If you've ever seen an episode of Pawn Stars, you can learn a lot about how the owner of the pawn shop (Rick Harrison) negotiates with folks who are wanting to sell him stuff.
One of his most used tactics is to find something wrong with the item. This could be anywhere from “it will sit in my store a long time” to “there's a lot of scratches on this and it will cost me some money to restore it“.
He's pretty successful at getting items for a reasonable price that he can resell in his shop.
You can try these tactics too
For many years, I never thought I could negotiate with traditional retailers on the price of things. I always figured the price is what it is – and that's that.
But this isn't always true and you'd be surprised to find out how much some stores are willing to negotiate with you on price (depending on the situation of course).
Here are some things to look out for if you'd like to save more money at the store:
- Look for gently used OR returned merchandise. Just the other day, my wife was shopping for boots. One of the pairs she tried on, she really liked. But there were a few marks on the bottoms of the boots – as if they had been worn and returned to the store. When we went to check-out, I asked for a 25% discount on the boots because they'd been used. The cashier brought in her manager and she offered 10% off instead. This was fair, considering the price of the boots and we gratefully accepted. Don't be afraid to offer the store a specific percentage off that you'd like to see. It gives them something to work off.
- Ask to see any “open box” items. This works particularly well on electronics and/or appliances. Last month we purchased a laptop for a family member and before check0ut, the store associate asked if we'd like to purchase an “open box” laptop (of the same kind) instead. All the warranties were still in effect and the laptop was just returned with a couple of blemishes on the screen that were easily removed. We bought it and the store offered a 10% discount on the purchase price. Not bad.
I'm not advocating trying to game the system here – but if a product is gently used OR has some defects, it never hurts to ask for a discount on the item.
Are there any other negotiation tactics that you've used to save more at the store?
For big purchase, we always buy gently used. The last washer and dryer set we purchased were gently used. We’ve had the for over ten years and have never had a problem. Our eight year old flat screen was 20% because it was the floor model. The week before Thanksgiving 2013, our fridge died. Of course, we were hosting so it was the worst possible time. We bought a brand new fridge from a scratch and dent place. The tiny scratch is hidden by a cabinet, so no one knows the difference . . . well, except for everyone on the Internet now.
Someone should do a report on when to buy a TV. I hear some say Christmas. While a lot of people say buy one just before the Superbowl
nice tips. It’s informative and helpful. Thank for sharing
Oh yeah, I’ll totally ask for a discount if I spot a defect. I’ll also do it with subpar services. If something doesn’t get delivered correctly or I feel I’ve been somehow overcharged, I’ll contact the company.
Yes – sometimes we just settle and don’t speak up when it doesn’t meet expectations. Great reminder.
When booking our hotels for vacations I always ask if they offer an early booking discount and often get 10% off. If they don’t offer that, I then ask if they have a AAA discount and usually get 10% for that. When buying large appliances, if you nicely ask if they can help out with the price, the store is pretty likely to give you something off.
Great tips Kathy! Do you find the hotels will give you multiple discounts (so, AAA, plus early booking)?
Nope….just one is usually allowed.