How To Bargain/Haggle And LOVE It

January 13, 2014

Favorites / How To / Uncategorized

How to Bargain

For years I was humiliated as a child, watching as my mother would bargain for things from clothing to hotel rooms. I mimicked my father who would silently stand by, cringing, ready at any moment to pounce on her and apologize for her, pretending like this never happened. How did it always end? Well, we had a nicer hotel room and extra money left over to buy more clothes or toys. She always did it with a smile, often with lots of laughing and arm touching. The transaction would complete with a happy/sometimes relieved guffaw (front the salesperson) and we were granted our wishes. My mother is Korean and in the Korean culture, most things are negotiable.

As I got older and had to shop on my own, I totally started playing with her little techniques…and they WORKED to my total novice surprise. Now I got to embarrass the non-bargainer (nargainer) victims who accompanied me. At first I only tried this magic in countries outside of the U.S. but then I brought this trick to America and it was even more magical. 

I started with little American-acceptable things like, “Excuse me, this piece of art has a slight scratch on the frame, would you be willing to take 10% off?” That was easy enough. Then I got gutsy and started trying it in department stores. “Excuse me, I really like this ____, would you be able to do a better price for it?” I hold back my laughter when they meet me with a shocked face but they end up responding with something like, “Well, let me get my manager.” Then I think, “Wow, I’ve done it now…what do I do next?” Then the manager may ask me to possibly sign up for the store credit card but I decline and then there is some little deal that is made. Bingo. 

**Bargaining is a muscle you exercise and tone. ANYONE can develop it. 

Here are some tips:

  • If you know you are going into a negotiation, be conscious of how you look. Leave the fancy stuff (jewelry, handbags, clothing) at home. A salesperson sizes you up immediately and decides what you can “afford.” 
  • Salespeople are people too and they like to do things for people they like. Friend it up as you would anyone else. Chit chat. Ask questions. Find out what you have in common even if it’s just a love for the product they are selling. Touch on any connection they may have to the product.
  • Take your time. A good deal may take a little patience. No need to rush the sale. 
  • Be cool. Desperate for the item? That’s like a force field, shielding your from a possible deal. 
  • Having a wingman/woman can be really nice. Sometimes it’s neat to have “good cop” “bad cop” where one person says the item is great and the other sort of points out maybe why the item has some slight drawbacks.
  • Be honest. Do you really only have $200 to spend today and the item is $350? Did you see a similar item for $180 but you like the $350 item so much more? Tell the salesperson. You know this is a very low offer but can they work with you a bit more?
  • Start as low as you dare but you may want to start somewhere north of half the price. This may start some laughter but go with it and get a feel for what the person is willing to do. 
  • Be grateful. Really let the person know how happy they have made you. 

My friend, Cindi asked me to meet her at the Los Angeles Rose Bowl Flea Market. I’d heard it was amazing and it sounded great. Cindi is an interior designer and she KNOWS furniture. You can follow her work & style or contact her for a consult HERE. We found this stall and she fell in LOVE with this dresser for her daughter’s room. She got a GREAT deal on it.

Los Angeles Rose Bowl Flea Market

I could see myself blogging away and photo editing at this gorgeous desk. The owner collects these pieces and refinishes/distresses them himself. I recall it was about $175.

Los Angeles Rose Bowl Flea Market

These nightstands are a dream!Los Angeles Rose Bowl Flea MarketMore vintage furniture at another vendor.Los Angeles Rose Bowl Flea MarketOther chackas.Los Angeles Rose Bowl Flea MarketFur? There were TONS of fur coats at this stall.Los Angeles Rose Bowl Flea MarketCindi couldn’t pass on this darling baby doll high chair for her daughter.Los Angeles Rose Bowl Flea Market

Los Angeles Rose Bowl Flea Market

What a shopper’s high! Love it when my friends get a great deal. 

What is the BEST bargain you’ve had? What did you do to get it?

  • withluckblog

    that looks like such a good market! I wish I had the guts to haggle more. I’ll request better prices for damaged products or I’ll point out better sales when I can, but if someone said “nope, sorry!” I think I’d just say “oh. okay!” haha

  • Chelsea

    Love love love flea markets!

    • Oh, this one is the best, Chelsea!!! Chocked full of treasures!!

  • Wow, that market looks incredible! I need to bring you with me to haggle 🙂

  • ahhh Korean mothers and their haggling. I remember my mom always taking me to flea markets when I was younger and us getting tons of cheap stuff. I haven’t tried haggling too much in mall/department stores but might give it a try. I at least try to bring in coupons and ask if they have other coupons/deals going on. i used to be a little embarrassed but seriously have no shame about it now ha. who doesn’t love a deal!?

    — jackie @ jade and oak

    • LOL you grew out of the embarrassment too! 🙂 I’m so grateful for the education now!