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All the time, people have questions on how its done.  Do you haggle?  What situation is appropriate for haggling?  The answers to the above are: yes, I do and 'almost any buyer/seller situation'.

So, what is haggling?

Haggling is to bargain, or to wrangle, a price down to a level acceptable by two (or more) parties.  This can be done aggressively, in some marketplace settings, or gently – depending on the merchant and the buyer.   People can haggle over anything - goods or services, for items in good condition or slightly damaged.

It helps to have a small amount of confidence, a definite idea of what your limits are in terms of price and the ability to walk away if you don't get what you want.

Let's get started!

Americans don’t usually haggle in most markets, like retail.  In fact, in a lot of retail settings consumers consider it bad manners to negotiate a stated retail price.  However, what they don't realise is that (with the exception of extremely high-end sellers, and sometimes even then!) salespeople don't consider it bad manners, and if they do you can be assured a competitor won't!

I have successfully haggled down damaged merchandise in a retail setting (trainers with a spot on them, a blouse missing a button, etc).  Most managers know Americans won’t haggle, so they don’t mind haggling with those who ask.  It’s more about customer service on that front, than about true negotiation.

Also, if you get three quotes, for say, furnace work, you can haggle those companies down, too.  "How?", you ask.  Well, usually you can eliminate one bid as too high.  Tell the other two companies its between them and you'll almost always see the one who wants the job more drop the bid even further.  Try it out sometime, I suspect you'll be pleased with the results.

But, in most parts of the world, haggling is definitely desirable, even expected.  And in other, black or independent markets in America, like flea markets, consignment shops and bartering groups, it is also a common, acceptable practice.  

So, why don’t more Americans haggle?

Well, the simple answer is, it’s not in our cultural repertoire.  (But maybe it should be?)  We tend to view the retail market as a combination of status and the sacred.   Whereas frugal individuals such as myself will wince at retail prices, many Americans proudly state how much they were fleeced for. lol Probably because they could afford to pay that, and they believe that says something about their work ethic, social status and character.  To me it says, "That handbag’s seam was crooked – Coach or not – they should have haggled the price down.  What a rip!"  

Some of the things I have successfully haggled on in my life are cars and appliances.  I generally buy cars private sale.  So, from experience I know that unless the seller states on the advert they will not accept negotiation, the car’s price is up for a haggle.   Many times I have brought a certain amount of cash to a car sale, an amount below the asking price, and simply offered what I had as cash in pocket to buy the vehicle.  On three separate occasions, my offer was accepted because the transaction was quick and the money was guaranteed (whereas with a check they have to wait, etc).  Even brand new cars are up for being haggled over – car salesmen expect that and work with you on price all the time.

Appliances are often 'haggle-able', too.  Especially if you can note a small dent or chip that is merely cosmetic.  I once bought a dryer, virtually brand new, for $75 that way, just by pointing out a ding on the side that no one would ever see.  What that communicated to the salesperson is, "I'm willing, but I need convincing.  Let's make a deal."  From there, we worked it out.

So, if we do it for large items like cars, why not small items like clothes, vacuum cleaners or even trainers?

Again, I think it’s a mentality.  We need to get around it.   After all, we are a consumer-based society, for better or worse, and definitely a capitalist society.  They want your money, probably more than you want to part with it.  Lol   So, let them help you spend it, as the link above advises.

I agree with the link above – never be super attached to what you’re buying.  (I think that’s good common sense in any situation, but it is critical in haggling).  Believe me, salespeople can smell a desperate sucker coming their way and in some cases will jack up a price specifically because they know (a) the item has some demand and (b) you don’t intend to walk away without it.  If you can keep your cool, and not care, you stand a much better chance of getting what you want at a substantially reduced price.

The good news? With the economic in bad shape, haggling is coming back into style.  And I agree with the philosophy "if you don’t ask, you don’t get."  It’s a virtual certainty.  The worst the seller can say is 'no thanks' or 'the price is fixed.'  Then, you can make a decision based on that information, or even decide to spend your money elsewhere.

