Here's the scenario.. Kid wants a stuffed toy, but in the past it has been refused. So he asks for a couple of things that he knows are too expensive, and will definitely get him a "no". Then he makes his move and asks for the stuffed toy, as though settling for it, and parents may buy it for him, not wanting to deny him everything or wanting to meet him "halfway".

Similar thing happens in an episode for "Modern family". 2 people are remodeling a house, and one guy keeps overasking, and later "settling" for what he really wanted.

This is slightly different from bargaining.. where what you ask for first isn't even really what you want. What's a suitable word or phrase for this tactic?


4 Answers 4


Anchoring high

If websites on negotiation are to be believed that kid has professional negotiating instincts.

Anchor first and anchor high and you'll be playing in the big leagues is an article on the psychology of negotiation. The anchor is the first sum on the table and the article, unsurprisingly, suggests the negotiating party ask for a higher sum than they would be prepared to take. Harvard Law School gives some advice on how to overcome the anchoring bias.


I'd call it overshooting:

to go further or do more than necessary or expected
Cambridge Dictionary

For example:

How high should I overshoot the salary question during the interview process?


I don't see how it is fundamentally any different, as a tactic, from bargaining.

In the latter the seller starts off by asking a higher price than that for which he/she would be prepared to settle, and the buyer begins by offering a lower price than they would be prepared to pay.

So a child, negotiating with its parents simply begins by asking for more than they really want, and the parents may start by offering less than they are prepared to give.

Eventually a bargain may be struck

  • I feel It's different because with bargaining, if your initial offer is met without question, you'd be really happy. But here, I'm not sure you will be. Because you'd rather have the stuffed toy, than the other expensive thing you asked for.
    – insanity
    Sep 2, 2018 at 5:43

You are talking about the “Door in the face” method.


  • You should include some detail of what the "Door in the face" method is and how it suits this question. Links are useful but the content can change over time. Feb 28, 2021 at 16:37

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