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I have always been a fan of John Ruskin ever since I visited the Ruskin museum on Coniston Water in the beautiful Lake District of England.

Ruskin is quoted a saying “There is no such thing as a free lunch” and it is one of my favourite quotes as it is so true. If people give you something of value they generally want something back in return. They are probably using the Law of Reciprocity, which we know works. Check if nthey are playing to your ego to get something that they want, which might be at yours or someone else’s expense

However here is my favourite short piece from Ruskin, which is worth bearing in mind when negotiating. I have come across so many procurement people who think, getting the cheapest deal is a win. Ruskin said –

“It is unwise to pay too much, but it is unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money and that is all.

But when you pay too little you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought isn’t capable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

The common law of business prohibits you from paying too little and receiving a lot – it can’t be done.

If you deal with the lowest bidder it would be as well to add something for the risk you run, and if you can do that you can afford to buy something better.

There is hardly anything in the world today that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who buy on price alone are this man’s lawful prey”

John Ruskin 1819 – 1900

I remember on many occasions people saying to me I have got this fantastic deal. To end up with nothing. Derek Arden – The Negotiation Speaker