Originally posted to xysea on Fri May 08, 2009 at 06:34 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  "salespeople don't consider it bad manners" (8+ / 0-)

    I did when I was in retail sales.

    A) I had no control over the prices, they were set at the corporate level.

    B) The time wasted on people trying to haggle with me ended up inconveniencing lots of other people who just wanted to make their purchase and leave.

    I think haggling is inconsiderate, quite frankly.

  •  People even haggle over healthcare. (6+ / 0-)

    I know a doctor who will negotiate stated prices if you pay in cash, instead of use your insurance.


    I'm sick of GOP SOP!

    by xysea on Fri May 08, 2009 at 06:47:54 AM PDT

    •  Hospitals and outpatient centres as well!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If you're faced with a bill you just can't pay, call them up and tell them. Ask if you can work something out, 99% of the time they'll be amenable to a payment plan, and sometimes they'll even discount your bill. "There's no way I can pay all of this, but I can pay half of it." Instead of taking nothing, often they'll just take what they can get. Medical billing is notoriously fluid.

      Whatever you do, take care of your shoes.

      by ekthesy on Fri May 08, 2009 at 08:01:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I loathe haggling and refuse to do it (7+ / 0-)

    My motto is:  Either I can afford it, or I can't.  If I can't, I have to go without.

    I consider haggling demeaning.  It makes me furious when I see people trying to haggle at the farmers' market.  The prices there are already low.  These farmers live miles away in the country.  They spend money for seeds, they toil in all weathers to grow these vegetables and fruits, then they spend money on gasoline to bring them up here to densely populated northern Virginia.  I respect their work and want to pay what they ask--it's not much.

    If I don't feel like paying their prices, I can grow my own vegetables and fruit (in fact, I am starting to do just that).

    In Tiajuana and in Cairo, I hated being importuned by people screaming at me to buy things.  I want to be the one who decides whether I want something or not!  I ended up not buying anything, I hated the whole process so much.  I appreciate that these people are poor and desperate, but their approach doesn't work with me.

    I bought a fridge half-price because there was a dent in one side (it never showed once we slid it into place against the kitchen cabinet).  It was at a warehouse sale.

    And I get things very cheaply on Craig's List and for NOTHING on Freecycle!  So far from Freecycle I've received a living-room worthy lamp with little glass table; a computer desk with chair; a microwave; a nice mixer with dough hooks; a beautiful wicker plant stand and a nice wicker magazine rack; I can't even list all the wonderful things I've received.

    Equal "rites" for ALL Americans!

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri May 08, 2009 at 06:48:02 AM PDT

  •  It's become routine (7+ / 0-)

    to haggle with the phone and cable companies, and even my credit cards. You can frequently get your monthly bill reduced, or receive some "special rate" that you otherwise would have missed.

    Last night, I called the cable company because my most recent special rate had expired and my bill was up by $40 over the previous month. I got a 12 month rate with all the same services PLUS a DVR cable box for $5 less than we had been paying, and $45 less than what was on my bill. Paying attention and making one phone call will save us $500 over the next year.

  •  I Haggled with Bank of America (7+ / 0-)

    I'm so glad you posted this diary so I could tell my story.

    Bank of America said my monthly fee would go from 9.00 to 12.00 in June.

    I have two accounts, one with a fee and one with no fee that I opened inside the Pentagon building in 1982. I haven't used it much for fear they'd start charging fees on it.

    I went to my branch, where they fall all over themselves being nice to their customers. I asked to close my account and transfer everything to the no-fee account. The automatic deposits and payments were the problem, how to transfer them all over to the new account without a problem.

    It turns out BoA has a MyAccess checking account that has no fees if you have a monthly direct deposit. Because I have my Soc Sec check deposited, they said I can change the name of my account, not the number or anything, and be charged No Fees!

    No more 9.00 a month to BoA, and definitely no 12.00!

