The Art of Haggling
6/1/2017 12:15:40 PM

If you delight in perusing the clearance rack to score the best deals on those banana-yellow pumps you’ve had your eye on, and you loathe the thought of paying full price for most things (except for Community Coffee, because it’s just worth it), you may try working up the courage to haggle when you shop. 

Many seasoned hagglers live by the mantra, "It never hurts to ask,” but there are also a few general rules to consider when you put on your best negotiation face. After all, this is the South, where being polite is practically mandated, unless you happen to be in Wal-Mart after eleven p.m., and of course, one catches more flies with honey than vinegar. 

Do your homework before you haggle. If you have a pretty good idea of what fair market value is for the product you hope to purchase, you’ll likely be more successful in your negotiations. Don’t be afraid to ask if people will match prices to those of other stores or even online. 

Charm isn’t only for bracelets. Smile politely at the shopkeeper. Make eye-contact and remember your manners. You are unlikely to get the price lowered if you become unpleasant or insulting. Be respectful of the person you are negotiating with, of their store, their merchandise, and of course, of their opinion. Be willing to walk away if they aren’t interested in negotiating. 

Loyalty counts. Remind sellers of your repeat business, and that you are a loyal customer. Haggling with them may not result in a lower price, but they may go the extra mile because you have been a reliable customer and offer you free installation, free shipping, or free delivery. 

Ask questions carefully. You may get better results with open-ended questions like, "How much could you discount this?” rather than asking for a specific amount. However, if you do ask for a specific reduction, it’s best to have a reason why. If you’re paying with cash instead of a credit card, ask if they would give you the three percent off that they would normally have to pay the credit card company since you are saving them that money by paying in cash. 

Buy in bulk and be willing to wait. Instead of making haggling a contest of wills, which doesn’t often yield results, focus on something that will benefit both you and the seller. For example, if you notice that one store has something on clearance, but they don’t have a lot of it in stock, call other stores. If they don’t have the item on clearance, ask to speak to a manager and offer them the clearance price the other store is advertising, and remind them of things such as your willingness to buy in bulk, it is the end of the season, and you don’t mind waiting for them to decide. 

Haggling is a fine art, and it may not turn out the way you want it to. Remember that being polite and reasonable are the keys to success. If you don’t get the price you’re looking for, you still want to be able to show your face in the establishment in which you have chosen to haggle, so be kind and respectful as you negotiate. 

Posted by: Lauren Atterbery Cesar | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Finances

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