Posted March 15, 2011 by admin in Finance

The Art of Haggling


Most of us have tried our hand at haggling in a market at least once in our life, but very few know that the price of goods can be negotiated in many places other than in these open-air bazaars.

I admit that I still shy away sometimes from saving opportunities, mainly because I worry about offending people. But Father Miser is a master haggler who puts to shame even the best negotiators.

A few weeks ago we bought a new bed. As we were walking into the store, Father Miser turned to me and said: “I am not walking out of here with a bed today unless it is an absolutely great deal.” I sighed, accepting the probability that we would be leaving the store that afternoon without a bed. After an hour of hard bargaining with the salesman, during which balloons were blown up for the kids and coffee was brewed for the adults, we had purchased a mattress. We were both very excited. The salesman, however, was just happy to see us go. The poor guy sweat it out the entire time and told us that we were one of the toughest sells he had ever had.

Years ago, in Spain, Father Miser decided to negotiate a deal to buy two clocks for the advertized price of one. After a lengthy debate, the shop keeper declared: “Look, I realize you are cheap, but I am cheap too.” A priceless moment. Until then I had slinked away to the back of the store while Father Miser shamelessly hammered this guy for a deal. But once that was said, the tension eased, both men laughed and met in the middle. We did walk out of there with two clocks that afternoon.

Believe it or not, Father Miser even bargained down my engagement ring years ago – and then bragged about it in front of me! Unbeknownst to many consumers, it is possible to negotiate the price of jewellery, even in established boutiques and stores. The easiest deal to haggle is the tax. Ask to have the tax knocked off that ring, those earrings or that necklace. Most merchants are hoping for lifelong customers and still make a profit once the tax has been deducted.

The key factors in winning a negotiation are:

  1. Confidence: Don’t be afraid to assert yourself. Ask the questions. Demand what is fair and equitable. It never hurt to ask, right?!
  2. Knowledge: Know the product and its comparables. Educate yourself before you walk into a store. Don’t rely on the biased salesperson to educate you on the product. The internet is a great resource for product reviews, consumer reports, discussion forums, etc.
  3. Non-attachment: Most importantly, separate emotion from the negotiation and be prepared to walk away empty-handed.

Now, just think about the world of savings that has opened up to you. Of course, be reasonable, and please be polite! Nobody concedes to a deal with an ass.

I want to know: what have you successfully haggled for in the past?