    Joe Biden: Get up! Al Gore: Pray, and use your feet! Harriet Tubman: Keep going!

    by JG in MD on Fri May 08, 2009 at 06:53:59 AM PDT

  •  I own and operate a retail biz- (7+ / 0-)

    My pricing is based on a reasonable markup that covers COGS, overhead, and enough to keep my bills paid and let me eat.

    If you wanna haggle- please shop elsewhere. You van put my competition out of business, and the I'll own more of the market. ( I'm actually watching this happen with a competitor).

    Markups in some retail arenas can be as low as 1-2%. You may be asking someone to sell to you at a loss- which will put them out of business.

  •  Ah, haggling! brings up so many happy memories :) (11+ / 0-)

    and I feel like reminiscing -- growing up in the 60's and 70's I watched my mother haggle, and as a little girl, I was mortified! I later recognized she learned how b/c my family was caught in war-torn Eastern Europe, and she dealt with the Black Market, and I came to appreciate her art and skill.

    E.g., I watched her haggle at Macy's over big furniture items -- the salesmen tended to be older guys from Eastern Europe too, and their eyes would light up! they'd have a lovely chat, with haggling interspersed, and she always got a better deal.

    I've haggled over the years, big and small: the other day I haggled with a new dry cleaner! I saved a mere dollar, but the Korean lady smiled when I asked for a better price.  We're off to a good start :)

    From my experience: newer immigrants are more comfortable haggling, but I've broached haggling across the spectrum, so don't be shy! As my mom taught me:  It never hurts to ask, and remember to ask nicely! that's the whole secret, and have fun with it :)

  •  Never haggled until I went abroad (7+ / 0-)

    Haggling is definitely expected in most sales situations in Guatemala, and would be recommended for buying most items made for tourists, where the starting price is usually double what the vendor will accept. Where I have a problem is buying fruits and vegetables, because it just seems absurd to ask someone to cut three cents off a bunch of cilantro. I do it occasionally because it's expected culturally, usually when the bill comes to Q11, for example, and I ask if they'll just take a ten. Since I often appear indecisive when examining vegetables, vendors start lowering the price willy-nilly until I finally buy just to get them to stop. When I bring the fruits and vegetables back home, there's always a big to-do about how I was taken in because I'm a foreigner and how I shouldn't be doing the shopping.

    "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

    by cadejo4 on Fri May 08, 2009 at 06:57:39 AM PDT

  •  Would everyone feel better if we called it (8+ / 0-)

    negotiating? Because that's what it is. I'm planning on stopping by a local business that has a "conversation piece" metal chair I'm dying for and know that their price is ridiculous. I bought a similar chair in upstate NY at an antique place for $35 - so I plan to offer them far less than their sign indicates. If I don't get it, fine. I was taught by a master negotiator - always know the point at which to walk away from the deal.

    "I'll have a hamburger and a flashlight."

    by beegee kochav on Fri May 08, 2009 at 07:02:17 AM PDT

    •  Yes, isn't haggling just negotiating price? (4+ / 0-)

      And when did price become fixed and sacrosanct?  Most successful businesses I know wouldn't have 1-2% markup margin, but something closer to 10-15%. Certainly enough room to play with figures a little.

      I'm sick of GOP SOP!

      by xysea on Fri May 08, 2009 at 07:08:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think Americans respond better to that word (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NogodsnomastersMary, xysea

      Haggling is the world's oldest profession (think about it), a time honored custom that lends insight into culture, and it is surprising how Americans seem to consider it beneath them.

      Maybe because its not so in your face in our day to day transactions with corporate entities, that we wouldn't consider asking for a reduced price for say, a bruised banana, that we have been indoctrinated to accept corporate authority without question.

      Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc -7.25 -8.15

      by mydailydrunk on Fri May 08, 2009 at 07:17:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am amused at the vehemence of the anti- (7+ / 0-)

    haggle people. I never used to, mostly because I was a little intimidated by the idea. But recently I needed to buy a new washer. People at my office had indoctrinated me so I was a little more aware and when the salesman approached me I simply asked him "what can you do for me on this". He went around the corner for a few seconds and came back and took $50 off and then another $15 matching a private sale they had the week before. I don't think that he really had to check with anyone, and it didn't back him up since he didn't have to sell me on anything. It wasn't really any different than a sale - just for me.

