Monogrammed Bathrobes For Kids – A Present Fit For A King

It was coming up to the birthday of my eldest son a few weeks ago. As a parent it gets harder and harder each year, as the children get more street wise, to find a present that is both acceptable to a teenage boy as well as enabling you as a loving parent to keep the coolness that every parent tries to hang on to.

After many weeks of trying to pre-empt what he would like as a gift imagine our surprise when he approached me one morning asking for a hooded bathrobe with his initials on it, just like he’d seen a pop star or other wearing some MTV programme or other. Where on earth was I going to find a hooded monogrammed kids bathrobe.

When I was a child my birthday present were usually pretty basic things, a new football or a book or something of that ilk, nothing too taxing for my parents, I don’t think they were too bothered about trying to keep any kind of coolness going, my amusement of wondering what my parents would say if I’d have asked them for a hooded kids monogrammed bathrobe did nothing to ease my worries as to where I was going to start looking.

In the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think what my son was hoping for with hooded kid’s monogrammed bathrobe; was he hoping to emulate his gangster rap heroes with his newly acquired fashion item or was he looking to achieve the appearance of a junior mafia don?

These thoughts were more of a puzzle than a concern though and would just pop into my head at random times through out the day, maybe as diversionary tactics by my brain to detract from the main issue, where would I get my hooded kids monogrammed bathrobe from?

Obviously I didn’t want to disappoint my kid so I thought I’d better take a bit of time to research what options were available to me as far as hooded kids monogrammed bathrobe go.

After much research I discovered that there was indeed quite a demand for hooded kids bathrobes, generally the ones available are of a lightweight soft cotton weave bathrobe which are used by many of the finest tropical hotels but I didn’t think that this is quite what my kid had in mind, he wanted a rough and tough looking hooded kids monogrammed bathrobe that had attitude, not something straight out of Fantasy Island.

Imagine my amazement when on my travels around the country I was thumbing through a local newspaper only to see an advertisement for a Turkish company that were in town for one week only selling bathrobes of the very finest quality in all shapes and sizes, I had to make contact with them while I could.

I found a contact number and after much confusion finely described what it exactly was that I needed, a hooded kid’s monogrammed bathrobe, and when I wanted it for.

I chose a blue bathrobe, terry interior cotton outside with gold piping and with a plush feel to it. I gave them my kid’s initials and the order was placed.

The order for the hooded kid’s monogrammed bathrobe was e mailed directly to the Turkish bathrobe manufacturers [http://designer-bathrobes.com/The_News/Latest_News/Turkish_Bathrobes] and within 3 weeks a parcel arrived on my doorstep, a week earlier than quoted.

The bathrobe was magnificent, my son’s face was a real picture on his birthday, I was the coolest Dad in town and everything was perfect.

I have to say I love the hooded kids bathrobe so much I’ve ordered myself one.

Like father like son.

Negotiation Skills — The Salami Technique

Some negotiators just love to play tactical games. In this article we will look at one their favourite negotiation tactics – the Salami technique – and think about how to rebuff it.

Salami sausages are big things (often spicy) that are eaten a slice at a time. They would be indigestible if taken in a single large piece. This aspect has led negotiators to use the name for a negotiation technique that tries to do just that: to win concessions in small doses (slices) when the other party would probably reject them if they were put on the table all at once. The technique is often used against a party that is mainly concerned with damage limitation.

Consider a tough union negotiating with management. Management would really just like to keep the status quo (damage limitation) but the union negotiators would like a whole host of goodies to take back for their members. These could include a pay rise, more holidays, flexible working hours, private health membership, better pension arrangements, improved canteen, increased allowances and so on. It is not difficult for the union to make a case for each of these and they can probably add to the list.

If the union negotiators use the salami tactic they will present just one of their demands for discussion and push hard to reach agreement. Let’s say they focus on a 6% pay rise and after a long discussion and some haggling they agree on 4%. Deal done, except there is more to come. That’s just the first slice of the salami and there is a whole sausage in the cupboard.

The next slice might be the holiday arrangements. The current 23 days is from a bygone age. ‘Other employers’ have agreed to 25 days plus public holidays. Let’s say they eventually reach agreement at 24 days this year and 25 days next year. Good! The managers might by now be congratulating themselves on their rusty negotiation skills and their damage limitation but the union representatives have been busy polishing their negotiation skills.

