 

A little awareness can improve the way you handle these types of situations.  It can prevent that feeling of, “Did we just give that man 20 bucks for 5 minutes of almost-incoherent conspiracy theories?  Yup, yup we did.” 

Consider these common pressure-filled situations:


With Friends:

  • The Chronic Wallet Forgeter

It seems like every time you go out with this person, you end up paying; it would be uncomfortable to savor your tasty meal across from their puppy dog eyes. 

Try reminding them before you get to the restaurant.  If you must, lend them the money, but follow it up with, “you can pay me back when (__Specific Time__) at (__Specific Place__).” 

  • $$$ Activities

Your with a group when allofasudden one person suggests you all go to some pricy location, let’s say France (or a French restaurant).  Sure, everyone wants to go to France, I mean, it’s France, but who can afford to just spontaneously jump on a plane? 

Unless someone speaks up, you’ll all be jumping off that budget-ruining cliff together (it’s called peer pressure).  Chances are, if you’re feeling queasy about the suggestion, someone else is too.


With Not-Friends:

Here Jack Zhang Jiayang discusses some manipulative, pressure-type sales techniques.  Don’t these sound familiar?

  • The Alternative Close

One of the more commonly used tactics by a salesman. Instead of allowing his client to choose, salesman instead give you a choice of one or two decisions with the intention to get you to choose either one instead of saying no. For example: instead of asking “Which day will you be free?” The salesman will ask “I can meet you on Monday and Tuesday, which day would you prefer?”

  • The Embarrassment Close

The idea is to force the prospect to buy from the salesman in order to save face. For example: “You can’t buy? It’s OK, not everyone can afford this price. I understand.”

What crazy thing has pressure made you do with your money?


Article publié pour la première fois le 06/09/2010

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