    I will definitely do it again.

    If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem

    by mayrose on Fri May 08, 2009 at 07:02:33 AM PDT

    •  Forgot to say I saw the couple in front of me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theran, ilex, xysea

      hand over full price without a question. It is a very large privately owned appliance and electronics store in the Chicago suburbs that has absolutely everything.

      If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem

      by mayrose on Fri May 08, 2009 at 07:07:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have mixed emotions about haggling... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhillyGal, theran, Arken, Dar Nirron, xysea

    No problem with it in some circumstances...when it is expected..... but it can put employees at many stores in an awkward/unfair position.

    During the one foray I made into the world of retail sales, any employee giving a discount on a priced item would have been fired immediately. Even damaged item discounts had to go through the manager on duty.

    Set prices: my understanding is that they developed as an equality measure - that ordinary people got the same prices as the local squire/gentry and didn't have to pay for the lowered prices a shopkeeper gave the local bigwigs to retain their business as a sign of prestige. I've read that it was early Quaker shopkeepers who popularized the process as part of their views on equality and equal treatment of everyone they dealt with.

    So (given that background) I tend to see set prices as a good thing - for example, shy introvert (and hopefully polite) me doesn't pay more than the obnoxious pushy loudmouth ;-)

    •  lol And yet, markets are about deals. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Some people like the terms inherently set in, and others do not.  I can't imagine a merger between two corporations ever going like this:

      "I'm offering $5B".

      "Okay, sold."


      There are always intense negotiations.  Some people thrive on this, others do not.  

      I'm sick of GOP SOP!

      by xysea on Fri May 08, 2009 at 07:42:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SoCalJayhawk, xysea

        And set prices at retail places level the playing field for us ordinary people who don't thrive on it. I'm not saying that negotiating is always wrong (like big corporate mergers or even with Ernest T Bass's example of a product where the full functionality wasn't there anymore). But in ordinary daily shopping?

        Haggling at ordinary shops when there are listed prices means that

        a) those who are at a disadvantage (non-native English speakers, developmentally challenged, shy introverts, and the like) will do less well at negotiating - and end up (one way or another) paying more than those who try to game the system of set prices. If person X haggles a lower price, generally, either someone else that day/week will get a less good deal or -- in the long run -- the store will raise its overall prices to make the targets it had set.

        b) it can put employees -- who need to be polite - in an awkward situation. Working retail is hard enough without someone hassling over a price that the employee has no problem with. Someone upthread mentioned that he/she goes straight to the customer service desk/manager. That's less difficult, in my opinion, as it removes the issue of putting an ordinary employee between a rock (needing to make the sale) and a hard place (having no control over prices and likely getting fired if he/she agrees to sell the item at a lower price).

        If you like the thrill of negotiating, there are plenty of careers where those who thrive at it can succeed. I see no great benefit to extending haggling beyond the places it's already acceptable (car shopping -- ugh -- not something a shy introvert likes doing at all!) into new areas.

        •  As I pointed out in my other post (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the return of negotiating is inevitable, since both sides now have some idea of what's going on.  (A state of affairs that used to be confined to these big corporate type things.)

          "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

          by theran on Fri May 08, 2009 at 08:01:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That history is true. "Quaker price stores" were (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theran, mayim, xysea

      just as you described--there was the set price, and no haggling.  Those stores got away with it for several reasons, in early America:

      (1) The Quakers made quality products.
      (2) No haggling did save time.
      (3) Their fixed prices were about the same as the haggled-over prices.
      (4) There were enough of their group that the group bought from within the group instead of outside the group.  

