While many people have no hesitancy when it comes to haggling with the best of them at a jumble sale or bazaar, these same bargain-hungry shoppers absolutely clam up when they walk through the door of their favorite high street store. Many Brits have gotten it into their heads that haggling is an impolite thing to do, and that it’s futile in any event because a retail store’s prices are set in stone. This is simply not the case.
Haggling is a time-honoured art, and it can be done as easily on the high street as in the back street markets. Now, of course you don’t want to be obnoxious about it, but it really doesn’t hurt to ask for a lower price, within reason of course. If you don’t ask, you will never know what you could get. Moreover if a store is eager to make a sale and they see that you are prepared to walk away if they don’t lower their price a little, you may find that they are suddenly quite receptive to a little haggling.
If haggling still seems a little strange and not quite proper to you, here are some points to consider, plus a few pointers to get you started.
The Laws Back it Up
Many people do not realize this but there are actually laws to support haggling. When you walk into a store and pick up a piece of merchandise, no contract exists until and unless money has actually changed hands. Furthermore even if you are willing to pay the asking price, no store is legally bound to accept your payment. Of course, few businesses would be bonkers enough to refuse money from a customer who was willing to give them perfectly good money. But legally they could refuse, if they were so inclined.
Well, it works both ways. You do not have to accept the price the merchant is asking. The worst that can happen is that the storekeeper will say no. Payday loans could offer you the boost your bank balance needs to make the purchases you are after, even if you are required to pay full price.
And here is one more point that many customers don’t know: Haggling is built into some stores’ official policies. So on many levels, you are well within your rights to haggle.
Make it a Pleasant Experience for Both of You
The trick with haggling is to do it with confidence but with neither a trace of aggression nor an inflated sense of entitlement. An arrogant attitude will almost certainly defeat your purpose. By contrast, respect, politeness and yes, even a little charm can go a long way.
Don’t be too attached to the outcome either way. Keep in mind that this isn’t about “winning”, but merely about obtaining a better price on an item you want or need. Your happiness or sense of self-worth should not hinge upon whether or not you can haggle successfully.
Know Whom to Ask
Many sales personnel simply do not have the authority to give discounts. What do you do if a customer service assistant claims that he or she is not allowed to discount merchandise? If you’re really determined to get your bargain, and sweet-talking the assistant doesn’t work, you might politely ask for a manager or supervisor. But it’s better to determine the person’s position and the extent of that person’s authority before you begin haggling.
If you are new to the art of haggling and don’t have the confidence to ask for a discount, ask the storekeeper to throw in something for free or for a discounted price. It could be something as simple as free cables with a piece of electronic equipment, or some other necessary add-on. Many stores will be only too happy to accommodate such a request.
Seek Out the Imperfect
Keep your eye out for the tiniest of imperfections – marks on clothing, dents or scratches on electronic equipment or electrical appliances, a torn dust jacket or rumpled pages in a book. These imperfections will make the merchandise more difficult to sell at the ticketed price so the merchant may be all too willing to give you a discount.
Time it Right
Shopping towards the end of a big sale can present prime haggling opportunities. After all, the stores need to clear their display space for new stock. In particular, if something is gathering dust and has obviously been on the shelf for months, the merchant may be only too happy to mark it down even more just to get it out the door.
These are just a few tips; you can find many more online, and there are even forums for hagglers and bargain hunters. Good luck, and have fun.