Saturday, August 4, 2012

Negotiate Prices at Stores

A few weeks ago my wife was out at the mall shopping for our kids upcoming birthdays on a Tuesday evening.  The mall was dead and one of the stores she wondered into was Journeys.  The store manager was so happy to have a customer, he offered my wife an employee discount on anything she bought.  She found some Yo-Gabba-Gabba toys for my toddler, but they were $5 off at another store Spencers; thus, a better deal.  She mentioned this to manager and he gave her $5 off on top of the employee discount. In all, my wife ended up saving close to $20 dollars.

A few weeks prior one of my friends brought a huge 96 mortar package to our 4th of July party.  The package was almost $200 from the fireworks stand.  My friend told us that when he offered to buy the package he asked the fireworks attendant if something would be thrown for such a large purpose.   He ended up getting $40 dollars of additional fireworks thrown in.

Obviously, negotiating doesn't always work.  My wife was in an antique store a few days ago and found an old Wagner cast iron pan.  The store wanted $35 for the pan.  I saw on Ebay, I could get the pan for about $25 for $30 with shipping, so I told my wife to offer $30 and buy it if they accepted.  Because the antique store was selling on co-signment for another party, they could not make the deal.  We simply did not buy the pan and I ended up getting a better deal on a set of cast iron pans on Ebay.

A brief background on cast iron and the reason I like it: The heat is even, it is non-stick, the seasoning adds foods flavor, food is given a nice sear, then can be placed in the oven or on a campfire, and instead of leaching aluminum and teflon into food, iron is leached instead.  The new cast iron pans, Lodge being dominant in the market, are not milled down.  They have little bumps on them that food sticks too sometimes.  The old "antique" models are milled down; thus, very smooth.  Since the pan is cast iron it will last for 100s of years if taken care of, so buying a used one is not a big deal.

Obviously, negotiating prices at a major box store is probably not going to work very well.  Therefore, buying from smaller shops is preferable for negotiating prices.  One thing that can be done with major box stores is price matching, even to their own website.  I did this at PetSmart when buying a dog bed for my new pup.  Their website had the bed for 25% off but the store did not.  I had my iPhone out and showed the cashier the price on their web site in my shopping cart.  She gave me the 25% off on the bed.

The key to any kind of price matching or negotiating is having the willingness to walk away from buying the item.  The store needs your money and odds are you do not need their exact items.


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