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Haggling over Prices: Does it Work?

Haggling over Prices: Does it Work?

by Jimmy Uhing July 18th, 2007

In many cases, yes, you can haggle for lower prices. Price haggling is arguably much more common outside the US, but there are still many retailers willing to bargain with you for a better price. In many countries, price haggling is a tradition – it is part of the shopping experience. Vendors do not expect you to pay what they initially ask for, they want to haggle with you – consider it a social exercise.  They offer a price, you chat and joke a while, try to sweeten up the vendor and then ask for a lower price.  Some more chatting goes by about the qualities of the product, the vendor’s situation, your situation, and they offer another price. It becomes a conversation – a negotiation – so that in most cases both you and the vendor feel satisfied when you depart.  Sure, there are bad experiences with bargaining, but in general it is a positive experience in many countries.  But, what about the US?

In the US, price haggling is not as common, many take the set price on that sticker to be the only price you can pay. But, more people are finding out they really can bargain for a better price than what’s on the sticker, not only in smaller stores, but frequently in larger ones as well.  MarketWatch released an article today listing 5 ways you can get a lower price than what that sticker might say. Bargaining for a better price might not always be possible, but there are certain things to watch out for or time right to make it more likely that your negotiating efforts will pay off.

Number 1 according to MarketWatch is to time your bargain hunting for the end of the month. Their reasoning is that salespeople are trying to meet their monthly quota and will be more likely to do what they can to make sure you walk out the door with as much as possible.  You can also ask about upcoming sales. How often has it happened to you that you purchase some new outfit only to see it on sale days later? You can also find out how long the item has been on the floor – the longer it has been there, the more likely salespersons will bargain.  A fourth tip is to point out flaws in merchandise because frequently you’ll receive a discount for such imperfections.  Most of all, according to MarketWatch, is to be polite and don’t make your haggling efforts public to other customers because sales clerks don’t want to make the same discount available to everyone.

So, the next time you are out shopping, just trying to bargain and see what you can come up with.  Personally, I’ve had positive experiences with bargaining for clothing and furniture.  But, there are likely many more products that can be bargained for.  It doesn’t hurt either to brush up on your haggling skills for the next time you are in an overseas flea-market. Until next time…stay savvy, shoppers.

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