Haggling: Part Two – When I do it and when I don’t

Some great points were brought up in my earlier post about Haggling: Who does it?

To be clear, I don’t haggle every time I shop, but I also don’t think it’s shameful to just ask.

I only do it if I don’t think the product is worth the price, but more often than not, I just walk away until I find something better.

In general, big box store or independent, I only haggle if:

  • The box has been opened and pawed through
  • It is a clearly used item (even if only used once)
  • If I am buying a lot of items and would like a few samples thrown in
  • There is a slight flaw or defect in the product

Other than in the case of the above points (sometimes I don’t even quibble about anything), I tend to always pay the full retail price.

Sometimes I don’t even have to ask for the discount!

Some sales clerks want to make the sale, and want to have you walk out of here having spent some money in the store.

So, they’ll offer a discount or a deal if they see you hesitating over something.

Some, have nerves of steel even if they work on commission, and will refuse to offer any sort of discount, but as you are about to really walk out of the store empty-handed, they’ll run after you with a discount.

Case in point: Buying a cobalt blue sweater

When I was at Bluberry downtown on Ste-Catherine Street (west of Alexis Nihon), I found the perfect cobalt blue sweater… except even in the size Large, the sleeves were about an inch too short, it seemed, and I do like my sleeves a bit long, so I can tuck my hands in.

When I mentioned it with regret, and was about to put it back on the shelf and walk out, she (unsolicited) offered me a  whopping 30% (I think) discount on the sweater if I bought the cobalt top along with it (that was a bit too tight in the bust).

I immediately jumped at the offer and purchased both.

Independent vs. Big Box Retailers

There was a lot of great points brought up about haggling at independent stores or at big box retailers.

I don’t discriminate between either. If the product at either store is not exactly what I wanted, and I am willing to delay the purchase and walk away, I’d give it a shot and see if I could get even a 10% discount to sweeten the deal.

Case in point: Buying a keyboard at an independent computer store

I bought a keyboard recently (review coming soon), and the box was opened. The keyboard looked fine, didn’t seem to be missing anything, but it still had a large “OPEN BOX” sticker on it.

So I asked if there was a discount on open box items, and she told me: 5%.

I took it.

Note: I generally don’t like buying opened electronics, because people can sometimes screw up the setup procedure on the item and cause more trouble in the end, or do something sneaky, like swap out items without someone noticing.

But this keyboard was still in the original plastic wrapping!

My bottom line is: It doesn’t hurt to ask (nicely)

No store or independent seller is under ANY PRESSURE or obligation to give me a discount whatsoever.

Heck, some have said “NO” and I still bought their goods anyway. I am only asking and it doesn’t hurt to do so.

And if I really want the item, come hell or high water, I am going to pay the price asked.

If not, it’s just another way for me to re-assess my wants versus my needs, and to stop adding to what I already own.

P.S. My January 2010 budget review will be coming up soon. Probably when I am back in Montreal.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.