Haggling in the USA

Unlike some asian and middle eastern countries, haggling (bargaining) in the USA is not generally an accepted practice.

I’ve actually had a moderate level of success with it here. And, I want to share a few helpful ideas about how it has worked for me in the past.

  • Before you haggle with a vendor, honestly assess your yourself and the products value. Is it really worth less? What is the general accepted value for this commodity?
  • When you’ve decided on a price you would accept, politely and respectfully make your request known to the vendor. Be firm, direct, but polite. “Hello – would you be willing to accept $____ for this?”
  • Haggling has worked best for me on services. I’ve been able to talk my auto mechanic down several hundred dollars on repairs by being direct, but polite. Always try to avoid a spirit of confrontation. Saying things like, “I know I could do this cheaper myself” doesn’t do either of you any good. It implies your vendor hasn’t done their homework and is trying to cheat you.
  • If the vendor doesn’t like your price, try a compromise. But, don’t keep at it. Just thank he/she for their time and walk out the door. Sometimes, this is the best thing you can do. The vendor may just call you back at this point and give it to you for your requested price. Usually a sale is better than no sale for them.

Hope that helps. If you feel uneasy about this, try and view it as a business transaction. And, keep in the mind, the vendor needs to make a living too.

[BTW: Here’s a good link to check out if you are traveling overseas and need to know how to haggle there.]

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