Most who know me also know that I am a Dave Ramsey follower and/or junkie and/or devotee and/or aficionada and/or disciple and/or pupil and/or what have you (see www.daveramsey.com for further details). I earned my doctorate and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Financial Peace University where Dave is the prez. Ok, maybe not, but I did "graduate" from FPU (a 13-week course) and if there had been a doctorate program or Summa Cum Laude grads...I would so be there.
In FPU, I learned some very common-sense strategies for bargaining. I have always considered myself pretty street smart with a healthy dose of common sense, but I really never believed that bargaining was 1) allowed in this country (all I knew was that Jamaica was good at it) or 2) that it could actually work. I'm a buckler. I buckle under pressure...or I should say I used to. Now I bring the pressure on and force the bucklage from the other player. Oh, it's beautiful. And all those thoughts I had of "Well if I ask for less, then their company or their commission (thus their dinner on the table that night) will suffer, etc etc." are NO MORE! America is overpriced and I'm going to do all I can to reduce the cost when at all possible (obviously I don't do this at the grocery store or the gas station).
The number one strategy emphasized is the "Walk away" strategy. If seller doesn't reduce to your asking price, walk away. Don't "buy" the item in your heart or mind because it will be written all over your face and you will lose the bargain battle. Remain neutral. Never buckle.
Our first opportunity to try this out was with our car. We spotted one that met our needs, kept an eye on it for a few weeks, noticed it wasn't selling, and walked in. Johnny CarSalesman showed us the price, we drove it around, never showed attachment and when he went for the Lets Make a Deal handshake, we said "That price there, sir. Yeah, not good enough." He says ok, let's talk, what can you afford? No sir. Not allowed to ask that. We simply stuck with, "See that price on the sticker? Not good enough." He got nervous, said a new price. "Not good enough". I believe he was dumbfounded. Came down again. Nope, not good enough. Says he can't come down anymore and we walk away. He chases us, begs. Nope, not good enough. We then show the cash (green bills make Johnny CarSalesman swoon) of about $3k less than lowest price he'd said. SOLD!! A beautiful transition.
Today's case in point: Bought a Christmas gift for $30 at "Store" where there is a strict no-return policy. Found a better gift at Target for nearly same price. Purchased. Went back to "Store" to attempt a return. She says "Sorry, it's store policy." (Note: I have both kids with me, currently well behaved and dressed identically: thus, much cuteness). Let the bargaining begin (and with much respect I must say). Without too much detail of what I said, $30 came right back over the counter to me. A beautiful transition. She was good folk. Maybe it's the Christmas season, or maybe it's the FPU education. Either way, I'm a happy camper who's $30 richer.