      To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

      by Dar Nirron on Fri May 08, 2009 at 07:56:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, set pricing obviously spread beyond just (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Quaker circles ;-)

        In fact, my understanding is that one reason early Quaker merchants did so well is that many non-Quakers did in fact buy from them, knowing they would be treated well -- and pay a fair price, which they knew going in.

    •  This makes sense (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      although with the internet, it makes much less sense.

      In the old days, you basically had no idea if you were getting a good deal or not from a retailer, so fixed prices would help average people.  Now it's easy to know exactly how good a deal you are getting, so negotiating makes more sense.

      "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

      by theran on Fri May 08, 2009 at 07:59:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to me.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I do my research and then buy from the place that has the best combination of factors (price, reliability, and maybe even convenience.....).

        In fact, to me, the Internet makes haggling even less appealing than before....why waste time, effort, and mental stress haggling when I can just buy from the place with the best price?

  •  My SO haggled a 5 year warranty extension on a (4+ / 0-)

    washer/dryer set when the store was unable to deliver the dryer on the scheduled date.

    Stores will sometimes throw in something like that to soothe a customer since it costs them very little.

  •  I think the last time I haggled (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhillyGal, theran, sarahnity, Dar Nirron, xysea

    was when I was buying some bound blank business notebooks from Office Depot - I use them for note taking on my client projects.

    There was one type that fit my needs well.  Not too thick, well bound, and plain black without fancy ornamentation.

    I opened it up and it had calendars printed on the inside back cover.  Three years - 2006, 2007, and 2008.  Since this was late in 2008, I asked the clerk if I could get a discount since the calendars would be of no value to me in a month.  She had to go talk to the store manager, and a few minutes later I walked out with five notebooks each at 15 percent off.

    I feel a little guilty about it - the notebooks were perfectly fine, but the manufacturer made the bad choice of printing calendars in them - in effect, making them expire.

    •  Yes, but just as you are exploiting them in (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theran, sarahnity, el maso

      this one little arena, aren't they exploiting you in others?  :)

      I find some peoples' mentalities about bowing to whatever corporations dictate a little disturbing.  lol

      I'm sick of GOP SOP!

      by xysea on Fri May 08, 2009 at 07:38:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Either the seller is willing to discount, or not (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theran, sarahnity, Dar Nirron, xysea

        The seller can sell at a reduced price, or hope someone else will buy the item at the higher price. In your example, it looks like the item had not sold in over 2 years. Sellers have SALES to reduce inventory, free up space, free up capital, etc. If you haggle, you are giving the seller the opportunity to sell something they have not sold at current prices.

        Lat year Target, after Christmas dropped some merchandise to 50 % off, then 75% off. Now candy that is reduced by 75% because it is in holiday wrappings is a great deal-M and M's, Hershey's, etc

        Bi-partisanship is a MEANS, not an ENDS.-Barney Frank Feb 2009

        by sd4david on Fri May 08, 2009 at 07:45:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not really (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sarahnity, xysea

        I don't shop there for anything else.  They have the best selection of these kinds of books of any vendor in my area.

      •  don't feel like its exploitation (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theran, Dar Nirron, xysea

        if either party feels free to say "no".

        In a good faith negotiation, where the object for sale is available for sale from another source, there is a give and take that can be beneficial to both parties.  The seller, by being flexible in pricing or service, can gain or retain a customer, the buyer, can get added value.

        It seems equitable, when both aren't trying to take advantage of each other, and can be fun too boot.

        Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc -7.25 -8.15

        by mydailydrunk on Fri May 08, 2009 at 07:51:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  why feel bad? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theran, sarahnity, xysea

      An item that has 3 years of calendars on it and is late in the last year printed is one that anyone would be happy to discount- in no time at all it will essentially be an expired item and would have to be on the pile of deep discounts.

         I worked in retail for school years and realized that some people walk in with a little black cloud over their head, grump around the store, and head out with the same little black cloud over their head. The people who come in, are reasonable, treat the staff well, find themselves alerted to good deals, sales, etc. No surprises there, right? The grumps never know what they are missing.

  •  Report on negotiating credit card debt: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhillyGal, theran, Dar Nirron, xysea

    This is slightly OT but it belongs in the Frugal Fridays column if anything does.  My mom sold her house, in part because she had $50K + credit card debt, and moved in with me.  I negotiated all of her credit card debts down to 50 cents on the dollar and got them paid off.  

    Key points that convinced them to take 50 cents on the dollar:

    1.  Credit cards are secured only by the things they're used to buy.  If you default on a big screen TV, the company can take away the TV but not your house, car, or savings account.  They all know that, so they're more willing to negotiate unsecured debt than debt secured by large valuable items such as cars and property.
    1.  My mom had one lump sum, from the sale of her house, but no income to speak of -- she's on social security -- so the companies would get paid one lump sum rather than payments over time.  Both sides prefer one lump sum than payments.
    1.  One lump sum that might not cover all debts completely is a quasi-bankruptcy situation: you gather up all assets into one pie and everyone gets a slice of the pie proportionate to their claim.
    1.  She's 85 years old, so threatening to wreck her credit was a hollow threat.  

    The companies who took the deals were B of A, Citibank (Home Depot and Sears), USAA, AmEx (Costco), and Wells Fargo.  Some had already gone to collection agencies and some were still in-house.

    Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays at 5 PM PDT

    by indigoblueskies on Fri May 08, 2009 at 07:45:07 AM PDT

  •  I've worked in a department store, and (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    simaramis, PhillyGal, sarahnity, Arken, mayim

    currently I work in a tile maker's shop. At the dept. store, I could reduce the price on damaged merchandise by 10%, and the customer had to sign an agreement stating they could not return it. We were polite because we had to be or get fired. I really tired of those who thought they could just harass me until I agreed to reduce further. I did not have long lines because I'd smile, tell them they were welcome to continue looking, and go to a real customer. At my present job, we put in hard work making our product. Rarely, we do get someone in there who tries to talk our prices down. We don't. We take pride in our product, and the profit is slim. I could go back to working in the financial industry, and make a lot more money, but I love my work, as little as I make (as does the owner, though he makes little too). Frankly, I find those who try to haggle us insulting. They don't recognize the quality, nor time spent, in our product. My boss and I are initially nice, but if pushed, the response is less veiled, until either one of us can get quite impolite. Usually, those people leave. Sometimes, they realize they're rude, and perhaps buy something. Friends of mine who sold at craft shows (recently stopped due to no profit in the current economy and scrambling to find work) in the past cut some deals. They stopped, however, because those buyers always pushed it further. As we craftsmen all agree, if you don't accept the pieces at the price we ask, you don't really appreciate the artwork. We don't want you to own our work.

  •  Haggling techniques and technology... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhillyGal, theran, sarahnity, ekthesy, xysea

    Haggling was expected at the market in the village I lived in in Thailand.  After I learned how to say “My mother grows fatter chickens in her back yard.” Or “My mother can make better bamboo mouth-harps than these,” … the price always dropped by a few cents.  The best part of the experience, though, was after a few visits when the market ladies began to pre-empt me by asking me “How’s your mom?”

    I watched technology facilitate haggling in a hill-tribe village. A European couple who didn’t speak any of the local language carried a cheap calculator with them.  They would type in their offer for an item and then hand the calculator to the seller. He would read it and type in his counter offer. After a few exchanges back and forth they would agree on a  price.  Not sure if this would work at Best Buy, or in France.  

  •  normally, I pre-pimp this, today not so much (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sarahnity, xysea

    Sorry I missed that it was already out. But I have rec'd now.

  •  My son needed a desk lamp. He liked the blue one (8+ / 0-)

    and liked the silver ones less.  But the only blue one was the display model, which was lit when we walked into the store, as was the silver display model.  

    After the sales clerk established that this was the only blue lamp in the store, I asked for a discount, "because I don't know how long this bulb has been burning--what if it burns out tomorrow?"  He called the manager--the manager instantly gave us a package of two replacement bulbs free if we bought the lamp full price, without a box.  SOLD!

