Friday, June 28, 2013

Thrift Haggling Etiquette Discussion: My Top Three Thrift Bargaining Rules

Thrifters are bargain hunters by nature. Many non-thrifting pals balk when we seek reductions on already-lower-than-retail (sometimes!) second-hand prices. This is all part of the game, especially when you resell your finds for more. Let's discuss a hunter's daily activity, haggling. Here are my personal bargaining rules: 


1. Note Establishment Type: I consider thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales and junk shops fair game for asking for deals. The antique mall I sell in offers up to 10% off on expensive or damaged items if you ask but I wouldn't ask at an antique mall unless something is damaged and I still really want it.

2. Retail or Boutiques: I don't ask for deals in boutiques where I see a lot of work went into cleaning, displaying, and acquiring quality wares. I have asked for deals on damaged or cleranced things in places like Target and Walmart and got that deal, too! But I'm a shameless loon, not recommended!

3. Don't Be a Dick!: I almost always ask for a reasonable discount on every item while second hand shopping, all they can do is say no! If they say no, it's their right. I'm never rude, I never make snide remarks under my breath while walking away. There's plenty of junk to go around, move on to the next find.

Some vendors are offended when you ask for deals but most are up for the challenge and actually love the back-and-forth to arrive at the right price. (At least here in the friendly, conversational, flea-market-filled south!) A challenge is determining what type of shop you're in correctly, like my scenario with Shep's, a place the owners probably don't regard as a junk shop. And remember, don't be a dick, it makes Baby Optimus Prime cry!

What are your haggling habits? Any tips to share? Let's discuss in the comments.
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17 comments:

  1. I totally agree with this. So many people asked for discounts at the Salvation Army I used to work. Sometimes they got it too. One thing that people try to do that does not work is get things repriced. They will rip the tag off and ask for it to be priced. At the store where I worked, my manager would price it extremely high on purpose. They were pretty mean though.

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    1. Thanks for sharing this insider info. All the Goodwills here and most of the Salvation Armies have a no-discounts policy. I ask anyway and sometimes receive. The price-tag-rippers make it hard for the rest of us honest shoppers. I hate finding something without a tag and being treated with skepticism at the register. One local store will not sell an item with no price (even though it sometimes rubs off the plastic when they write it with a grease pen) and it has to go in the back and be-repriced and put out another day no matter how much you like it ;p

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  2. I'm very American in my approach to haggling, which is : It makes me feel super uncomfortable! But, I will ask about a standard discount on damaged items or on floor models. This is industry standard anyway, so I'm not uncomfortable with that. If I'm at a store that has signs about making an offer (my fave store in my city is known to work with customers), then I try a basic tactic : If it's $26.50 for the total, I'll ask for it for $20. I do that at yard sales too.

    Otherwise, the only exception I make is if I know the value of something. I know all about cameras, and I find it really annoying that most thrift stores are selling vintage cameras for very high prices...probably because the hipsters love them right now. I'll bargain the shit out of a camera, and I have total confidence in it, because I know the actual worth.

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    1. It can make me uncomfortable, too. I base mine on the etiquette for the type of establishment/environment. Flea markets and yard sales are especially established as haggling-friendly so I'm especially free with it in these environments. Love your tactics, very fair.

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  3. I've never done too well with haggling. Have only tried it at garage sales and fleas. I've had garage sales with pushy people, yelling, "I'll give you a dollar for this." Like you don't have any say in the matter. They need to read your tip #3!!

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    1. People can be way rude about it. I've hunted with people who would say, "Man, it's not worth that!" to the vendor's face if they don't like a price. I don't hunt with them anymore. I almost always take any offer for garage sales since I host them when I'm desperate to get rid of things and perhaps many other people have the same perspective. I won't give $1 deals on big furniture or working dvd players. Tact, people!

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  4. I generally won't haggle unless something is close to my desired price. If it's priced at or below what I want to pay, no need to haggle, just buy it. If it's a lot more, I just leave it since I don't think it's likely the seller will be willing to lower the price enough. One thing I do that helps me not overspend is to have a top price in mind before I look at or inquire about the price.

    I usually don't haggle at thrift stores that are run by charities, especially those for homeless or disabled people. I will however take advantage of coupons and special sale days.

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    1. Good rules to follow. I often forget some thrift shops are for charity, I asked for a discount a our humane societ thrift store and was reminded that those funds go to the animals. Gladly shut up and paid full price after that ;) These days I hunt almost exclusively at flea markets and yard sales.

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  5. If the price is right I don't even bother haggling. If not, I think anything is game. Politeness is key. Also, if I am buying a lot I tend to ask for a lot price vs. individual for a deal. Manners are vitally important!! Sometimes the vendors need to remember this, too...

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    1. Yes to manners x1,000,000 for all involved, dammit!

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  6. At the antique mall where I used to have a booth, they gave 10% off to anyone who asked- as long as the item was not marked "firm". Many sellers there would build that 10% into their pricing. I do not haggle well, so I don't haggle- as a buyer or a seller.

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    1. That's the same policy they have at my mall. Guess it's pretty standard!

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  7. I don't haggle at thrift stores, as in the UK they are all for charity. But I've noticed an increasing amount of signs saying 'please don't ask for a discount', so people obviously do!
    However, I will always haggle at car boot sales. Some sellers get grumpy, which I don't understand, as it's to be expected at this kind of sale! I have a limit though, and won't haggle if it's under £1. I've seen too many arguments over 20p.
    Jo

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    1. Great rules to follow, thanks for sharing!

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  8. Many Americans don't like to haggle, or, more specifically, don't like to be haggled with. Especially in front of other people. As a hardcore, shameless and infamous lowballer (and also a diehard polite person), I have developed a silent haggling technique. I point to the item, hand the seller the money, and silently shrug. I find that the silent technique does not arouse the seller's ego or possibly competitive nature. If the seller is with family/friends, the silent technique does not rouse curiosity from the family/friends. As you all know, there are two types of yard/estate/garage sales. The first type is one in which the seller is primarily trying to make money. The second, and more common, type is one in which the seller is primarily trying to get rid of stuff. Anyway, at either type, I prefer the silent approach. As the old trope goes, the reseller makes her profit when buying not selling...

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    1. Thanks for sharing this approach, intriguing! Will have to try this at the flea market tomorrow...hmm!

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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