Wednesday, January 14, 2009

'Dicker' is not a dirty word

Mmmmm - Phad Thai drowning in peanuts sauce for lunch today. Lo cal? No. Yummy? Yes.

Sorry had to share.

So, if you've been reading along here you may have read that I've been looking for new living room furniture for oh, forever it seems. My main problem is that the furniture they make today doesn't really fit very well in a 1918 house. The furniture has to fit the room but also the people. I have to be able to stretch out on the couch.

Anyway, there are plenty of good deals out there. It seems everyone is in a panic to move merchandise. Let me tell you there are plenty of very hungry sales people in those show rooms too.

My problem is I don't know how to bargain with sales people. I never have. I don't normally do the big purchases. Jay's always the one who gets to go meet with the car salesmen when it's time to buy a car. What I need to know is, do people negotiate for furniture purchases? It's clear the sales people are on commission, so do they have leeway to deal? I don't know if it was just my family or the area I grew up in. We don't seem to haggle much here, or at least I haven't seen it.

I'm a simple guy. I understand companies are in business to make money. I just expect people to take the cost of providing the item, mark it up with a reasonable percentage and that's that. But I'm pretty sure I'm being naive. It just feels like to ask a person to drop their price is assuming they're trying to overcharge you to begin with and it seems insulting. (I know, I know...I shouldn't care)

I know that some companies do price that way. We do. But then again we're a co-operative. We do work for anyone just like any other company, but if you join the co-op your a member and it says right on your contract what our mark up rates are. Your also entitled to see the invoice from our supplier. I realise that most business run differently.

So how do you know when you can dicker or not. Is it just a matter of having the nerve to ask? No harm, no foul? Is it that easy? Or to really do it successfully do you have to have some kind of justification on why you think you should pay less? I just don't get it. I know many companies are hurting and that's the reason for the deep discounts. I just don't want to be a chump and leave money sitting on the table when it can stay in my pocket. How do you do this?

Anyone wanna go shopping with me?


Kathy said...

Ask if that's the best they can do for you. Whether one can bargain (or not) is often determined by the type of store -- chain, independent...But a simple question like the one above should get you the answer. We visited a LazyBoy furniture store (they actually make a very good quality sofa and upholstered furniture) some time ago. The sales person was frank with us saying, "Before you make a decision, come back and talk to me, we might have some leeway." So you really never know. I've also contacted furniture stores in North Carolina -- a BIG furniture center. I had #'s and styles in mind. They have great leeway. Hope this helps. Do you have any idea of what you'd like? Send photos of your purchases!! I'd love to see them. My tastes are changing -- I'm into leather (that doesn't sound right, does it?) -- sofas and chairs....

Scarlet said...

I ask for the best price and if they know when an item will go on sale. At that point, they're so eager to sell (and not let you get away) that if it's possible to knock something off the price, they'll do it.

You should let Jay dicker for you next time. :)

Jay said...

You could always just ask them what their wholesale price was for an item. If they aren't willing to share that with you, low ball them big time. Just to piss them off.

Also, be sure to ask the salesperson if he/she is authorized to make deals. Sometimes they're only allowed to negotiate to a certain price. If they aren't then ask for a manager to deal with.

I had a professor in college who would go into places like Macy's, Dillard's or even Sears department stores and try to negotiate on the price of a golf shirt. The guy was a prick, but he actually was able to get deals out of them.

meno said...

I can't negotiate either. I'm hopeless in Mexico.

But one line that i have used is "I really like this (couch, lamp, necklace) but it's just out of my price range." End this with a heavy sigh. If they are willing to come down on the price, you'll soon know it.

I feel so proud if i can get any markdown, so even a little makes me feel good.

Good luck.

Golden To Silver Val said...

