"You've Caught the NET!"


DO YOU HAGGLE? On Everyday Things? More and More Do!

Good Morning, All!

I'd like to set a scene for you.

You walk into a shoe store, or the neighborhood coffee house, or an electronics store to buy that new wide-screen HDTV (you know, the one that I spent over $2,000 on a couple of years ago, and is now about $500!).  Do you negotiate or haggle at all on the price?


Well, wait a minute - don't you shop at this establishment all the time?  Don't you deserve a bit of a break for being a loyal customer?

Although haggling is a way of life in many countries, it has not a way of life here in the U.S. as it has elsewhere.  Why not?  Perhaps many Americans feel it to be demeaning, beneath them.  Even a sign of neediness to try to negotiate.

Of course, most business people negotiate every single day - for advertising, supplies, salaries on new hires, and the like.  Most everyone negotiates, or thinks they are negotiating, the best price on a new or used vehicle.  But beyond that, here in the U.S. - very little.

Michael Lee, in his 2007 book Black Belt Negotiating (American Management Association) summarizes a different approach to buying everyday items in more affluent countries, like the U.S.  Here, we consumers often have more money than time.  In other places, the opposite is true - buyers have more time than money.

Think back to your last trip to Mexico, or the Caribbean, or Asia.  Someone tries to sell you a trinket or souvenir at a market, or on the street.  If you pay what they ask without resistance or negotiation - the vendor laughs all the way to the bank, and talks about it all day with his fellow vendors!

Now, however, especially in light of the recent economic downturn, more Americans are haggling for merchandise than they may have ever haggled!  According to a survey conducted by BI Gresearch last April, roughly half of U.S. Consumers are attempting to negotiate better prices on everything from car repairs to electronics and appliance purchases.  A recent British survey nearly 60% of those responding said they are more likely to price negotiate now than they were six months ago.

One Chicago Musician, Eli Blair, who performs under the stage name "Ellie May," recently worked out a better deal on a $499 bass at Guitar Center.  She ended up paying $410 for the instrument, and even got the sales person to throw in a $100 hard case as part of the package!

"All you have to do is ask," advised Blair.

Margot Bogue, Senior Vice President of Cramer-Krasselt Advertising here in Chicago, sees more consumers gaining the confidence to negotiate every day purchases.  The firm is suggesting its clients adopt a more flexible, employee-empowered pricing structure, to give their customers the psychological and economic "victory" they now crave when they buy.

The rise of the Internethas fueled buyer confidence in price negotiation on every day or special-purchase items.  Online shoppers can perform detailed price research on virtually every available product before entering a store.  Many stores, including Home Depot, Best Buy, and Ritz Camera, have low price guarantees, and empower their own front-line employees to discount prices, to a certain degree, to complete a sale.

Buying merchandise online?   Here's a money-saving tip:  before you hit the "Confirm Purchase" buttonon an e-tailer website, open up another browser window and Google discounts for the item you are considering.  For example, entering "HP Discounts" can provide a whole list of discount coupon codes that you can then cut and paste into the "Enter Promotional Code" box on most websites.   The potential savings - anything from Free Shipping, to perhaps as much as 25% off your total purchase.

Again, you never know until you try!

Even beleaguered U.S. Auto Maker General Motors, with their recently-publicized "Employee Pricing for Everyone" promotion started many to ask for the "Employee Price" at other retailers as well.   Most retailers have some sort of "Employee Discount," and, in order to make a sale, many store managers will give buyers who ask for it a similar discount.

Of course, there are variances on negotiating tactics.

One Maryland resident recently negotiated down the price of a steak dinner at a restaurant, and got considerable discounts on several women's clothing stores.  Another Chicago shopper looks for "scratch and dent" or "worn" items, and works a good deal over the defect. 

One lady from the Chicago Suburb of Wilmette IL saved $200 on a mattress, box spring, bed frame, and delivery by threatening to walk out of an American Mattress store.  The same lady negotiated an upgrade to a more expensive carpet at a Lowe's store, using the same drama.

Abt Electronics of Glenview IL has been serving the Chicago area for over 70 years, and prides itself on offering the best price and free delivery.  Abt is the largest single-store appliance and electronics retailer in the U.S. 

Even so, however, Abt General Manager Marc Cook is willing to negotiate, within reason, to complete a sale.  "If people have a reasonable request when it comes to pricing, we would rather have them leave satisfied than spend money on gas going elsewhere," said Cook. "But we're looking for them to be as reasonable as they are looking for us to be."

So . . . do you dicker?  Daily?  Will you now?

See our post via BlogChicagoHomes.com for more info, as well as a link to Susan Chandler and Wailin Wong's story in the October 19th edition of the Chicago Tribune.


Comment balloon 5 commentsDean Moss • October 28 2008 10:52AM


Coming from the car business, I have been known to negotiate on furniture, tires, Christmas trees and clothing. My wife is not a big fan of watching me do this, so I have toned it down in recent years. A friend of mine will go so far as to negotiate w/ Domino's Pizza. Nice job.

Posted by Patrick Randles (Nova Home Loans) about 10 years ago

Nice post. Some friends of ours were just discussing how they negotiated the purchase of their new washer and dryer between Best Buy, Lowe's, and HH Gregg. They ended up playing them against each other and got a pretty good deal. They paid attention to the "price match / price beat" philosophy. 

Posted by Home Loan Search.Online (Home Loan Search Online) about 10 years ago

Haggling has never been a way of life in north America.  I have to admit admiring the people who have the balls or ovaries to go for it.

However, I do have some concerns about the whole "get it cheap mentality" that seems to pervade our thinking.  We want bigger, better for less.  This has led to a booming economy in China.  Not so good for we North Americans who are losing manufacturing jobs at an alarming rate.  China has cheap labour, no unions, no health benefits and no safety standards.  All of these perks come at a price.  Companies were catching on to this cheap way of manufacturing their wares for top profit about 10-15 years ago.  It has since snow balled.  This has been a huge contributor to the erosion of our comfy middle class existence.  I swear if I ever come across even one article of clothing, linen, accessories or you name it that has a MADE IN CANADA or MADE IN THE USA label attached to it, I'm buying it!!

Posted by Vivien C Buckley about 10 years ago

Dean--If I don't think the price is fair, I let the person lknow we will buy somewhere else. We have been able to save on many things this way...All depends on if they want the sale or not. :)

Posted by Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro (Boardman Realty) about 10 years ago

Funny, I never haggle on prices when I sell something.  I wish my customers were the same way!

Posted by Lisa Friedman, Central New Jersey Real Estate (Alliance Realtors) about 10 years ago

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