I was lucky enough to spend time overseas, courtesy of Uncle Sam, in societies where bargaining was considered the rule instead of the exception. It was a natural event to negotiate the price of a product and was even an expected part of any purchase. As a matter of fact, it seemed to stun a vendor if someone failed to enter into a rather lively discussion, complete with hand and face gestures and vocal exclamations of one’s ancestry. It was great fun. Usually.
I’ve occasionally tried the same thing in the U.S., with varying degrees of success. Car dealers are tough nuts to crack; antique dealers, not so bad. I made an offer last weekend on some scratch and dented furniture and although the offer was declined, the manager responded with a polite “… but thanks for the offer.”
So of course I looked it up in the Plan It education section of our web site, and sure enough found an article on negotiating. To summarize:
- Do your research so you don’t pay too much but offer something realistic
- Always ask
- Try for a price break on extras
- Bring cash
- Take your time
I remember one item took three separate visits in three different months to purchase the item I wanted at the price I thought fair for both seller and myself. Patience can bring results, as long as you don’t need the item right away. And besides, it can be fun.
Here’s a link to the full article.