Make a Mountain out of a Molehill



Take a small issue and make it a big issue. Take things personally. Be surprised. Become upset. Raise your voice. Talk a lot about the issue and the problems it will cause. Amplify and exaggerate.

If you are buying something look for blemishes or scratches and say it is damaged goods. Become upset about a casual comment. Be insulted by a price that is too high or an offer that is too low. Accuse them of being too fussy, too casual, etc.


Look at this scratch! It’s like second-hand goods and will cost a lot to fix, and even then just won’t be the same!

Oh no! The box is damaged. I wanted it for a gift, too. This deserves a big discount.

What did you call me? How dare you! I have never been so insulted in all my life!!


Making a fuss over something distracts attention away from other things that you may want to avoid. It also takes up time, giving less time for the other person to find problems and negotiate a better deal for themselves.

When you become upset about something you shift the focus from the negotiation to yourself, with an implied requirement that you must be calmed down before the negotiation proper can continue. This also establishes you as a fussy person and dissuades the other person from doing anything that might upset you further. They may also seek to conclude the negotiation quicker by giving you more concessions or accepting a more favorable price.


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