Just Say No

There’s a story I love to tell about a young couple on their honeymoon in Jamaica.

They were walking through a town near their resort when they were stopped by a local man trying to sell them two small wooden statues.

“$75”, the vendor announced. “No thanks”, said the young man.

“$50!”, the vendor replied. “No, really. No thank you,” said the young man trying to be polite.

“$35”, the vendor sighed, as if he was offering a great bargain. “Well…I don’t know,” the young newlywed stammered.

“What is your name, and your wife’s?” asked the vendor. Without thinking, the groom gave up the information, and 60 seconds later, their names were engraved on the statues.

“$35?”, the vendor repeated, as if a deal had already been struck.

The young man, feeling as though he ought to buy the statues now that their names were on them, gave the vendor $35 in exchange for the stupid pieces of wood.

Almost 10 years later, the not quite-so-young man still has the statues…

…and every time I go to throw them out, I remember this story and I decide to hold on to them. As much as they embarrass me, they are a good reminder that sometimes I just need to say “No” and walk away. I’m still not where I need to be with that, but I’ve come a long way from being manipulated into buying two blocks of wood for $35.

What about you? Are you good at saying “No” or is this a lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way as well?