This has two meanings. The analogy is to the way in which a salami that is being sliced gets barely perceptibly shorter with each slice, until there is little or no sausage left:
- In fraud, particularly computer-based fraud, it usually refers to embezzling tiny amounts from the system, by, for example, taking fractional amounts of currency in transactions that are usually rounded out and accumulating them in a bank account. The sums involved are usually so small that no party really misses them, but over time and done frequently enough, they can accumulate to huge amounts.
- In negotiation, it refers to a tactic of slowly accruing concessions from a counterparty, until that counterparty finds that it has in fact been left with a poor deal. This tactic is often accompanied by the counterparty making the mistake of buying the same horse twice, or allowing the “blame God” tactic to be deployed.