Adjust Text Size

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for a Discount, The Sequel

Written by Nickel - 20 Comments

Bank Deal: Earn 1.00% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at Barclays.

This past Friday night I was reminded of the importance of being proactive and asking for a discount when you’re shopping. We’ve been in the market for a new TV for a little while now, and we finally narrowed our search to one model in particular. Circuit City had it in stock and for a good price, but I decided to stop off at Best Buy before making the purchase (they’re only about a block apart).

I was in a hurry, so I rushed to the back, checked the price, saw that the Circuit City price was selling it for about 15% less, and turned to head out. On my way out of the TV section, a Best Buy employee intercepted me and asked if there was anything he could help me with. I pointed to the TV in question and told him that I wanted to buy it, but that Circuit City had a much better price. He replied that he was sure that he could match it. Without even thinking about it, the first thing out of my mouth was “Can you beat it? If all you can do is match their price, I’ll just go buy from them.”

My thinking was that if Circuit City was selling it for a better price in the first place, I should reward them with my purchase. But if Best Buy was willing to undercut Circuit City, then I’d happily buy from them instead. After tapping away at his keyboard for a minute or two, he said that he could give me 20% off. Score! That was a good bit better than Circuit City, and it saved me from heading back over there. Sure, I could’ve pushed harder, or I could’ve shopped that price back to Circuit City, but I was anxious to get my weekend started, and wasn’t about to waste a ton of time in pursuit of a few additional dollars.

Published on April 23rd, 2007 - 20 Comments
Filed under: Frugality

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. Nice work; I would also have been perfectly happy with them knocking a fifth off of their price and undercutting what I had already determined to be an acceptable value on something. Saving you the time to wander back and forth was certainly worth the extra bit off and the lack of additional haggling, I think.

    Comment by Anonymous — Apr 23rd 2007 @ 2:52 pm
  2. I did this with DirecTv, called them up after my bill went from $72 to $77 and asked them to lower the price. I explained that I was a long term customer but that I could (and would) switch to Comcast Digital b/c they were advertising a similar package for $50. DirecTv indicated that they were happy to have my business and that they wanted to keep me as a customer and lowered my package price to @ $50 a month for the next year (a savings of more than $300).

    Comment by Anonymous — Apr 23rd 2007 @ 4:13 pm
  3. Cool Beans!!!

    Comment by Anonymous — Apr 23rd 2007 @ 4:29 pm
  4. I worked at Best Buy for five years, and the one thing I learned is that almost every price in that store is negotiable. We could wheel and deal on just about anything. Employees had a lot of power to make package prices and throw in extras… it’s just a matter of talking to the right employee (some are not comfortable with bargaining).

    Comment by Anonymous — Apr 23rd 2007 @ 4:42 pm
  5. Well done! A lot of places have price matching or 30-day price adjustments, but that was awesome they were willing to beat the price just by asking.

    I used to work at an Express and women would religiously come in for 30-day price adjustments. I try to stay away from the mall completely, but I suppose that’s another good reason to save your receipts. All we asked was to tender the difference in whatever currency was used to pay it. (Credit card, cash, etc.)

    Comment by Anonymous — Apr 23rd 2007 @ 6:01 pm
  6. Bravo, good work! I have to say that years back, I never thought to ask for a discount on electronics. Then, a friend was buying a home entertainment system at Ultimate Electronics, and he asked for a discount. I thought, “They aren’t going to give you some discount, this isn’t some chop shop.” Sure enough, they gave him money off the deal.

    Comment by Anonymous — Apr 23rd 2007 @ 10:17 pm
  7. Nice one, and excellent usage of “Score!” right there Nickel, lol. 20% off a nice 50″ would have to save you some sick dough man, perhaps you got a plasma!?

    Comment by Anonymous — Apr 23rd 2007 @ 10:56 pm
  8. Great work! I would’ve never thought to ask for a discount at one of these retail stores. Thanks for the idea!

    Comment by Anonymous — Apr 24th 2007 @ 2:23 am
  9. Thanks for the heads up, savvy. Maybe I’ll send some business best buy’s way next time I’m needing something to see what sort of deal I can get.

    Probably not enough to make driving all the way over there worthwhile, though. Heheh.

    Comment by Anonymous — Apr 24th 2007 @ 9:43 am
  10. Think of this another way. If Best Buy is willing to knock off %20 from the price just like that, knowing that they still make money, it makes you wonder just how much margin is built into the price. I would posit somewhere in the 30-40% range for the larger sizes.

    Comment by Anonymous — Apr 24th 2007 @ 8:18 pm
  11. Yes, but I’m a realist, and I know that they have to make money or they won’t stay in business. My goal is just to minimize the spread between their cost and mine.

    Comment by Nickel — Apr 24th 2007 @ 8:35 pm
  12. I will have to remember to try that I have usually just ended up getting the same price.

    Comment by Anonymous — Apr 28th 2007 @ 8:18 pm
  13. I just read the post from last year when you bought a dehumidifier and I’m impressed with your bargaining!

    I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m shopping for something that Macy’s and Nordstrom both carry. Great tip!

    Comment by Anonymous — May 3rd 2007 @ 11:31 pm

Leave a comment

Because rates and offers from advertisers shown on this website change frequently, please visit referenced sites for current information. This website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise.