Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Art of Haggling

Trent, over at The Simple Dollar, has a really interesting post about Haggling. (Be sure and check out the comments too, there is some interesting information in there.) My mother is a world class haggler. She has absolutely no problem asking for a lower price on anything. I will admit though, she does her research first. She likes high end furniture which she buys at "Going Out of Business" sales and Outlet Warehouse Sales. She knows exactly what things are worth and how much she is willing to pay for them. Mom also has no problem buying damaged merchandise she can fix up, but you can bet she will be paying only a fraction of the regular price.

Mom has another advantage over many of us - a No Return Policy doesn't phase her at all. She has an uncanny ability to know exactly how a piece of furniture is going to look and fit in a room long before it gets there. She never has to worry about returning something she doesn't like - and even if she does miscalculate slightly, she has two daughters who have similar taste!

Mom is smart. She gets to know managers at Outlet Warehouse Stores. Managers are more likely to give you a break if they think you are repeat customer. She also shops her favorite haunts often. She knows when something is new or when it has been sitting around awhile. She examines items carefully and looks for damage, and knows what she can fix and what she can't. She also pays attention to the gossip around town, she knows when a store is going out of business - and that is the time she strikes.

Me? I hate haggling. I am absolutely no good at it...

Once my mother asked my sister and I to pick up a chair she wanted. She asked us to make sure to find a certain manager and tell him it was for her - then she told us the price she wanted to pay. It was about $200 less than the marked price, if I remember right. My sister and I spent the whole ride over to the store saying "You ask him, I'm not going to do it" to each other. I don't remember which one of us finally got up the guts to do it, but sure enough, we got the chair for the price she wanted!

Here's how bad it is - when I was in the Islands a guy approached me on the beach selling freshwater pearl necklaces. I asked the price and decided to buy one. When the guy saw I wasn't going to haggle, he got this incredulous look on his face. I think he felt embarrassed for me! He even threw in the matching earrings. Haggling makes me so uncomfortable, just tell me how much it is worth, and if I can afford it, I will buy it.

However, that isn't to say that there aren't times when it is appropriate, and as I say, my mom does really well with it. What about you? Do you haggle? What's the best or most memorable deal you've ever gotten?

Photo by: TheeErin


FB @ said...

I'm not a huge haggler. But I do try if it's a big item.

Although to be fair, haggling on $1 or $2 is not worth it for me.

I just pay the price.

But if the item is over $20 or even more, then I ask for a discount or some sort of deal.

Without any hint of a concession on the other side, I re-evaluate whether I want/need the item and decide upon it at a later date.

I usually end up not buying it if it was a "want"

Dawn said...

I don't haggle on small ticket items either, unless I am at a garage sale. Once and awhile I might ask if someone will go down a little, especially if I am buying several things.

psychsarah said...

I'm with you-I avoided shopping when on an island because I knew I'd have to haggle. When I saw something I liked, I made my husband do it. My mom, on the other hand, is an awesome haggler. My dad won't shop with her, because as a salesman, he feels bad for the poor guy my mom is haggling with-he knews the seller doesn't stand a chance!

Dawn said...

psychsarah - That's hilarious about your folks! (And funny because my dad was also a salesman.) You were smart to let your husband do the haggling - I just let myself get suckered.