As a followup to this week’s article about negotiating to reduce your bills, I wanted to point out an interesting piece on haggling when shopping. As awkward as you might feel asking for a discount, especially if you’re doing it in person as opposed to over the phone, those that are willing to haggle can save a good bit of money.
I won’t recap the entire story here, but I did want to highlight a few salient points. First and foremost, the article underscored the importance of practice. The more you do it, the easier (and more effective) it gets.
They also pointed out the importance of only haggling with people that are empowered to adjust the price. In other words, don’t waste your time bugging the cashier in a big box discount store. Instead, focus your efforts on sales associates, department managers, etc.
In addition, they listed situations in which haggling is especially likely to pay off. These included:
- Renting hotel rooms
- Making bulk purchases
- Buying big-ticket items
- Buying anything marked down or damaged
- Buying floor models
- Buying used items
- Buying open packages
Personal haggling success
I’ve had a reasonable amount of success with haggling in everyday life, though I typically only do it when I have a good justification*. For example, I once drove across town to buy a dehumidifier that was supposedly in stock. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the store, they couldn’t find it. Instead of leaving empty-handed, I asked for a discount on the next better model, and they agreed.
I’ve also had pretty good success getting stores to sweeten the deal when making a major purchase (e.g., free delivery or accessories when purchasing an appliance). I’ve also had good luck getter retailers to not only match, but beat their competitor’s prices. Of course, you can often do even better by going online and skipping the haggling altogether.
What about you?
Do you haggle when shopping? If so, under what circumstances? And how much success have you had? If not, why not?
*Note: I’m ignoring here those situations in which you’re expected to haggle, such as when buying a house or a car. It should go without saying that I negotiate as hard as I can under such circumstances.