Saturday, October 17, 2009

How to get a discount

My mom is in town visiting this weekend which is why I was MIA yesterday. So sorry for not posting! Anyway, we had a lovely dinner tonight and she was asking about all the shopping I do for work. I told her the story of the red shoes and how I got a discount on them. It made me realize that it's a great lesson for anyone to learn- if you want a better price on someting, ASK for it. The worst thing that will happen is the salesperson will say "no." And then you're no worse off than you were before you asked for the discount. In a best case scenario, you get a bargain!

In today's current economic climate, a lot of people are looking for a good deal, but guess what, a lot of shop owners are looking for a sale. And most of them are willing to cut you a break in order to make that sale, so do yourself (and them) a favor and ask for a discount! I do it all the time and I have no problem doing it. For some of you, it may be a little awkward the first time you ask, but eventually you'll get over that.

Keep in mind that you have to have reasonable expectations- they aren't going to knock 50% off a brand new dress, but they might take 15-20% off a piece that's the last of its kind taking up space on the rack. They'll also be more likely to give you a discount if you are spending a lot or buying several items. You are probably thinking that this advice won't work in a major department store, but you're wrong! No matter the size of the store, go for the discount. Ask the cashier if they have a coupon to scan, or if there is a promotion starting soon or that ended recently and see if they'll give you the discount despite your off timing. More often than not, they'll do it.

Some areas are easier than others to get discounts, too. For example, shoe departments in major department stores often have empoyees who work on commission, so discounting (to an extent) can be at their discretion. It may reduce their commission a bit, but like I said before, they are still happy to have made a sale rather than see you walk out of the store empty handed.

In any situation where you are asking for a discount, know your bottom line BEFORE you ask. And always ask for more than what you actually want. If you are hoping for a 15% discount, ask for 25% just in case they haggle a bit. Who knows? You might get the 25% you asked for! (I did with the red shoes, remember?)

When I shop vintage or antique shops, I always wait until I have picked out everything I want, then I look at the price tags and add it up in my head. Let's say my total is going to be $45 for a handful of vintage accessories- a scarf, a couple of brooches, a pair of earrings and a necklace. I might approach the counter and offer $35 for everything. They'll probably counter offer me back up to $40, but guess what- I just got a little over 10% discount!

Finally, be prepared to walk away. Decide before you hit the counter what it will take for you to make the purchase and if you don't get the discount, walk away and leave the purchases behind. Nine times out of ten, you'll get what you want as you are about to exit.

Good luck and happy hunting! Email me if you have a discount story to share- I'd love to hear it!

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