Important things to know/rules when haggling at a flea market.

Haggling can be really intimidating and, quite frankly, a little scary. When I first attempted to haggle, I was in Mexico trying to buy a piece of art at a flea market, around the age of 12. My parents told me about haggling and what it entailed. I was so nervous, my voice was trembling when I asked, “How much for the painting?” He looked at me, then to the piece, then back at me. “$20.” I looked at the piece a little longer and hesitated. Finally I looked back at him and said, “Will you take $10?” Annoyed, he replied, “I’ll give it to you $15, and that’s it.” Score! Saved $5 in a matter of seconds. Rule: If they say that’s the lowest they’ll go, that’s the lowest they’ll go.


It is important to remember that when you haggle you are being really annoying to the seller. Most likely they haggled to get that item first, and are selling it to you at a price to make margin. Or if it is a piece they made, then they may think you are undermining their work. Whatever the case, some people may not take kindly to you trying to get a better deal. Rule: Don’t take it personally, they are just trying to make and save money as well.


But remember, this is just a business transaction. They can say no to your request and you can make a decision if you can afford it or not. If they say yes to your request, do not take it one step further and ask them to lower the price again. And, if they say yes, you better have that money handy. Don’t waste anyone’s precious time. Rule: If they say yes to your offer, pay up.


Some people or vendors will say they don’t lower their prices for anyone. This isn’t usually true. They may not lower prices at the beginning of the day, but sometimes they will at the end of the day depending on how their sales were. This is a fine line, because my suggestion is to go to a flea market early to find the best stuff, but it’s usually the end of the day when you get the best deals. Additionally, if they say they don’t lower their prices, then try to negotiate with them. Ask them if you buy multiple items, say over 5 items, at that point would they be interested in giving a discount? It’s all about creating a trust with them and showing them you are serious. Rule: Don’t give up when they say they don’t lower prices; try to create a deal instead that is beneficial to both parties.


If you plan on making this a usual affair, make sure to get to know your favorite vendors and create a relationship with them. Once you show them that you care about the product they have, they will trust you more and more. If you are a frequent shopper with them, then you can try to make it so you are consistently getting discounts. Rule: The better the relationship you have with your favorite vendors, the more likely you are to get consistent discounts.


Remember not to be a total jerk. Haggling is not about demeaning the seller. It is a business transaction, through and through. Respect the seller; they found that item, and you want it. They don’t owe you anything. Haggling is all about your approach to the situation. Rule: Approach the way you would want to be approached.


Lastly, never haggle in a brick and mortar location. There is rent, there is payroll, there are bills, there are many factors that go into a retail brick and mortar operation and by no means should you haggle. If an item is not on sale, it is new and should not be on sale. If an item is on sale, they marked it down to a point where they can still make money. I stress. Rule: Do not haggle where thou shall not haggle.

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