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You Can Negotiate While Shopping Retail

Updated on January 22, 2012
Retail Pricing
Retail Pricing

Retail Pricing

I always knew that you could negotiate things like houses, used cars, garage sale and flea market items, and even salaries but not retail pricing. These prices, I thought, had to be set in stone unless the store, themselves, marked them down for a sale.

My whole belief system was shattered, however, after shopping several times with my husband. He is king of negotiation and wasn't going to stop just because we were in a retail store.

The very first time my husband asked a salespersonwhat the best price they would sell him a sweater for was, I believe I slinked right out of the store pretending not to know him. I was so embarrassed. This was a high class store and I was sure they were thinking he was some kind of a beggar.

Well, he came walking out of the store with a bag and a big ole smile on his face. He bought two sweaters at highly discounted prices. I was amazed! He has continued to pull such stunts and I continue to get embarrassed however I am secretly trying to learn his tricks.

There was one time when I was at a craft fair where it is a little more normal to negotiate. I decided to try it out. I wanted to buy two wooden coat trees from one vendor and asked rather sheepishly if he would take a discounted price since I was buying two. I maybe was actually shaking my head no while I was asking, expecting that to be his answer. Well, of course that was his answer and he went on to tell me how low he already had them priced. I felt terrible and paid him his full price vowing to never try that again. I still had a lot to learn!

Negotiation Skills Quiz For Shopping Retail

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Negotiation Skills
Negotiation Skills

Negotiation Skills Tips

There are a few things that I have learned from my husband that I will share with you. My husband, by the way, used to work in Sales and now manages Sales and Operations for a large company so he has had a lot of experience coming from the other side.

1. That first time he successfully walked out of the clothing store, with two discounted sweaters, I had asked him how he did it. The first thing he said was that he could tell that the man he was talking to was a manager. Managers can make decisions so he knew he could give it a try. Chances are a sales clerk would not be as willing to negotiate simply because they do not have the power to make those decisions. If you can not pinpoint an owner or manager, you could always ask a clerk to point him or her out or ask to speak to the person.

2. The second point, in this instance, was the fact that he had struck up a friendly conversation with the manager first. They were starting to build a rapport which naturally brings walls or defenses down. This comes extremely easy for my husband and is very necessary to begin a negotiation. You want warm feelings going into a conversation where you are going to be asking for something.

3. My husband was also very confident. He knows that there is always room to move on a price since most of the time there is a pretty big mark-up. Prices are really more of a guide and that is why retailers are able to put things on sale occasionally. Also, unlike me who was expecting a bad outcome when I tried negotiating, my husband was fully expecting a good outcome.

4. The last tip that he had was that he never got emotionally involved. He's definitely not a woman! With his indifferent attitude, he was able to stay calm and friendly and he figured that he had absolutely nothing to lose. He could always buy a sweater at another store.  This is where I would struggle a little bit if I found "the perfect" item.  I maybe just maybe would get a little emotionally involved and not want to risk even negotiating.  This is actually quite silly though because even if I tried negotiating and I didn't get the results I wanted, I could still purchase the item.  It's not like the salesperson is going to say "Ohhh!! Now it's not for sale anymore!"

**Another one of his favorite negotiating angles is to ask if the manager can throw in some other item with his purchase. This is another great way to save money if you can't get them to move on the price of the item you wish to purchase.

What Is Your Opinion?

Would You Negotiate In A Retail Store?

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    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia

      Very good tips for effective negotiation. Your husband taught us the importance of humane approach when bargaining.

    • gajanis786 profile image

      gajanis786 6 years ago

      I have also scored 100%. I am surprised as mostly women are very good at negotiating things to get their own price.....but here your husband is teaching you a great lesson.....better you learn it fast.Thanks.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Good stuff to keep in mind...and learn more about!

    • Song-Bird profile image

      Renee Hanlon 7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for the comments Writing Wine and Rebekah! The fun will be in the practicing. I know I'm determined to get as good as my husband! @Writing Wine - good job getting that deal on earrings!

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      nice! The title caught my eye, as my oldest son does this also and is quite successful. I couldn't believe it when he told me he hardly ever pays the price on the tag. He also bought his new truck this way and got the price he wanted plus extras thrown in. I only scored a 70% on the quiz.. I'll have to practice!! thanks, I enjoyed reading.

    • Writing_Wine profile image

      Writing_Wine 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Fun hub - I scored 70% but like you, I'm not a super negotiator, although I did score a super deal on earrings from a crafter over the holidays. It never hurts to ask for a discount.

    • Song-Bird profile image

      Renee Hanlon 7 years ago from Michigan

      Haha..good job Nicomp! @David..I'm glad you found these tips to be helpful. Good luck shopping!

    • David L profile image

      David L 7 years ago

      Some good info to help my shopping.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      I scored 100 on the quiz. Watch out, Sears!