This is a follow up to this post, so many people have asked about how the negotiations went that I have to tell you, even though I'm still in recovery and not fully up to it yet.
I left work last Wednesday and headed over to collect K for our evening. A, the elder sibling, wasn't coming that evening as she had a sleepover. When I arrived the two of them went into a huddle, to decide on their final aims and objectives for K's negotiation.
A wrote down some figures and K listened intently to her instructions. Their Mother and I looked on with some strange divorced parents who both actually love their kids sort of atmosphere and we had a brief chat about the pocket money situation.
She told me that she was going to give A £15 a month and K £10 a month, so if I gave £35 and £30 respectively then this would work out well for all. I agreed. It was strange, agreement is something we rarely do, the last time being when we agreed to get divorced.
K and I set off in the car. We had Paramore on at not full blast, but loud enough for the image in my rear view mirror to vibrate, like when the dinosaurs approached in Jurassic Park. It was nice silent bonding, except it wasn't silent. There were no dinosaurs either. K had a plan. She was going to write a Powerpoint presentation to give to me on the pocket money scenario. She's 12, you know all about her by now so you'll understand why I was apprehensive. For apprehensive read "slightly shitting myself".
We arrived and K set to work on the PC. I feigned disinterest and pretended to do stuff in the background, all the while trying to see what was going on onscreen. I caught glimpses of animation, of things flying in and out of slides and of figures and zeros. Time ticked away.
Then, as I started to cook dinner, K disappeared. She reappeared some minutes later, wearing one of my suit jackets.
"Papa, I'm ready to present to you now" she announced. She's taking to calling me Papa lately, I don't know why or where from but it's kind of cute. I considered telling her that she'd have to wait a few minutes until I was ready for her, you know, not letting her take control in a negotiation, but I let it go and sat down, like a chicken to the slaughter. I don't like lamb.
The first slide appeared on screen. I did all I could not to show my admiration and parental desire to just give her whatever they were demanding. A "fight" was expected. The first slide, entitled "Introduction" said this:
A and I have been getting for pocket money, twenty pounds per month. This is the equivalent of five pounds per week, we would like a raise. With all the essentials we need we would have to have a raise, but we would also like luxuries, and I’m sure you would want us to have some too.
In this PowerPoint you are going to be viewing the average amount of pocket money and why we should have a raise etc.
It was very hard for me not to smile as this was presented to me, and that's how it was delivered. K has learned a hell of a lot from both her mother and I about selling, this much was obvious.
She didn't just read the slide, she presented it to me, ad libbing as necessary and not sounding scripted. If half the supposedly experienced salespeople I interview for jobs could present like this my Company would have a salesteam bigger and more successful than I could dream of, though I probably would have no time for blogging.
Another point that I was secretly impressed by was the fact that it wasn't just a slide with text on it, it was animated. Text flew in as if from nowhere and I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to do that sort of thing. Dinidu probably knows, so I'd ask him, if he hadn't broken his new phone by then.
K moved us on to slide two, called "What do we need pocket money for?" It went like this, only each point flew in separately as if they were landing on a small planet after heading in from different far off parts of the universe.
Clothes – AVERAGES: t-shirt = £20, trousers/jeans = £30, bags = £30, accessories = £10
LADIES ESSENTIALS, £10
Rare school equipment, £10
Outings with friends (cinema tickets, food etc.), tickets/travel/outing = £10, food = £10
She talked me through things, giving more detail and increasing the pressure. In a slightly cruel mode I probed the "Ladies Essentials" line. I got the answers I dreaded, in way too much detail.
The next slide was a compilation of data, the primary research that I had been promised. This listed friends of both my daughters, with their pocket money and the exact situation for each friend. If a particular friend was the child of divorced parents and received their pocket money from a specific parent then this was pointed out.
Good salespeople are taught to prehandle objections. It's self explanatory; the principle of dealing with the client's objections before he has even brought them out. K didn't just prehandle my objections, she kind of wiped the floor with them.
We moved on to the final and conclusive slide. It was called "Average". It was anything but average and went like this:
For the people with NES (never ending supplies (parents buy them everything)) we asked them how much approximately they get and they all said £60 or above. We found the average amount of pocket money by adding all the amounts up and dividing that answer by the amount of people. The mathematical term for this equation is the ‘mean’.
£51.875 rounded to the nearest ten = £51.90
A and I decided that we would like £50 pocket money. This is below average and you would be saving £1.90 each month, that may sound like a small amount of money but that would be £19 in ten months or £190 in one hundred months or £22.80 in one year!
Rhythmic Diaspora and O Diaspora (her mother) can discuss how they would like to pay that, as we do not mind.
It left me open mouthed, proud, shellshocked, dazed and happy. Yes, I am aware that they sound like a few dwarves that were rejected by Snow White, but it's true.
This final slide had it all. The first thing that both struck and impressed me was the way she had used the brackets correctly. The double set, the way she used two at the end to close the thing was good. I know many fully grown adults whose only understanding of brackets it that they're used to put shelves up.
Then there was the maths. Many adults I know would understand, though to be fair I do have a lot of very thick friends. The slightly condescending way in which she'd explained what a "mean" is made me chuckle. I've got an "O" level in statistics, but don't like to flaunt these things, I was going to be cruel, to point out to her that actually what she had done was to work out the median, not the mean, then realised that I was wrong, so shut up and felt pleased that I hadn't opened my mouth.
The final paragraph was the final straw, though paragraph shaped. To present it by telling me how much money I'd save was nothing short of genius, it makes me OLL or LOL or whatever you textspk kids call it when I think of it. Then, the way she'd multiplied the saving to make it seem bigger was taking genius into territory only the best salespeople venture into.
Referring to her mother by her former married name would have pissed her off too when she saw the presentation. That bit was a bonus, though inadvertent.
The very last line, the "Any questions?" one topped it all off nicely. I had none, it was all covered by K in the presentation.
Like any good salesperson she then tried to close me. I pretended to negotiate and haggle for a bit, like one of those Arab fellows who has to haggle but actually doesn't care what he pays. K went for the jugular, asking outright for £35 a month from me for each of them.
And, it's a funny and fortunate thing. K tells me that she knows when I'm lying as I have a certain expression to do with my mouth that I make. I won't tell you too much detail, as we may meet sometime and I'll lie to you, then you'd realise. But, I've noticed that K does it too. When she asked for £35 a month her mouth went into lie mode. This was good as I'd already decided I'd "settle" on £30 for her, with £10 from her mother and £35 for A with another £15 from her mother.
We agreed the figures with some conditions that I stipulated:
1. the presentation must be emailed to me and her mother. Otherwise I never would have been able to write this post. I had to promise that I wouldn't show anyone and I said I would only show it to family and good friends, but as a "look how smart my daughter is" thing. I think I've probably succeeded there.
2. That the agreed pocket money would be held for a period of one year.
3. That there would be no extra spending or NES money.
That was it.
K called her sister to report the outcome, she was really proud of herself.
To be fair, her father was even more proud of her. It was the probably the best negotiation I've been involved in.