Bargaining: It takes two to play

Bargaining: It takes two to play

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Nov 01, 2009

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE TERM "BARGAIN" IN CONTEXT OF THE PRICE OF GOODS OR SERVICES SOLD BY OTHERS?

My college edition of Webster's New World Dictionary defines "bargain" as something bought or sold at a price favorable to the buyer (i.e., the best and often the lowest possible price).

Synonyms include "haggle" and "dicker." The same dictionary defines "haggle" as the act of arguing or wrangling about the price of an item or some service.

In this context, the word "wrangle" implies that the buyer and seller argue about price.

Perhaps you have heard someone say that the price paid for something was a "steal." The term is usually used when the purchaser has paid far less for an item or service than fair market value.

Stop and reflect on this for a moment:

There are at least two individuals involved in transacting bargains: the buyer and the seller.

In our role as consumers of goods and services, don't we usually use caution to prevent others from cheating us? In fact, books have been written about how to bargain. But if our intent is deliberately to try to take advantage of others by paying them an unfair price for something, aren't we cheating them?

Therefore, when we bargain for the purchase of something from others, in addition to using caution not to be cheated by them, shouldn't we use caution so that we do not cheat them?

If and when we become involved in bargaining, we can rely on our conscience as our guide.

As veterinarians, we should take the lead in doing for others as we would want them to do for us.

Dr. Osborne, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, is professor of medicine in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota.