* A few tips on getting a bargain *

let's make a deal vintage show image

Who doesn’t like to get a bargain?  In the world of antiques, flea markets, all the way to yard sales, rarely is the price set in stone.  I was fortunate at a young age to watch my Dad haggle.  Of course I didn’t really understand the nuance of this strange negotiation at first but luckily I caught on quickly.  Whether it’s called bargaining, haggling or negotiating, it’s all about the seller & the buyer getting a fair deal.
Dealers normally price their merchandise with room to budge.  But it’s important to remember they need to make money & sellers can tell the different between a cheap-skate & someone being frugal & sincere.  Often time’s dealers know another & will negotiate among themselves so it’s common for them to expect customers to ask for a lower price than what’s on the tag.
It takes a little finesse & practice to feel comfortable with the process but you also need to be prepared to say good-bye.  Sad as that sounds maybe you find just the right piece to add to your collection, you still have to realize you might not be able to get the price in line with your budget.  It’s tough to leave it behind but only you can decide what you want to spend.

I’m happy to share a few tips from my experiences:
1.  Once you stop to look at an item or pick it up to admire, you normally have the attention seller’s attention.  Sometimes they will even say “If you’re interested, I can do better on that.”  They are referring to the price.  That is an opener for the haggling to begin.
2.  If they don’t initiate a conversation about price, it’s perfectly fine to ask first.  What I normally say is “Is this your best price?” with a smile 🙂  Nine times out of ten they’ll come back with “What’s on it?” This is a good sign: they know you want it & would like to pay a bit less.  They will usually come down a few dollars under the ticket price.  You can offer lower if you want but don’t go too low.  Remember, everyone needs to win here.  Unless I think the price is already too high, I normally take their first offer.
3.  As I said, Smile!  You don’t want to appear too eager or too cool.  Try to find a middle ground & be likable.  They will be more receptive to down-to-earth people they can relate to.  I’ve met some of the best people & had fun conversations just by trying to get a good deal.
4.  Occasionally you will find a dealer who will be offended with a low offer.  This is where you want to part ways quickly.  I respond with “Thank you for your time.” and move on. No need to get your feathers ruffled, it’s not worth it.
5.  Know what you are willing to pay for items that you already collect or know.  You’ll find you are simply drawn to certain pieces & prices will vary.  If you are looking for particular things that you already are familiar with, it helps to educate yourself on their worth/value.  This will serve you well when trying to get a good deal.
6.  One ‘game trick’ is hesitating!  I wouldn’t use it every time but it does come in handy in the right situation.  Let’s say the seller isn’t budging after the first offer & has an excuse as to why they can’t accept your first offer.  Standing in silence can be to your advantage.  As uncomfortable as it may be for you, try it & hopefully you’ll be surprised by the reaction you get.  Many times I’ve added “Thanks, I’ll think about it & come back.”  This poses a lost sale if you walk away & often will get you a counter offer {p.s.  this one comes in handy when haggling over the price of a car – trust me, it works!}.
7.  Different days of the sale and times of day will get different results.  Early birds get a better selection but for vendors, the sales have just started & for them there are always more buyers.  You’re less likely to get the lowest price.  If you are a bit of a gambler, go later in the day or the last day of the event.  Sellers would rather take a few dollars less when thinking about packing it up.
8.  Have some fun already!  Take your time with these tips; don’t feel like you have to do them all at once.  I’ve done this for longer than I care to admit; it’s really a fun part of the adventure & experience.
Best of luck, Junkers!


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