The Scenario

Imagine yourselves in the future. You have been married for fifteen happy and blissful years. Your spouse has been very supportive and helped you achieve both your personal and professional goals. As your fifteenth anniversary approaches, you have decided to buy your spouse a painting by a Parisian artist that he/she has always loved as a token of love and appreciation. (You want to thank her/him for standing by you since your days as an impoverished student).

You go to the web and you Google the artist. You find that she is represented by a gallery in France. The artist has a solid track record of exhibitions around the world, but she is far from being a household name.

You go to the Gallery’s website and browse through the selection of paintings that it lists by the artist. In that process, you notice that your spouse’s favorite artist is listed along several famous artists. The gallery’s website also has a section about the gallery’s heritage and long history of promoting French art around the world- especially in America and Japan. You find one painting that you especially like. The only problem is that there is no price or ordering information. You, therefore, contact the Gallery Director through the website.

After one week, you receive a response from a junior clerk at the art gallery. He says that the painting that you want is extremely expensive and the subject of many inquiries. He cannot, therefore, offer you that specific painting for sale, but he attaches photographs of several other paintings by the same artist that he says are smaller and priced more reasonably. He does not, however, list the price of the paintings. You write back to him, inquiring about the price of one of the paintings that you think your spouse might like. He responds after two days, saying that the painting is available for an exorbitant $15,000. That far exceeds your budget of $3,000. You are, nonetheless, determined to buy a painting by the artist as a gift for your spouse.


  1. What can you do in order to increase your leverage or power with the gallery to achieve the price you desire? (Please suggest at least four specific things that you could do).
  2. What are the factors that allow the gallery to have a relatively condescending or dismissive attitude towards you and your budget? What can you do to change, blunt or moderate those sources of power?
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