If you don’t ask for a discount, you won’t get it

Big thanks to FruGal for letting me guest post: How minimalism improved my finances. Thanks for the opportunity and congratulations on the redesign!


Went to buy some knives the other day.

I want to point out that we aren’t delusional chef-like people here, we just want good knives from a good brand.

So we did a little research.

First, we stopped by The Bay and found the exact knife we wanted but the handle was metal (we want plastic).

We saw this extra long one that could do the job in that really awesome German brand Zwilling J.A. Henckels:

But let’s just zoom up on that price now shall we?

That’s right. $162 dollars. $162!!!!!

Before 13% tax. So really, we’re looking at $183.05 taxes included for one knife.

So we decided to go the frugal route and check out Chinatown.

We still wanted the same brand, but we specifically wanted a plastic handle. Metal slips too easily, and wood gets ruined after washing.

Plastic lasts.

My parents have had the same sort of knives with plastic handles for a good 25 years now.

In contrast, our nice wooden-handled knives haven’t lasted quite as well.

Sorry, I’m green but I’m practical.

In Tap Phuong (a store in Chinatown, location here) we came across the exact same brand of knives:

From that wall, we almost bought the entire set of knives with the yellow handles:

Guess how much we paid for all of these knives, including tax?


That is $33.16 cheaper than the one knife we wanted in The Bay, and we got 6 of them.

(Wait, that little red one is a cheap one, and not J.A. Henckels, but same difference.)

Granted, the handles aren’t metal or “cute”, but this worked out to our favour in the end.

Know what else we also got? A 10% discount.

How did we score that 10% discount?

BF’s tip? Don’t look cute. 😛

We were about to go buy the knives in Chinatown after touching them and checking the prices the day before, and we had a little joking conversation.

BF: Don’t look so cute today. If you look cute and well-dressed then they won’t give us a discount. Go in like a hobo.

Me:…. I don’t have hobo clothing.

BF: I can lend you some.

Me: You keep hobo clothing?

BF: Everything I have is hobo clothing.

Note: He’s a minimalist guy. Think of a guy and how little he has in his wardrobe. Now cut that half taking into account his minimalist nature.

Me: ….How about I just not wear makeup? Is that acceptably un-cute?

BF: Not really. But maybe if you smeared some dirt on your face. Put on your sweatpants. Muss up your hair a little.

Me: This better get us a really awesome discount. 😛

(And yes the above conversation is a joke that really happened.)

In reality, we just asked for the discount.

Here’s a transcript you can use next time:

Me: Hello. I’d like to buy these 6 knives.

Note: You cannot ask for a discount for only one item. Has to be 2 or more. Or the item has to be damaged in some way.

Girl: Okay. *starts counting and wrapping*

Me: Since I’m buying 6 knives from you, can I get a discount?

Girl: Sure, no problem. 10% off.

Me: Excellent. *whips out credit card*

That’s it. It was that simple.

12 seconds of conversation for a $12 return.

That’s $1/second, or $3600/hour.

But you know what?

During my time there, I saw 5-10 other people buying more than us in bulk (not knives), like plates, glasses, and who knows what.

Not a single one of them asked for a discount.

I know you think this is an ethnic-only sort of situation, but it isn’t.

You can negotiate for prices anywhere, and in any store.

If you go into Old Navy, and you see a shirt in blue you like but the button is missing, point it out and ask for a discount.

If they don’t give you one, either buy it anyway, or walk away.

Just the other day when I was going nuts buying Packing Cubes in a non-Asian store 😛, I asked the guy if he would give me a discount since I was buying so much.

He immediately gave me a 10% discount.

So ask. Just ask!! PLEASE! 🙂

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.