Does is Come With a Saddle?

There’s an old negotiating technique I’ve used for years. It’s called “The Drag,” and it’s something I learned watching my dad haggle over . . . well . . . just about everything. “Not everybody pays asking price,” he’d say. And he rarely did. But whenever it turned out that price was not negotiable he always managed to get something else thrown into the deal. The horse in question, for example, did not come with a saddle. But before negotiations ended he did score a halter, a rope lead, and a sack of feed.

Buying a car was an all day affair for my old man. But when he and his salesman finally agreed on a price the real negotiation would begin. The salesman would hand him a pen to sign the contract while daydreaming about how he was going to spend his commission. Dad’s hand would hover over the signature block for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, he’d say something like, “Oh, I forgot to ask. That does include floor mats and a couple of complimentary oil changes, doesn’t it?” Then he’d set the pen down on the table and wait. It never failed to work.

A couple of years back I helped negotiate the purchase of a new copy machine for our church. Taking a page from the old man’s play book, at the last minute I let my pen hover over the contract, then set it back on the desk and asked, “How many cases of paper and toner are you going to include with the purchase?” And yes, that one worked as well.

There’s no reason why these same principles can’t be applied to the casino comp game. In today’s market, many casinos are slaves to the computer as far as comps are concerned. However, most properties still have some form of discretionary comps. The floor person authorizes discretionary comps in the pit. These individuals can use their own good judgment in writing comps up to certain levels. Beyond that and a host may have to get involved. Either way, it’s possible to do a “drag” to claim additional comps.

For example:

“Comp for two to the steak house? Oh, and it’s our anniversary. Can we get a bottle of wine with that?”

or . . .

“Comp for a round of golf? Oh, I forgot. I need to get something to keep my wife happy while I’m on the course. Can you toss in a spa treatment for her?”

or my favorite . . .

“While you’re writing that dinner comp could you go ahead and run me one for breakfast too?”

The key – of course – is to always ask for something MORE.