Why Don’t We Haggle?

You’ll Never Know Unless You Ask!

People in other countries do it all the time. It’s how their economy works. However, here in the good old U.S. of A., we don’t have the time or patience to haggle. Just give me the damn watch man, I’ve got somewhere to be! Because this country was built on the hard work of its people, we place a lot of value on the effort it takes to create a quality product. That’s especially true here in Motown. With the exception of buying (or leasing) a new car, if we offer less than the asking (retail) price for an item, it’s considered rude. This is true whether the item was created by hand, or mass-produced. We don’t want to offend the seller by offering a price far below what they are asking.

When I think of haggling, I picture a street market in Marrakesh. A place where Indiana Jones might be shopping for dates (bad idea Indy). However, there is a wild wild west out there for bargain hunters much closer to home. The secondary resale market is the one place where inexperienced hagglers can flex their bargaining muscle. I am referring to online sites like Craigslist, and apps like Letgo. Sites like these are one of the few places where people feel free to ask for less than the list price. I have been a beneficiary of these websites, both as a buyer and a seller. However, there is a certain etiquette when it comes to haggling on these sites. If you see the item was just posted 2 hours ago, please don’t ask for an 80% discount. Play fair and you’ll get some great deals!

There is also a theory I like to call the “Mystical Mystery Discount”. I once saw a guy on TV who always uses eight magic words, whenever purchasing a big (or small) ticket item. The magic words? “Is this the best that you can do?” This phrase apparently challenges the seller, especially if he is working for a large company, to give you the best discount available. Many times, secret company discounts exist and all you have to do is ask for them. I have to admit, until I was sitting down to write this article I had completely forgotten about that phrase. You can bet with Christmas knocking on the door, I will dust it off and give it a whirl. Hey, you never know! Happy Haggling, and Happy Black Friday!

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