Don’t Like the Price? Just Haggle

A New York Times article from earlier this week kind of freaks us out. Apparently you can go into a big-box store like Best Buy, Circuit City or Home Depot and haggle down prices.

We would expect this kind of behavior to take place at a crafts fair or in an antique shop, but at big chain stores? Certainly, we have never tried this tactic when shopping and wouldn’t expect a very good response from a salesperson. “Hey, can you knock a few bucks off of the price of the DVD?” It just doesn’t seem feasible.

Well, I guess we’re idiots. The article makes it sound like people do this sort of thing all of the time. One Jersey City, NJ, native says he talked a regionally-based electronics chain into knocking about $1,000 off the price of two plasma TVs. Amazing.

From now on, we’re going to start haggling over EVERYTHING. That lunchtime salad? How about a discount. Toothpaste? That price is looking a little steep.

What about you? Are you one of those thrifty consumers who’s been doing this for years, or does this seem like a newer phenomenon?

8 Responses to “Don’t Like the Price? Just Haggle”

  1. 1 Nancy Hamel March 25, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Personally, I can’t stand to haggle with anyone over price…except cars…that’s a sophisticated haggling game, conducted with dignity in a little office with the full understanding that the price on the sticker is baloney. I have never heard of anyone haggling the sales person in a Best Buy, Walmart, or Target, so it seems like this must be a newer phenomenon. Does this mean we all have to turn into that annoying person who complains too loud in the restaurant, or hotel lobby and embarasses everyone around them? Terrific. I can’t wait to be the one in line behind them…. If that is where we are headed, then obviously those who don’t haggle will be (and already are) paying higher prices to compensate for those who do. These “discount” stores who claim they have the lowest prices anywhere should truly put their lowest acceptable price on the sticker and tell the hagglers to take their business elsewhere.

  2. 2 NYCer March 26, 2008 at 7:37 am

    It was not that long ago that haggling was common in large appliance stores like Tops. It was only near the end of their run that they put an end to negotiating price. I believe when Saturn formed their car company their policy was – the price is the price.

  3. 3 J Kimel March 26, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Yes, there have been a select few retailers which it has been traditional to haggle, ie. car sales or mattress sales. There is supposed to be more dignity to the store experience when haggling is not part of the equation, you could say separating your recognized national retailer from lets say, your local weekend flea market. However, why not ask to see if there is room in a price? Each retailer needs to make its own call and formulate its own policy. If you are in a store and plan to spend a large amount of $$’s (in today’s retail world, you won’t have a lot of company), why not ask for the store’s best price, or will the retailer put it on sale for you today…to get your business. Don’t think this necessarily reflects a lack of dignity or otherwise, it’s just being smart in an economy full of uncertainty. The retailer needs to be on top of its game to set policies to enable them to move their merchandise while keeping the sale process an orderly process, not an auction. However, if the retailer does not move its merchandise, then your visit to that retailer may be at its GOB (Going Out of Business) Sale and your next purchase may be from that retailer’s final sale auction.

  4. 4 AJ March 26, 2008 at 8:51 am

    I find the best way to do it is to simply bring cash, shop around and then when you’ve made up your mind you simply ask “If I were to pay cash right now what is the best price you can give me?” Or ask if it will be going on sale any time soon and if I can have that price now given that i’ll pay cash for it on the spot. Cash is king and speaks volumes…

  5. 5 mgood March 27, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Is this really haggling or was the guy trying to get a quantity discount. I feel that the point is missed when a Plasma TV is compared to a tube of toothpaste. Think about pricing and size of the product. Depending on the size this purchase could have been upward of 8000. A tube of toothpaste, yes is a waste of time but on a high margin product such as 2 Plasma TVs? It would probably be in the retailer best interest to give the discount to move the product, lose the inventory carry cost, shrink his margin, write a sale on the books and move on. Further more this sale puts him 2 TV’s closer to covering the monthly payment on his lease and not leaving a dark hole in some poor REIT’s property.

  6. 6 dave March 27, 2008 at 8:42 am

    When I go into those stores I do it subtly by asking if any sales are coming up. Many times they will say something like “Next week this will have a $50 savings but I’ll give it to you now”….it’s not out and out haggling like with auto dealers. As to mattresses, I have haggled with them harder than car dealers and the three mattresses I recently bought I got them around 65% off the list price. I’ve done this in the past and will routinely get a $900 mattress for $400 or less.

  7. 7 Phil Garcia March 27, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Haggling makes sense for big-ticket items and items with a high markup, such as cars, mattresses, furniture, high end electronics, etc. If stores can afford to mark down such items for their sales, why not give me the sale price now? Why should I have to conform to their schedule? As a previous poster mentioned, if you have the money and are willing to spend it, you won’t have a lot of company in today’s market. To the contrary, it’s silly to spend half an hour of your life just to save a quarter on a tube of toothpaste.

  8. 8 Ladislao March 29, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    In response to the first person (Nancy Hamel). I agree that waiting behind someone is not the best way to go. That’s why it best to pull the sales person aside see if they can “do the deal” for you. I DO believe though this is NOT a tacky way get what you desire. All you can do is ask, and if that person won’t allow it, then talk to the supervisor in charge and if that doesn’t work then talk to the store manager (in that order). You’d be amazed at what you can save; just like that person who saved $1,000 !!! People do that with my business all the time. You get what you go after. If customers want to spend retail MORE POWER TO THEIR OVERSPENDING !!! If they keep that mindset when they come into one of my stores and I will more than happily charge them FULL RETAIL. There is a scripture in the Bible Matthew 7: 7 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Key words here ASK – SEEK – KNOCK. Notice how the scripture says it THREE different times in ONE sentence. It’s basically saying DON’T GIVE UP !!! Even if you have to ask THREE times. That’s with anything in life. If it means that much to you to do it or not to do it, then make it happen. ‘Nuff said on the topic…

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