For whatever reason, here in the U.S (and Canada, probably) we are conditioned to be cooperative shoppers. In other words, we play nice with the business at which we are shopping, and don’t try to negotiate. If there is an asking price, we’ll either pay it or move on.
Bargaining, apparently, is uncomfortable!
There are exceptions to this, as we know, and one of those is buying a car. If you’re buying a used car, that’s an extra special treat 🙂 Beyond that, buying items on craigslist might be another venue where negotiation is fairly normal. But in most cases, it’s almost a faux pas.
Here is one situation when you should negotiate: buying a mattress.
I very recently had an experience where I was shopping for a mattress that our family needed. I went to a three local places, and found that it was relatively easy to compare their stated prices – and that there were some distinct differences. As in, $100 differences between high/low price for one item among the stores I visited.
So, the last store I went to had what I found to be the best overall prices for what I was looking for. After talking things through with the salesperson, and asking about prices, I came to a pretty good price. I was feeling pretty good about it.
Then, I mentioned that I would walk away. He didn’t come down in price any further, but as I made it clear that I wasn’t buying today, he hustled to give me his card and indicated that the price will hold. If I didn’t ask, I wouldn’t have had this leverage.
At that point, I asked another question: will there be a better price on this mattress soon?
He paused, then spoken in generalities about how that was a possibility. I asked if there was a specific date he knew about, and then he wanted his card back to write something. I gave it back, and he wrote a date on it when he said I should come back on that day. In other words, there would be a sale on that day.
I was pleased, and then walked away. Then, I thought: “why not just ask what that discount would be?”
The next step was for me to turn around, and go back to him asking about that future discount. He hesitated, then told me that it would be on sale for $130 less at that time. And, that I should come back then since it would clearly be worth my while to wait just a little over a week.
What did I do then? I asked him if I could just get that discount now if I bought it right away – in advance of the sale.
He said the most he could do was give me a guarantee of a $130 to be applied on that day – to which I agreed. So, I didn’t get the exact ultimate outcome I wanted, but came really close.
All because of the idea that sometimes we need to get uncomfortable and ask for a better price. There’s often very little to lose, and potentially a fair amount to gain!
My Questions for You
How often do you ask for discounts?
Do you enjoy bargaining, or could you do without it?
Do you find mattress shopping to be a little different than buying most other household items?