Bargaining, a vanishing skill

Bargaining or haggling is price negotiation between seller and buyer. It is very normal in many cultures. A few hundred years ago people used to bargain in everything but after the introduction of fixed-prices, many people have forgotten how to haggle. At least in Asia haggling is very common today, but for example in Europe people usually bargain only in flea markets.

There are few areas in Finland where bargaining is still common practise, the real estate business and used cars market.

For fins haggling is hard. We are sort of shy people, so we do not have the courage to negotiate for the right prices. We pay what the seller wants us to pay. Of course there are some people who try to bargain in everything, even at grocery stores when buying milk, which is annoying especially when you work at the cash desk.

I have been selling old clothes and other stuff a few times at flea markets. There it is ok to haggle and so too should be done. I have seen there a few of different styles of bargaining. When you tell your price for the saleable product, for example three euros, some people just turn their backs and walk away and some reply ten cents. In my opinion, neither is a good way to do. Why do not they make reasonable counter-offers?

If you want to be good in haggling, you have to know the product you want to buy. Ask prices from different places before buying. Be friendly and do not show much interest towards the product you want to buy. Decide the price you are willing to pay and start bargaining. Ask for the last price after the seller has given you a price that is close to the price you are willing to pay. You can also test the last price by walking away. If there is still room to haggle the seller will come after you. Usually the last price is one or two thirds of the initial price. Do not start bargaining if you do not want to buy the product at any price.

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8 Responses to Bargaining, a vanishing skill

  1. jannemetsala says:

    I agree, it’s really annoying when people start haggling even when they have no intention of buying the salable product. Sometimes people knows the value of product, but still makes an ridiculous counter-offer to your price. They are just trying to get the item for less than it’s worth. Unfortunately haggling really is a vanishing skill.

  2. sirptu says:

    Good point. Some peoples are good haggling, usually the finns don’t. Maybe we want to quickly get rid of the situation
    I feel of shame on behalf of another person who engage haggling unsuitable places, for example tickets sales.
    Now would be a good time to go to buy new car. Competition of the car business it’s hard. Chaffer gets easy access to results and you can get good price for the old car. I´m not a car dealer 🙂

  3. mtlqv says:

    I have given some thoughts to this topic as well. I think it’s totally ok, if you’re trying to get the best deal out of the new (used) car, if only the price is “negotiable”. I have come across to the same situation at my work (an international clothing chain) where customers try to “negotiate” to get the lower price than the price tag shows. It’s not how it’ll work nowadays. Of course, there is no harm in trying. Best of luck with that! 🙂

  4. maruspaavola says:

    You are quite right. I have also sometimes wondered the same thing. In those places where you can negotiate the price then it should be practiced. It’s really annoying if it will to haggle just up a lot.Of course, within the limits of good taste.

  5. mariakas2013 says:

    You are so right. When people starts making haggling in the grocery store or in clothing store it is really annoying. The seller unlikely can affect the price there. Overseas the best way to get the right price is really a walk-out.

  6. blogittaja says:

    Also if you’re selling some stuff on the internet, people always try to get more like 20% off the price and there is opportunity that they don’t even don’t want to buy that product 20% off.

  7. tuoala says:

    I believe that the good old bargain still exists, but has just changed the form. For example previous comment was about using internet as selling channel, seeking other sellers and finding the best price is nowadays easy and perhaps surfing could be seen as ‘bargaining without verbal effort’… I do agree about the shyness with the original writer, Finns are too shy trying to get the best price out. Would be also interesting hear from people working other side of the cashier desk, where are you allowed to haggle? I´ve been haggling in a sports store, electronic shop, car sales almost everywhere except in the grocery store… maybe next time?

  8. Sarem Lotfollahi says:

    I agree with you! Europe is a bargain compared to the decline in Asia.People need to know when to negotiate.

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