Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Is the Art of Haggling Dead?

Haggling is not a common thing in the United States, although it is almost expected in some countries such as Mexico. In the US, where people are more concerned with credit reporting and leaving a good impression, the thought of going into a store and arguing over the price of a product seems unthinkable.

The only time people are seen to haggle over anything is if the store has advertised a sale price for an item but it has not been programmed into the cash register data. Most people feel justified in telling the clerk that the item was on sale and they should get the sale price.

Wal-Mart does not haggle

People who regularly check their credit reporting and have very good scores are aghast at haggling over anything since they have pride in their ability to keep a well-ordered life and haggling is not a part of that scenario. Credit reporting is a good way to find out what your credit scores are.

Those who come from countries where haggling is common may at first attempt this practice in America only to be met with swift rebuffs. No one goes into a Wal-Mart or Sears store and attempts to talk the clerks into giving them a discount. With the way the cash registers are set up and the whole system is run, this is just not practical.

The fact is that most people working in the retail establishment are hired employees who just want to do their job and have as little hassle as possible during their workday. Haggling with customers over the price of merchandise is not part of the daily plan and nor should it be in all fairness.

The large chain stores set the prices for the merchandise they sell and employees are there merely to help customers make their purchase. Small business owners usually cannot afford to give discounts to customers and such a request would be most unwelcome. People who try to haggle over prices come across as cheap because in our culture, we are not used to this practice.

Haggling is a cultural thing

In another culture where it is common to haggle over merchandise it would seem strange to all involved if no attempt was made to lower the cost of the purchase price. In these countries it is known and understood that it is built into the system and no one selling merchandise really expects to get the price they are asking.

In some countries it is almost a sport to haggle, a feat of mental one-upmanship and triumph for the buyer and the satisfying conclusion to a shopping trip.

In America about the only acceptable place to attempt haggling is in second-hand stores where the merchandise has to be marked by people who try to ascertain the value of an item and then price it accordingly. Sometimes there may be minor stains or tears that can induce a customer to ask for a reduction in price.

If this is refused the customer usually acquiesces and either meekly pays the asking price or chooses not to buy the item.

Customers at garage sales or flea markets may have more luck getting the item they want for less money, but again, most sellers are not really in the mood to haggle and feel the price they want is a fair price for the item.

When people are raised in a certain culture the practices of that culture are what predominate and going against that is very uncomfortable for most people.

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