Being a humble personal finance blogger living on the other side of the world, with little to no political stake in the US election, I always assumed Trump was a fake-tanned mess I’d never have the occasion, nor the desire to get anywhere near.
Today, I have proven myself wrong.
Against my better judgement, I’ve been drawn into the insane funhouse ride that is Donald Trump’s bid at the American Presidency by this article published in The Washington Post.
It’s written by a small business owner who was stiffed by Trump after selling him $100,000 worth of grand and upright pianos for one of Trump’s casinos. He doesn’t say exactly how many pianos this is – but after some googling, I figure it’s about 20. Which, when it comes to pianos, is no insignificant number.
But Trump failed to pay his bill, and instead sent the piano seller a letter that said his casino was “short on funds” (*cough* broke as hell *cough*) and summarily informed him that Trump would be paying only 70% of the bill.
At first, I thought it was ridiculous. In what world can you elect to pay only part of a bill? But then I experienced an epiphany – is this some hitherto unrealised budgeting tool I had overlooked? I thought I was a diehard bargain shopper, but am I actually just a chump who’s missing out on serious savings because I pay for the things I buy?
Intrigued, I decided to test Mr Trump’s method for myself. Here’s how it went down:
Sene #1: The cafe where I bought breakfast
Cashier: That’s $5
Me: I seem to be low on change. I’ll pay you 70%.
Me: Here’s $3.50, can I have my food now?
Cashier: That’s not how it works. Next?
Scene #2: Calling my electricity company
Them: How can I help you today?
Me: Yes, my household seems to be short on funds lately, so from now on, I’ll be paying only 70% of my bill.
Them: I’m sorry?
Me: I know you sent me this bill for $398, but I’m only going to pay part of it.
Them: If you’re experiencing financial difficulties, we have a range of options to help…
(Note: I might have got a discount here if I’d used some proper haggling techniques. However, true to the Trump spirit, I opted to belligerently insist upon paying only 70% without giving any further explanation. Didn’t fly.)
Scene #3: The Myer mid-season sale
Me: This tag says 20% off.
Sales assistant: Yes, it’s quite a good sale.
Me: I’d like 30% off.
Sales assistant: Oh. Well-
Me: I’ll pay you 70% of what this dress is worth. I’m feeling generous, so I will pay you 70% of the full price, not 70% of the sale price. But count yourself lucky.
Sales assistant: Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.
Scene #4: Paying my half of the rent
Me: I’ll only be paying $143.50 this week.
Roommate: You’ll what?
Me: You’ll have to cover the rest of my half. I’m not paying it.
Roommate: And why not? (Said with all the warmth of an arctic winter. This is when I knew I was in trouble, but I asked myself #WWTD – what would Trump do? – and forged ahead, heedless of danger or good taste.)
Me: I’m short on funds.
Roommate: (Ruthlessly, and knowing full well how finicky I am about budgeting) We’re all short on funds here. Pay up or get out.
So all in all, the Trump method was a bit of a flop. But maybe I’ll get a bad spray tan and try again next week.
Try it out for yourself and share your experience of the Trump method of budgeting in the comments.