Bargaining & Haggling in the U.S.: What You Need to Know

Bargaining & Haggling in the U.S.: What You Need to Know

The norms of bargaining in the U.S. might appear confusing, as they are different from those in other countries.

Prices for most things are not negotiable in the U.S. Disheartened? Don’t be, for we’re going to navigate you through the places where you can haggle and also the correct way to do it.

Where and when is haggling acceptable?

  • At markets or craft fairs
  • When shopping for mattresses
  • At garage sales or while shopping for antique items at flea markets
  • When purchasing a house, though this requires formal negotiations
  • With a car dealer
  • When buying multiple quantities of electronic items
  • When buying expensive jewelry
  • When using dry cleaning services – though, rarely
  • When getting appliances repaired

Some tips to make haggling easier

Now that we have narrowed down the places where you can try negotiating, let us help you hone your skills.

  • Homework is key: Put in the time researching the item you’re eyeing, and look online for the lowest price. Present this information to the seller, and he might make you a better offer.
  • Ask for extras: As a rule of thumb, try asking for 10% off the price while negotiating for bigger items. If the retailer doesn’t agree, request freebies like free installation, delivery, or accessories.
  • Look for that flaw: A haggler’s paradise has dents, stains, scratches, and nicks. Look closely, and you might just find a smudge of makeup on that garment or a scratch on that television. This gives you perfect leverage to negotiate a lower price.
  • Try local businesses: Believe it or not, smaller businesses are usually quite willing to negotiate if it can help them retain a customer. Try your luck with services such as house painting, carpet cleaning, or dry cleaning.

Mistakes you want to avoid

Before you go about using these tips, remember to not make these haggling mistakes.

  • Avoid being stingy: If the prices offered by the seller are already low, please don’t nag for discounts unless you intend to buy a considerable amount. Doing so appears obnoxious and unnecessary.
  • Avoid changing your mind: Now that the seller has accepted your offer, avoid walking out. It would be inconsiderate of the time they invested in you.
  • Avoid insulting the goods: Want to know what is simply not a good way to haggle? Putting down the merchandise. Don’t insult the seller by claiming that you could’ve made it better yourself or found it better elsewhere.
  • Avoid offering less than half: Unless the initial price is unnaturally high, never demand less than half of the asking price. It is better to start negotiating with a 30–40% discount.
  • Thank the seller: Whether you could agree on a price or not, it is good practice to thank the seller. They did give you their time, after all.

In a nutshell, bargaining in the U.S. might not be as difficult as you think. With these tips under your belt, you’re sure to competently navigate your way through the marketplace.

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