I usually say that I'm on a tight budget and need to know the best price they can give me. After they've done that, (I ask for it in writing) if its not low enough, I say thank you and tell them I'm going to look elsewhere and may be back. (which may or may not be true). If they want the sale, they will try to get it then. The places that won't even try to give you a better price are the ones I usually will not buy from unless they have something I absolutely LOVE. I got a 10% discount from a mattress set just by asking but they wouldn't come down any further. Good Luck. Personally, I think the selection of furniture that's out right now sucks. I've been looking for a sectional to replace my other one and can't find anything in my price range that I like even a little bit. I've heard you can get some great prices at the furniture outlet stores, but I haven't checked there yet. I'm really hoping that prices will come down considerably if I wait it out.

Cheryl said...

I need some furniture in my living room, but need help and don't want to pay for a decorator. I'd definitely ask for a discount when shopping. You've gotten some good tips in your comments. I'll have to remember them.

Smocha said...

My sister has no shame about dickering. Frankly, it embarrasses the hell out of me. I'm too wimpy to do it. :)
The other day we ran into our next door neighbor at a furniture store. He happened to work there and told my husband "if you see something you really like, let me know,I'll get you a good deal on it."
Make Jay do it. :))

I'm sure seattle has some great used furniture stores,with nearly new stuff. Have you checked those?
Good luck!

Dear Liza said...

When I bought my furniture in the summer, I told them what I would pay, which was definately less than I was willing to give. They came back with the lowest they would accept, which was several hundred less than the retail price..but I am from the car business. If I could bargain on the price of milk, I would...teehee. You can do it. The salesperson in not can bet that when THEY buy, they dicker. LOL, that word just cracks me up. :)

Ace C said...

Just go and buy it. Y. Don't be scared.Furniture places are just like car dealers.

Hope4Grace said...

I rock at dickering! I do, ask The Man. Here's my secret gameplan.....

Price shop:

When you get to the store, flat out tell the sale peep that you do not need help, and go away.

Once you find the perfect set, make a point of walking around it and studying it with a big ole frown.

Now leave, go and find it somewhere else and price it.

Come back and again circle your prey, till a sales peep comes smelling blood in the water.

Cooly explain that you like it, you want it, but it was cheaper at the other store, show price, but you refuse to buy from them b/c their sales staff was rude and tacky.

Then just stare at them until you hear the price you want come bubbling out of their mouth.

I got my entire livingroom suit for 40% off regular price using this method.

Don't even ask about the diningroom set, that got ugly.

Hope4Grace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fiwa said...

I'm more on the Meno scale of things. But hey, it never hurts to look at someone and say, can you work with me on the price? It's not rude to ask - if they can't they will tell you so.

Hey dude, I have a LOT of free time on my hands. Lemme know if you want furniture shopping company, I'll go with. ;)

tt said... go a lot of creat ideas. I'll have to get up my nerve and try some. I'm a weinie abut 'dickering' sisterlittle does it all the time with reckless abandon... so much.It must be my 12 year old self that goes shopping. time I'll try and find the 45 year old self...she was more confident.

happyone said...

I never even thought to ask for a discount on the furniture I just bought. Maybe because it was already marked down quite a bit.
I bought 4 chairs this time instead of a couch. Thought I'd try something different in the living room.

SOUL: said...

holy cow brad-- looks like i'm a little late on this one-- take notes, and go get some couches man. :))

happy thursday

ps.. i do too have shame-- i just don't have no money :))

Leann said...

I don't bicker because I figure if I don't have the foggiest idea how much something costs to manufacture then how do I know where to start??

Plus I'm on the reserved side and to call attention to myself, well, ya, not so much.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Sheesh, do I feel stupid. How did I not realize you started a new blog like . . . two months ago? Somehow, I missed the post about it. (That's the thing about reader. If somehow something gets clicked on and marked read by mistake, you're screwed.)

Anyway, hi. Hope you and Bear had good holidays.

I don't dicker either. I'm like you. I want them to just charge a fair price and not expect me to work so hard,

desert dirt diva said...

everything everyone said

Tina... said...

You can dicker at a yard sale or on Craigslist, you do not dicker at a furniture store....and I should know, I'm the queen of dickering....oh wait, that came out all wrong. Carry on.

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