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How To: Be A Bargain Shopper

How To: Be A Bargain Shopper
How To: Be A Bargain Shopper


The problem that most shoppers have with bargaining is a feeling that nice people do not normally do it. Before you start negotiating you need to get over that feeling.


  1. A shopkeeper owner only sees dollar signs when you walk into their store, so if you are willing to spend then he will most likely be willing to deal.

  2. Bargaining is a business transaction. You are not trying to cheat the owner or get anything for free. You are simply trying to agree on a fair price. You negotiate when buying a house or car, so why not bargain for a refrigerator or a new winter wardrobe.

  3. You have every right to bargain, especially in small stores that do not normally discount. Department stores, which will not bargain at all as a rule, mark  up prices 100% – 150% to cover high overhead costs. Small stores usually charge lower prices because their costs are less.

  4. Set yourself a price limit for a particular item before approaching the store owner. You normally want to find the owner because most likely employees are not allowed to bargain without the owners approval.

  5. Be prepared to walk out if he does not meet your limit (remember you can always change your mind and come back later.
  6. Make him think that you really won’t buy anything if he will not come down on the price.

  7. Be sure to be discreet and not let other customers hear you bargaining or he really will stay firm on his price.

  8. Be respectful of the merchandise.

  9. Address the owner in a polite and friendly manner.

  10. Shop at off hours. You will have a lot more luck if the store is slow.

  11. Look for unmarked merchandise. If  there is no price tag, that is a huge invitation to bargain.

  12. Negotiate with cash. In a store that takes credit cards, you can most likely request a discount for paying with cash. Charging your items on a credit card entails overhead costs that the store must pay.

  13. Buy in quantity. As a customer who is committed to a number of items gives you more bargaining power. When you have all your items picked out, approach the owner and inquire about a total price discount, like 20%.

  14. If you are buying more than one of the same thing, then offer to pay full price on one and ask for a break on the second one. Or you can even ask to have a small ticketed item thrown in for free.

  15. Look for merchandise that is flawed. This is the only acceptable bargaining point in any department store. But it can save you a lot of money in smaller shops. For example, if there is a spot, a split seam or a missing button that you know you could easily fix or have fixed that is your bargaining tool and almost always will get a big discount.

  16. Adapt your bargaining to the reality of the situation. A real discount store has a low profit margin and depends on volume to make its money. This would not be good to ask for more the a 5% discount. A boutique that charges what the traffic will bear has more leeway. Here is where you can start at asking for a 25% discount and go from there.

  17. Buying  at the end of the season when new stock is being put out is also the perfect time to bargain with the owner since he wants to get rid of the out of season things and make room for the new season.

Try these tips and you will be surprised at how easy it is.



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