Our family loves visiting antique shops and estate sales, and even when our son, Wyatt, was really young, we’d take him shopping with us on the weekends.
Once when he was seven or eight, he didn’t have enough money to pay full price for a vintage train car that he really wanted. We told him he could make an offer and coached him on what he might say.
Then he was on his own.
We hid out of sight, and bold as brass he marched up to the counter and asked, “Excuse me sir, I’d like to make an offer on this train car. Would you be willing to take $12?”
He walked out of that antique shop the proud owner of a shiny, bright caboose, and he had money leftover in his pocket.
From then on he was hooked. Now he never wants to pay full price, and haggling…well, that’s all part of the fun.
I’ve never one to dicker over the price of things in antique shops, but these days, any time I’m reluctant to make an offer, I think of young Wyatt and say to myself, “What’s the worst that can happen?”
That’s easy — the worst that can happen is the seller won’t negotiate or wiggle on the price.
If the seller says “no,” at that point, the ball is in my court. I’m in control. It’s up to me whether I want to pay full price or walk away from the sale altogether.
And if I don’t ask? Well that’s easy: I can pay full price or walk out the door.
In learning to negotiate, I’ve learned to be more assertive about asking for what I want.
I want to pay $20, not $25.
I want to pay 15% less than the asking price.
I want to walk away from the sale with something bright and shiny and still have money in my pocket.
But saving a few bucks at the antique shop isn’t nearly as important as the larger life-lesson haggling has taught me
- it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- what’s the worst thing that can happen?
- the answer to the unasked question is always NO.
So take a risk, make an offer, and see what happens.