‘We would now like to discuss something that is very dear to the hearts of our members, the need for flexible working hours.’ The slicing of the salami sausage continues: private health, pension, canteen, allowances, and so on. By the end of the negotiations, when the management team add it all up they are staggered at what they have conceded, slice by slice. None of the individual items seemed all that great at the time but – add them all together and the cumulative effect is astonishing.

What went wrong?

The management negotiators were beguiled by one of the standard tactics used by skilled negotiators. Of course, presented like this, the salami technique looks so obvious that you might think that no management team could be so stupid as to be caught by it. However, just as a simple magic trick can seem incredible when performed by a skilled magician, so even simple negotiation skills like the salami technique can produce amazing results when used by skilled and experienced negotiators.

The salami is not restricted to management-union negotiations. Any negotiator who has a list of things on which they want to gain agreement can use it. Try it when you next buy a car. Are you buying just one item, the car? Or are you gaining agreement on several things: buying the car, filling the petrol tank, replacing worn tyres if it’s a used car, a free service next year, alloy wheels… and whatever else you can think of. Will they lose the sale over a tank of petrol or one new tyre?

So, what do you do if you are on the receiving end and the other party tries to salami you?

Of course, your first line of defence is to recognise what they are doing and your second is to put a stop to it. You will need to be assertive about this but the response is quite straightforward. The salami tactic works because the person being sliced does not recognise what is happening. Once you do, you can fight it.

How? Simply refuse agreement on any one slice until you have everything out on the table. ‘Is there anything else you want to discuss as part of these negotiations?’ Do not discuss details until you have formally agreed that everything is out in the open. Then put forward a proposal on a collective agreement — bundle the lot together.

The discussion can now begin in earnest and you can use your negotiation skills. You might trade one slice of salami off against another by offering some flexibility on, say, item one provided that they drop, say, items two and three. Continue like that until you are happy with the deal, then close.

Good luck! And watch out for that spicy sausage!

Author: Tony Atherton
© Tony Atherton 2005)

Net Present Value (NPV) Made Simple

Net Present Value (NPV) concept just means that money now is more valuable than money later on. Why? Simply because you can use money to make more money! You can either start a business with money, or simply put it in the bank to earn interest!

Imagine that your parents just won the lottery and offered you the choice of receiving $10,000 now or next year. Which one would you chose?

If you place the $10,000 in your bank account today and assuming you can earn 4% interest, your money could earn $10,000 x 4% = $400 in a year. In other words your $10,000 now would become $10,400 in a year’s time.

In other words, $10,000 now is more valuable than $10,000 next year. $10,000 now is actually the same as $10,400 next year (at 4% interest).

There are many different ways that people use these terms in the industry.

We can say that the Present Value (PV) of $10,400 next year is $10,000. We can also say that the Future Value (FV) of $10,000 invested today is $10,400 in one year. Using the same logic applied to multiple years (n) and a given interest rate (r) we can link Present Value (PV) and Future Value (FV) to each other by a formula:

PV = FV / (1+r)n

PV is Present Value FV is Future Value r is the interest rate (as a decimal, so 0.04, not 4%) n is the number of years Let’s use this formula to calculate Present Value of $900 in 3 years with 10% interest rate:

PV = FV / (1+r)n

PV = $900 / (1 + 0.10)3 = $900 / 1.103 = $676.18

In some finance books, you see a formula PV(r,n) showing a function of r and n:

PV(10%, 3) = 1 / (1 + 0.10)3

so for the above example you can write PV = PV(10%,3) X $900 = $676.18

NPV and Project Selection

The concept of NPV is often used for selecting projects that are worth doing. You subtract the initial investment on the project from the total Present Values of inflows to arrive at Net Present Value (NPV). You proceed with the project only if NPV is positive.

There are two main formulas for the calculation of NPV:

When cash inflows are even:

NPV = C × 1 − (1 + r)-n / r – − Initial Investment

In the above formula:

C is the net cash inflow expected to be received each period r is the required rate of return per period (or interest rate over the period) n are the number of periods during which the project is expected to operate and generate cash inflows

When cash inflows are uneven:

NPV =C1/ (1 + r)1 + C2 / (1 + r)2 + C3 / (1 + r)3 +… − Initial Investment

where:

r is the target rate of return per period (or interest rate per period); C1 is the net cash inflow during the first period; C2 is the net cash inflow during the second period; C3 is the net cash inflow during the third period, and so on…

In some books Initial Investment is also presented as C0 but with a negative value when you add it in the equation:

NPV = Co + (C1 / (1 + r)1) + C2 / (1 + r)2 + C3 / (1 + r)3 +…