The Best Times To Haggle On Price.

Smart Money has an interesting piece about haggling on prices, and here are the things they say you should always try to get the best deal by negotiating:

Medical Bills – This one usually works.

Retail Stores – This one has never worked for me. Anyone actually haggled at a Best Buy or something?

Cars – But, of course! Never pay retail, and always do your homework before shopping.

Financial Aid – I will have to try that one, as my wife still has some leftover student loan debt.

Tag Sales – Absolutely! Who would go to a garage sale or a flea market and pay sticker price? There is a reason all that junk is for sale; the owner doesn’t want it anymore!

So anyway – seriously, has anyone actually haggled at a retail store? I read so often that we should be doing that, but I don’t think I would have the cajones to do so! Anyone?

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Comments (11)

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  1. Hey David,

    I just had the opportunity to bargain at a retail store last night! I was at a fancy watch store with my husband. He needed a new battery and a new band installed. The battery was $21.70 and the installation of the band was $15, so the total was going to be about $37. I asked the watch serviceman if he could do it for $30 total. He first said that he didn’t set the prices, then I frowned. He then said that he would go and check. He came back and told us that he could do it for $30! Please see my complete writeup of what happened on my blog: http://calgirlfinance.blogspot.com/2008/08/my-husband-was-upset-that-i-bargained.html

    I have also had success in bargaining at retail clothing stores when something is slightly “damaged”. You can usually get 10% off, but then it item becomes final sale. Since I like to binge shop sometimes, I only ask for the “damage” discount if I’m 100% sure that I want to keep the item.

    You really can bargain anywhere, but I think the situation and timing needs to be right.

  2. david says:

    Wow, great story and glad it worked out!

  3. I never think to haggle in retail stores, but with tougher trading conditions it has to be worth a try. The worse thing that can happen is they say no.

  4. Julie says:

    My husband has been a retail sales manager for approx. 20 years and what the folks in retail don’t want us to know is that most stores will go 10-20% off on floor models of products if you ask. This does not usually go for clothes (which usually go on sale anyway) but is esp. good for furniture. For example, my husband currently works at a furniture and home accessory store and it’s their policy, if asked, to pretty much give 20% any furniture or accessory items on the floor (though there are limited exclusions–usually because the manufacturer will not allow them to discount).

    The caveat here is that it is usually going to be nicer (read: pricier) store who will do this because they tend to have more of a markup to begin with. Another rule–always ask to speak to a manager because they will probably be the one to make the decision anyway plus, sometimes, they will be aware of a sale coming up and know the item is going to be on sale anyway so they can go ahead and give you the sale price. The other “haggle” option is price matching–many stores nowdays will match a sale price of a competitor if you have proof of a competitive sale price. Even if they don’t have the policy, I say it never hurts to ask!

  5. When we bought our house we were buying a few furniture items. Living room set and bedroom set. I found a beautiful picture for our living room that was about $450. I ended up getting it for free.

  6. I always haggle on appliances. My fridge was new, but at a floor model price (about 20% off if I remember correctly) plus we got a 5 year warranty for the price of a one year warranty. This was also at a big box store.

  7. tiffanie says:

    i worked at a popular big-box retailer for nearly 6 years and we would give 10% off on floor models of appliances/furniture/etc if it was the last item left. Also, if something is slightly damaged, we would also give a discount. That’s really the only time we could drop prices.

  8. David says:

    Thanks everyone, I am going to start haggling everywhere – I figure I have nothing to lose!

  9. Kathryn says:

    Soon after I was first married in (w-a-y back in 1979) my mother-in-law came to visit from Turkey. We lived in Houston (TX) where there is a mall called the Galleria with what then seemed a mostly fancy shmantzy collection of stores. Anyway, I took her shopping one day and watched her haggle her way across the Galleria. I was appalled and embarassed. What I didn’t know then was that most of the world EXPECTS to haggle before making a purchase. I spoke with different retailers after her purchases were made and found they weren’t put out by my m-i-l’s bartering. In fact they expected it from those visiting from another country and regularly gave a discount when asked. Before that day I never would have dared consider asking for a reduction in price. I’m a lot less shy about it now.

  10. One other area where haggling can get you the best deal: cell phone companies. Especially when you start to offer to purchase accessories or add additional items to the plan, phone and store agents in my experience have some flexibility to offer you a worthwhile discount if they can lock you in.

  11. soft_guy says:

    I once haggled over the price of the floor unit of a CD player at Best Buy back when CD players were expensive. It was a 5 disc carousel unit. The original price was about $250 and I think I paid maybe $180. This was a while ago, though.