"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bargaining & Haggling

There were a few news stories this weekend about how shoppers should haggle with retailers to get better prices. As one who had a retail business (in addition to my regular job) for over 20 years, let me tell you exactly how things work.

You can normally haggle over big ticket items (appliances, electronics, musical instruments, etc.) in big or small stores. If the mark up from wholesale cost to retail is 100-125%, there's a great deal of room for negotiation if you're looking at a $1500-$5000 item. The merchant still has room to make some profit.

Small dollar items are another matter. There is nothing more frustrating than having a customer haggle 10-15% on an item $50 or less. I've had customers ask if I'd take 10% off a $10.00 item. Please go shop somewhere else if $1.00 makes that much difference to you. It isn't worth the retailer's time to deal with you.

Antique shops and shows are notorius for giving customers at least 10% off the purchase. The little known fact is that most antique dealers build that additional 10% into their prices knowing that customers expect them to come down 10%. The customer then is not actually getting a deal, they are simply paying the market price, but feeling better about it.

As a consumer, you can ask and haggle, but more than likely you're not getting a better deal. You're probably just getting the fair market price or you're getting a reduced price for an item that the store promoted or will be promoting at that price eventually. If you are truly bargain hunting, check the clearance aisles or start going to liquidation auctions.


Henny Penny said...

I got these brocade chairs for $40 for the pair. I thought I was getting a great price, what say you?


Henny Penny said...

This might be a better picture


Catch Her in the Wry said...

I think that was a pretty good deal. The old nylon brocade never seems to wear out. As long as the seat supports are still holding (not caved in), I'd say you got a great buy.

Anonymous said...

Coming from India, hubby is no stranger to bargaining! So why, then, do I feel bad everytime I chance back at those three car dealers places and learn the salesmen who sold us those cars lost their jobs not long after? Should I feel guilty? Well...now that I think on how bad the economy is getting, looks like we'll all be haggling over prices eventually. Thanks for confirming what I always suspected was true.

Going Like Sixty said...

I hate to bargain. I'm not good at it. That's why I like shopping in the U.S. stores. When I shop where they haggle, I always have buyers remorse - thinking I could have made a better "deal."
Bargainist.com has a post today about haggling at megastores.

I think I see a new niche service market opportunity: personal haggler.

Catch Her in the Wry said...

gls: Problem is, you'd probably have to haggle over their fee.

Going Like Sixty said...

)))) sigh (((( yup