Post No.7762

Date uploaded in London – 30 March 2020   

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Bargaining anecdotes

William F Hallstead of Scranton was General Manager of the Delaware, Lackawanna Railways. One day a Lackawanna country farmer walked into his office and bluntly asked for a pass to New York and return. Mr Hallstead, who knew the fellow very well said,

“Look here, Silas, suppose I should drop in on you some day and ask you to hitch up and drive me to Honesdale and return, what would you think of me?”

The old farmer thought for a moment, and in slow drawl, replied,

“Wall, I think it would be gol darn cheeky; but Mr Hallstead, suppose I was driving to Honesdale anyway, and you asked me for a ride, what would you think of me if I refused?”

Mr Hallstead saw the point and Silas got the pass.



A n English firm cabled Edison and offered him ‘Thirty thousand’ for one of his patents.

“Too cheap, Edison”, said a friend

“Too cheap, repeated Edison. The thing is not worth half of that”.

His friends induced him to cable back: “it is yours”.

Within a fortnight he received a draft for one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. It had turned out, of course, that the English firm had meant the amount in pounds.

Edison wanted to cable that “some mistake had occurred”, but his friends intervened.

“Well, he said, it beats me”.



At one time the great copper magnate , Fritz Augustus Heinz struggled bitterly with John D Ryan, head of Standard Oil’s copper holdings, for control of rich copper deposits at Butte, Montana.

The transaction had nearly stalled when the two men at last met face to face in secrecy, and conferred privately for many hours far into the night. Negotiations broke down again at a point when they were half a million dollars apart in their ideas and it seemed as though a real impasse had been reached. No other channels of negotiation were left open.

Abruptly one of them said,

“All right let us toss a coin to see which one gives up the half a million”.

Probably never before or since has this much money fallen with the fall of a coin.



The life insurance office was taken aback by the old man of 97 years, who wished to take out a policy. His application was turned down.

Whereupon the old gentleman said with annoyance,

“You folks are making a big mistake. If you look over your statistics, you will find that mighty few men die after they are 97”.



Insurance agents are sometimes faced with difficult problems when the answer to the required questions put to applicants for insurance touch upon sensitivities or family scandals.

In one such insurance the consummation of a deal was held up for a long time by the refusal of the prospective insured to give the cause of his father’s death. After much wheedling the agent extracted from his client the information that the father had been hanged, but could not induce him to state this on the insurance blank.

All right, said the agent,

“We will put it in this way”. And in the troublesome blank he wrote,

“Fell from scaffold; death instantaneous”.

The problem solved.

TAGS — insurance, bargaining, anecdotes, tossing, , hanging,

Xxx Subham xxxx

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1 Comment

  1. That about insurance is interesting. Insurance companies are quite tricky and their intent is to make money, and not really help.To this end, their first and regular reaction would be how to reject a claim. This is facilitated by the devious or dubious methods they adopt. Most important, they put the essential conditions in small print, in technical language which no normal educated man can interpret or understand. And they keep the right of interpretation to themselves. And they interpret to suit themselves.
    A case personally known to me happened in Bangalore in the early 90s. A Dolphin car was left for servicing in the workshop of the authorised dealer. That night and the next day, it rained and rained continuously in Bangalore and the area in which the garage was located was flooded. The garage was totally flooded, was under several feet of water and the Dolphin, a car like Maruti 800 was totally submerged, and water had entered its engine. The car had insurance against ‘flood”. But when a claim was made, the company refused, saying that Bangalore had no river and so by definition there could be no ‘flood or flooding’. This enraged people, but nothing could be done. The Bangalore correspondent of the newspaper The Hindu – much respected Prahlada Rao who wrote a special weekly column – took up the issue for several weeks, but nothing happened. That is how insurance companies act.

    Probably, Shakespeare had someone like insurance companies in mind when he wrote:
    “And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
    That palter with us in a double sense,
    That keep the word of promise to our ear,
    And break it to our hope.” [ Macbeth]

    Incidentally, Dolphin was a beautiful car with a nice English engine. It had a fibre glass body which withstood the flooding. Even the engine came to life after cleaning and the car did reasonably well afterwards. .
    Insurers be damned.

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