When I think of the word “haggling” it reminds me of medieval peasants in an outdoor market arguing over the price of bread. We don’t usually haggle over the price of groceries in modern society, but it is still a pretty common practice. Not only do we haggle over used items, we also negotiate the cost of furniture, vehicles and even houses. The ability to haggle is actually a pretty useful skill to have!
I went over haggling a little bit in my “tips and tricks for buyers” article but haggling is something that doesn’t come easy to me so I thought I might do some further research on the subject and expand on the topic a bit. Hopefully what I’ve learned can help us all to hone our haggling skills.
Dress for Success: One thing most people don’t think twice about when they head out to garage sales is what they’re wearing. What does your outfit say about you? If you’re wearing designer brands and sporting expensive jewelry its likely saying that you can well afford anything you want in the sale and are only haggling because you’re cheap. Garage sale-ing is one of those rare times when you want to dress down a bit before you go out. Sellers will be more open to lower prices for you when your outfit isn’t screaming that you’d rather be on your yacht off the coast of Hawaii.
Don’t be Shy: The idea of negotiating for lower prices can be uncomfortable for those of us who are less assertive. Keep in mind that most sellers will price things slightly high knowing that haggling is an inevitability so not only is it ok to ask for a lower price, it’s often expected that you will.
Mind your Manners: Keep negotiations light and friendly. Try not to be overly aggressive and be willing to back down and walk away if the seller is firm on a price. As long as you aren’t completely socially awkward you will probably get a pretty good idea of how far you can reasonably push a seller as negotiations go on. If you are a socially awkward penguin you might want to bring a capable friend to help you out.
Play the Numbers Game: When you find an item you want decide on the maximum amount you are willing to pay. Do not reveal this amount to the seller as you will lose your bargaining power. Offer the seller somewhat lower than this amount so you have some negotiating room. Make sure your initial offer is reasonable or the seller might not take you seriously. Larger and more expensive items can be discounted more deeply than smaller items.
Find a Chink in the Armor: This one can be tricky. Sometimes if you point out a flaw in the item being haggled over you can negotiate for a better price. I got a couple hundred dollars off my last used car this way. Be careful not to offend the seller and be aware that they might already have taken the condition of their items into consideration when pricing them.
Use your Poker Face: When the seller gives you a counter offer don’t counter back right away. Never let the seller know how badly you want an item, if you hesitate the seller may offer you an even lower price before you respond. After a moment of consideration offer the seller something between your offer and their counter offer. Continue to negotiate until you reach or get below the maximum amount you decided on earlier.
Try Bundling: Oftentimes if you buy a larger or more expensive item you can convince the seller to throw in a few smaller items for free. You can also put a few small items together and offer one price for the lot. This is a fairly easy way to get more value for your money. This is also Travis (The creator of GLICKIN)’s favourite haggling tactic. He loves to get a pile going and then make an offer like “would you take $5 for everything I have here?”
Timing Could Be Everything: Does the thought of negotiation still make you cringe? Well shop late and you might not have to haggle at all. Sellers are more likely to discount items closer to the end of the day. Selection will be less of course, but the seller will be more motivated to move remaining items as buyers start to taper off. Many buyers are committed to getting rid of all of their garage sale items and that means donating or throwing away what’s left over at the end of the sale. I can’t tell you how many items I’ve gotten for free on a Sunday afternoon.
Current use of word “haggle” is believed to have come from the old English word “Haggen” from the 1500’s which meant “to chop”. You are figuratively trying to chop down or chip away at the price of an item. Hopefully this guide helps you chop your way to a great deal!
(Sources used include: Wikihow’s article on Haggling and the Online Etymology Dictionary)
The Terrible Odyssey or Garage Sale-ing the Old Fashioned Way – GLICKIN Garage Sales BLOG
September 6, 2016 at 19:10:47
[…] as far as myself getting the better end of the deal. (I think I should probably re-read my piece on haggling.) Still, the long awaited treasure at the end of the hunt was all the sweeter for the ridiculous […]