    My son, age 8 or so at the time, had never seen me haggle before.  He said, "Was that even LEGAL?"  I laughed and told him that that sort of thing happened all the time in business.  And began to tell him about how each of his grandfathers and one of his grandmothers were masters of the bargain hunt/haggle.  How a friend of our in South Dakota, where we once lived, just LIVED to haggle and barter.  "Give Cecil a pair of used tennis shoes,  and tell him to turn them into a pickup truck that runs in a year's time, and he would be able to trade up do that," I told him.  "It would probably be in 30 or more transactions, but it could happen."

    To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

    by Dar Nirron on Fri May 08, 2009 at 08:07:12 AM PDT

  •  A world traveler described (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhillyGal, theran, sarahnity, xysea

    an aggressive haggling approach a few years back on NPR.  He would find an item he wanted and offer the merchant 30-20%.  The trick he used was to cut off negotiations by placing the cash in the merchants hand and firmly refusing to give any more.

    It was "my money back or the merchandise". According to the reporter he didn't make many friends but he always got what he wanted.

  •  I was a retail manager for 25+ years ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    simaramis, theran, sarahnity, xysea

    I worked in management for 2 large corporations and a family busisness.
    Although I never thought of it in terms of "haggling", as a manager (never an employee) I would almost always make "a deal" in the following situations when asked:

    - discount a shopworn or slightling damaged item (it is best to get that kind of product out of the store before it becomes a total loss)

    - discount an item if bought by an innerpack or case quantity (restocking labor savings will offset the discount.)

    - honor a previous sale price (if a customer knows the history of my store's sales, then it is best to assume that they are a loyal customer and it is best to try and keep them that way)

    - honor or beat local competitor's prices (the stores that I managed, always had copies of competitor's ads available for quick reference and employee's were trained to call & verify if necessary)

    - discount an item that will not be reordered or is out of season (it is best to clean out bad inventory as quicky as possible even if there is a loss)

    In all of the stores that I have managed, it was actually a pretty rare event that any of the above happened. I guess that most people do not think that it is possible and do not ask.

    •  Based on the comments here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sarahnity, xysea

      a lot of people seem to consider it immoral to ask.

      "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

      by theran on Fri May 08, 2009 at 09:01:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Immoral? That's a stretch. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

        by ticket punch on Fri May 08, 2009 at 09:54:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Certainly 'rude' or 'bad manners' or 'trying (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sarahnity, BardoOne

          to drive someone out of business'.  The latter has not happened in countries that haggle.  I do not know why America would be the exception.

          I'm sick of GOP SOP!

          by xysea on Fri May 08, 2009 at 09:59:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes to those, sure. n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

            by ticket punch on Fri May 08, 2009 at 10:23:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  My view.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It's not that I really consider it immoral as a way of doing business, but the expectation in the US for most stores is that everyone pays the same price. That's how set pricing evolved (as a Quaker expression of equality; the poor peasant farmer pays the same as the local earl's son, whereas before set pricing shopkeepers would charge the local gentry less to ingratiate themselves and make it up elsewhere), and I definitely see the upside to set prices.

            I do see it as bad manners to put ordinary employees (who have no control over prices and who could be fired for giving a discounted price), in a tight spot.

            Akdude6016's scenarios do make sense.....talking to the manager about 'special' issues like floor models and such. But if I go in and just want to buy the newest thing in TVs or DVD players? I expect to pay the price on the tag. If that price doesn't suit me, there are other places to go or I can choose not to buy.

  •  Real question - tell me if this is haggling: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am paying what was once a reasonable price for storage space. I have since found a place just down the road that charges about 25% less for comparable storage, contingent on a one-year commitment.

    If I get the offer in writing and take it to my current place to see if they'll match, does that constitute haggling? What do y'all think?

    As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

    by ticket punch on Fri May 08, 2009 at 10:44:04 AM PDT

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