Saving money can be fun for some of us. The idea of spending less money that we would have otherwise spent on something brings a small dose of satisfaction. Usually, that means buying less, substituting a less expensive choice for a more expensive one, or getting something on sale. Here’s a different way: bargaining and asking for a discount!
Admittedly, I’m not someone for whom this comes naturally. However, I came to realize something recently. What might seem uncomfortable at first can actually be fun when you generate successful results!
Previous Unsuccessful Bargaining
My previous approach to asking for a discount can be illustrated by an experience on a trip overseas many years ago. I had to pass through Hong Kong – and stayed a few days. Perhaps it was being far away from home here in the Midwest in the U.S., and being in a place where nobody knew me – but I tried to bargain a couple of times. I did have a little success on a few things, getting a couple of deals. But then, I had a failure.
There was a street vendor selling t-shirts for $2 – might have been in Hong Kong Dollars. Anyway, I thought I could bring some back as gifts, so I made a bulk offer: how about 7 t-shirts for $6? I was trying to walk away feeling happy to get them for less than $1 each.
The guy said something I didn’t understand, as I did not understand Chinese. But clearly, it was not nice what he said! He then waved me off, gave me a nasty look, and said in English: “I’m not starving!”.
Maybe it was because I was younger, but I was actually a bit embarrassed. I walked away, and didn’t try to bargain with anyone there again. Not sure why I reacted so timidly, but I did.
Recent Successful Bargaining
I’ve been more interested in pushing for bargains in the last few years. Not often at all, but opportunistically. One example was just in the last few weeks.
First off, the purchase was a pure impulse buy. It wasn’t a need, but a want. So I’ll admit that up front.
We were at the local mall, and one of my kids noticed a kiosk with a bunch of stuffed animal pillows, and a few smaller animals. She found one that she got really excited about, and asked if she could get one. I guess we could say that she was successful in bargaining, because my heartstrings were tugged at and I didn’t immediately say no like I normally would.
Anyway, I wanted to ask the guy running the small kiosk how much this small stuffed animal was. However, he was helping another customer who was excited over some other toy being sold. She wanted to purchase it, and asked him if he took credit cards. Clearly, he did, based on the reader right there. However, the kiosk owner pushed back, and asked the lady if she wouldn’t mind paying in cash if she had it. She said ok, and they made the transaction.
I took note of his interest in cash, and his own willingness to haggle a bit. Then, when it was my turn, I made my move.
My question: “How much is this?”
His response: “Uhh….$6.95”.
I paused for a second, then thought I’d lowball.
My response: Pulling a $5 bill out of my wallet, and saying “I can pay $5 cash”.
He paused, looked at me, and said “Ok fine”.
Success! It felt great to walk away paying less than the initial asking price!
At first I thought maybe he gave me an inflated price, but I then noticed that $6.95 was indeed the noted price. So hey, just by asking, I got a $1.95 discount! On a percentage basis, that’s 28% off.
In this case, it doesn’t matter that it was a want vs. a need, or that I willingly gave in to the ‘negotiation’ of whether or not to buy this toy. Also, I know it’s funny that as a grown man I’m getting excited about getting a deal on a stuffed animal.
Yeah, I know 🙂
So looking past that, what we can take away from this is that it doesn’t hurt to ask for a discount! In many cases, there’s very little downside. Additionally, even when you just save a couple of dollars, it’s fun to successfully bargain for a deal!
Imagine how fun it would be to actually get a deal on something where you actually paid hundred of dollars less than asking price?
My Questions for You:
Do you like to haggle for a deal, or do you prefer to avoid such negotiating?
Do you have any tips for successfully getting a discount?
What’s the best deal you have gotten when asking for a discount?